Sustainable and Handcrafted: Enchantments is the Whole Package


Caitlin Maughan

Enchantments is a gift shop rife with a myriad of gifts for all of your friends’ holiday wish lists. They have only recently opened their doors since the coronavirus hit.

Caitlin Maughan, Opinion Editor

Do you know that gift shop in downtown Fanwood? No, not Hallmark. The one with one-of-a-kind jewelry, unique home decor, and countless other stunning accessories. The one that only sells sustainable, local art. The one that welcomes each customer with a brilliant smile and a positive attitude. It’s called Enchantments, and it was opened 31 years ago by Helen Ling.


“I appreciate beautiful things,” Ling said. “I love people who use their hands and create things. I’m trying to help them too because if I close, they can not sell their artwork.” 

It’s helping the planet, it’s helping the worker, it’s helping the ability to preserve the beauty of our nature. The more people appreciate nature, the less they will destroy it.”

— Helen Ling

“Handmade with love.” This is what pedestrians see in the window of Enchantments. It is also the motto that guides Ling and her store. She loves to support local and American artists. On top of that, at Enchantments, they feature many female-owned businesses.    


“[These artists] not only create things, but they also spread the feeling of love,” Ling said. 


Likewise, Ling is one of the few business owners in our town, and our state, that aims to leave the planet a better place than when she found it. Many of the decorations and accessories that can be found in Enchantments have natural elements such as necklaces adorned with real flowers. 


“It’s helping the planet, it’s helping the worker, it’s helping the ability to preserve the beauty of our nature,” Ling said. “The more people appreciate nature, the less they will destroy it.”

The ornament pictured above, like many others that can be bought at Enchantments, holds a great amount of cultural significance. This angel was crafted from a Haitian drum. (Caitlin Maughan)

Enchantments is a fair trade establishment. Through fair trade, producers in developing countries are able to sell their products in a green and equitable way. It accommodates safer working conditions and better wages for manufacturers who would otherwise not have access to basic necessities.  


The past two years have been particularly difficult for small businesses, including Ling’s. Enchantments was deemed non-essential and shut down during the pandemic. During those challenging times, Enchantments lost many employees; Ling was left to maintain the store on her own and she is currently seeking part-time workers. Not to mention, the incline of online shopping generated a sharp decline in customers at Ling’s door. 


“COVID made people less sociable. They have no motivation to get together. If they don’t get together, they don’t buy gifts. Not only did we get physically shut down, emotionally people were shut down.” 


I highly recommend stopping by Enchantments; they invite you to support them and other local businesses on Nov. 27 for Shop Small Saturday. As winter approaches, check out the organic alpaca scarfs. Or, purchase some funky Christmas earrings for that Secret Santa party.