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Master of thread, beads joins downtown Oak Harbor commerce
Lynn Copeland’s world is awash in inspiration, her creativity so vivid that it sparked a new shop in downtown Oak Harbor: Whidbey Inspiration, which features tailoring and alterations, plus custom designed jewelry and embroidery.
Inside the shop, Copeland’s inspiration shines in a wall of gleaming necklaces and earrings, all handmade, her personal touch glinting in a perfectly set amethyst or glowing in a pearl complemented by a string of beads. Dressing tables hold more jewelry and wedding accessories, their mirrors reflecting the centerpiece of the shop: Copeland’s own wedding dress, shining and elegant and dear to Copeland’s heart.
Whidbey Inspiration offers alterations and tailoring, especially for wedding garments, as well as custom designed jewelry and custom designed embroidery.
“We don’t really have much in town that can do that,” Copeland said, her beaded dress glimmering as she moved around the shop, preparing for the official ribbon cutting last Wednesday.
The inspiration for Whidbey Inspiration is Copeland’s daughter, Karen Daughtry, who lives in Louisiana.
“She’s been my inspiration. She’s my best friend. She’s been my inspiration for life,” Copeland said.
When Copeland suffered respiratory failure nearly five years ago and couldn’t be active, her daughter introduced her to jewelry making. Laughing, Copeland recalled whining about the tediousness of stringing her first necklace. Now, the wall of rainbow jewelry attests to how far she has come.
“As time went on, little by little, my talent kicked in,” Copeland said.
Jewelry making joined her list of talents, mainly her 44 years of experience at sewing. Once she added embroidery, knitting, crocheting and more, Copeland was well on the path to her own business. She started doing alteration work out of her home but the idea of moving into a shop tickled at her brain. A couple of months ago, that dream came true and she chose a spot on Pioneer Way to support downtown Oak Harbor.
Copeland has more than 80,000 embroidery patterns to choose from for gift items, sheets, pillows and more, or a pattern can be custom designed. As a bridal specialist and wedding planner, Copeland specializes in alterations and tailoring for wedding gowns, formals, mens suits, wedding veils, bridesmaid dresses and childrens clothing. With her motto “If it has a seam in it, I can fix it,” Copeland can do it all — and she has, repairing everything from dog kennels to car seat elastic to backpacks.
Many brides come to her in tears because David’s Bridal charges more for alterations than for the dress itself, Copeland said. She offers complimentary wedding dress checks one week before the wedding in which Copeland checks for loose buttons or seams and repairs minor problems.
In order to ensure every woman’s wedding is a day to remember, Copeland offers a free wedding day emergency packet. She also makes garters, wedding bells and accessories.
“Just about anything to do with weddings, I can do,” Copeland said.
No jewelry to match a favorite outfit? That’s no problem for Copeland. She’ll design jewelry to match anything.
“All of our jewelry is one-of-a-kind,” Copeland said, adding that she and her daughter make it all by hand and include real gemstones, pearls and Swarovski crystals. She also creates jewelry featuring horses, something she doesn’t see often but knows there’s a market for. “I kind of wanted to reach a higher clientele.”
“I have a very busy, active mind and I like to keep it busy,” Copeland laughed. “And it’s gratifying when you can make something with your hands.”
Copeland served as a labor and delivery nurse for about 25 years at the Navy Hospital and Island Hospital.
“As a labor and delivery nurse, when the mom has the baby, she has this beautiful glow on her face when she sees the baby for the first time, and when I fix the dress and the bride tries it on, she has the hugest glow on her face. Those women are so happy when they see how beautifully their dresses have come out,” Copeland said, smiling.
“I just wanted to give something back to the community,” Copeland added, yet another inspiration for opening her shop. “I have all these talents; why not give back? This downtown needs to be picked back up.” Copeland said she plans to make a positive difference downtown and loves her location.
“The Chamber of Commerce has given me over and beyond support as a small business owner,” Copeland said. Also supporting her is John Pendleton, owner of Pendleton Imaging and Photography, who took the photos hanging in Copeland’s shop and offered her support as a new small business.
Dawn Battle, a friend and “godsend,” has also been instrumental in getting Whidbey Inspiration up and running, Copeland said. With their help, Copeland said her business grew quickly.
“I really think it’s going to be successful,” Copeland said, smiling.
Whidbey Inspiration is now open. The shop is located at 810 SE Pioneer Way #102 in Oak Harbor.
For more information, call Whidbey Inspiration at 240-1024 or visit www.whidbeyinspiration.com.