Maybe you’re visiting Christiansted for the week and can explore Christiansted at your leisure. Perhaps you’re only in the port of Frederiksted for day while on a cruise. If it’s the latter, take the 30-minute ride over to Christiansted and take in the views, some great food, and of course, some great shopping. If you’re like me and can’t imagine traveling to new locales without shopping, then you will absolutely enjoy yourself in St. Croix.
I tend to shy away from purchases that are run of the mill, where I know everyone else has the same item. For example, although the Crucian Hook Bracelet is a popular item, I couldn’t bring myself to buy something that so many other people would be wearing. Instead, I tend to seek out items from local artisans for more traditional, local products for a bit of the unusual.
One of the shops that I visited on this trip is called Asha and it is located on the ever popular Company Street area of Christiansted. Walk past the dress form on the sidewalk, up the stairs, into the store, and into a world filled with jewelry, clothing, and accessories of all kinds. Although the web site isn’t quite done yet, Asha does have a FaceBook page and I suggest “liking” it to stay updated on all their latest news. The store is filled throughout with items and when you think you have seen everything, you’ll turn a corner and there’s more. I was fortunate enough to meet the owner, Sara Jane Mace, while I was there. An energetic Brit, she lives part-time in Breckenridge, CO and part-time in St. Croix. The store reflects her bright and bubbly personality although some might find the place overwhelming and cluttered. I personally don’t feel that way and I thoroughly enjoyed combing through all the items in search of a treasure. You could easily drop a lot of money in Asha and still leave feeling as if you didn’t buy enough.
Prior to owning the store, Ms. Mace used to sell her goods at fairs or markets and wherever one might set up a table and sell their goods. She still enjoys doing that, but owning her store in Christiansted does limit the time she can do that. Here’s what I really liked about Asha. Ms. Mace doesn’t just order clothing and jewelry and stock her store so customers can buy goods while visiting St. Croix. Much of the clothing that she sells in her store bears the Asha label. She sources the material that she likes and works with a designer from Italy to create her own unique look for her label. Therefore, when you wear an Asha dress, it truly is something completely different and it’s safe to say that when you’re back home, no one else will have it. In addition, you can ask her about anything in the store and there will always be a great story behind it.
An example of this would be these great necklaces, one of which I had to have. These are “Scoobie wire” or telephone wire necklaces made in South Africa. There was a little placard nearby that said the following: “Scoobie wire (plastic coated wire) is an integral part of the South African craft scene. The miners who migrated from the rural areas to the urban areas were all proficient in grass weaving and plating. They started transferring these skills to materials that they could find around the mines, mainly electrical wires and later telephone wires. This is a skill owned by the South African people. In almost every community there are men and women who can work with Scoobie wire.” Although I had every intention of buying something made by local artisans, learning about Scoobie wire plus really liking the look of the necklace made this a no brainer. If I can, like Ms. Mace, support artisans around the world, then why shouldn’t I? If you’re looking for handcrafted jewelry, environmentally friendly bags from Blue Q, a one of a kind designer Asha dress, or a host of other novel products, then head on over to Asha and bring your wallet. I dare you to leave empty handed!
2110 Company St.
Christiansted, VI 00820