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Whether near or far, Newtown remains home in the hearts of many, no matter where life takes them.
After living in Newtown for the past 25 years and raising her four children here — three of which are now in college — Liz Page understood this philosophy and wanted to find a way to give her children a physical piece of home they could take with them wherever they went.
Last year, she set out to accomplish that task by starting her new business, 5 Janes, that sells jewelry and accessories celebrating Newtown, as well as Southbury.
Just as her company’s initiative came from the personal desire to bring comfort to loved ones, her business name was inspired by the unique bond connecting four generations of women in her family.
“There are a lot of Janes in my life. Jane is my middle name and also the middle name of my grandmother, mother, mother-in-law, and daughter. They made me who I am today, and every day I benefit from all they’ve taught me with their love, lessons, advice, and inspiration…” Ms Page explains on the 5 Janes website. “5 Janes is a tribute to the Janes in my life who inspire me to do more, be more, learn more, and love more.”
The first task she was faced with when designing her merchandise was deciding what Newtown image she wanted to have on her products. After considering places like Castle Hill and Ferris Acres Creamery, she picked Newtown’s iconic flagpole.
She laughs, thinking back at the beginning stages of the process, when she literally laid out in front of Oberg Insurance on Main Street just to be able to capture the perfect angle of the flagpole.
“I was trying to get something really quintessential to Newtown,” Ms Page said.
Once she had selected her favorite photo of the flagpole, flanked by Trinity Episcopal Church and the Meeting House, she began working with an artist in Southbury to perfect the image.
Having an admiration for religious medals made in enamel and sterling, Ms Page knew she wanted to find a way to have her product have similar beauty. She researched enamelists online and found that, search after search, the same name kept popping up as the best expert to use: Joanne Conant.
Serendipitously, Ms Conant happened to be a fellow Newtown resident.
“We have a world-class enamelist in Newtown… She’s this amazing enamelist who happens to be in our backyard,” Ms Page said in astonishment. “I went to her studio and bounced so many ideas off of her. She was so helpful in answering questions and providing all sorts of details.”
They worked together, creating various models, and she learned firsthand how much details goes into crafting even the smallest piece.
Ms Page admits there were “complete and utter failures” through the trial and error process, but when they finally succeeded, she could not have been happier.
She launched her products online through the 5 Janes website earlier this spring, and began displaying the items at Newbury Place in Southbury, which she co-owns with two of her dear friends.
So far, she sells Newtown and Southbury pendants in two different sizes. Each size comes in a variety of colors including green, light blue, denim blue, white, and dusty rose pink. On the back of each pendant is the word “home” engraved in the center with a heart beneath it.
“Even though the colors are vibrant, the actual design is subtle,” Ms Page explained.
The pendants can be the perfect accompaniment to the two styles of sterling silver necklace chains the company has available. The adjustable chain option runs up to 20 inches, while the nonadjustable chain can be purchased at a length of 16 or 18 inches.
Since Ms Page has three boys and wanted to be inclusive to all looking for a piece of home, she also sells a leather key fob with the Newtown design on it.
Every element, down to the packaging for the products, was meticulously thought out and intentional. The card she places with each necklace has the word “Newtown” surrounded by familiar words for residents like Flagpole, Ram’s Pasture, The Bee, Duck Race, Tree Lighting, Mary Hawley, and Main Street Halloween.
“I just wanted to represent all the warm memories and happiness and things we love about home and our town,” Ms Page said.
Already, she has received an overwhelmingly positive response from those who currently live in town and, to her surprise, people that have not lived in town for decades.
“It’s resonated with people,” Ms Page said. “People have been very sweet.”
Students in high school and college leaving home have especially found great comfort in the 5 Janes items, and Ms Page is excited to be in the process of creating more products to remind people they are never truly far from home.
For further information about 5 Janes, visit 5janes.com and follow on Facebook. Items can be purchased online or at Newbury Place in Southbury during store hours, which are Monday through Saturday, from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm; and Sunday, from 11 am to 4 pm.