Amesbury Woman’s Career Refocus Brings Positive Change for Customers

By Jim Sullivan

A local small-business owner is very happy with her recent career change from the classroom to the downtown retail district.

Jen Silver had become well known in the city as the director of marketing at Sparhawk School. But she took a chance on herself and opened Caravan by Hum+Bee boutique on Main Street last fall.

Silver worked at Sparhawk School for nine years but she also spent the past 14 years working on handmade jewelry, sculpture, and art projects on her own time.

The Exeter, New Hampshire, resident said she decided to turn her after-hours creations into the Hum+Bee custom-dyed and hand-dyed clothing line in 2019 and she began to find increasing sales success online when the COVID-19 pandemic reached U.S. shores in March 2020.

“I was at home and we have a huge creative space in my house, so I was able to take this thing that I was always wanting to do and go for it,” she said.

A trip to the downtown retail district area last summer revealed that the 115 Main St. location was up for lease, so Silver decided to take a chance and open her own boutique.

“A lot of my online customers were from Amesbury, because of all the work I did there, and everything just kind of fell into place,” she said.

With a little help from her family, Silver was able to get her 400-square-foot space up and running by October.

“It was unexpected but I really had my eye on this spot, it seemed obtainable for me,” she said.

Although she does all of her dye work in her Exeter studio, Silver said she hopes to begin doing some more work at her Amesbury shop.

Brewery Silvaticus owner Michelle Riaz has hosted Silver, who sold some of her early items at makers markets there beginning in 2018. Riaz said she has enjoyed watching Silver grow over the years.

“Whenever you walk around Amesbury or Newburyport, you can pick out people wearing Jen’s clothing, it is really fun to see,” Riaz said.

Opening Caravan by Hum+Bee has been the best decision that Silver said she has ever made.

“The community is incredible, everybody, from the other businesses to walk-through traffic has been so supportive. It has been absolutely wonderful,” she said. “I wish I had done it sooner but I am here now.”

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