Linnaea Holgers James

Written by Liz Hodges

Please join us in celebrating Linnaea Holgers James, our Woman of the Week this week! Linnaea is the owner of Artisans Gallery and co-owner of the more recently opened Agency downtown. She was born and raised in Santa Cruz, and she even went to UCSC—go Slugs!—where she got a degree in art history.

Linnaea started working at Artisans when she was 16, and was manager by the time she was in college. Her goal was to go into curating art, and she came to realize that the work she was doing in the store was just that, so she stayed on and ended up buying the store seven years ago. Her husband has his own handcrafted line of furniture, and wanting to do something more modern and home-based, they opened Agency down the street together about a year and a half ago.

“Lots of people ask how we manage two locations,” says Linnaea, “We just run back and forth!”

February is a big month for Artisans; they just finished their annual event, “Hearts for the Arts,” in which over 80 artists donated this year. Proceeds of the event go to the Arts Council for their children’s arts programs.

“Santa Cruz on the whole is a very supportive community,” Linnaea says. In December, over $3,000 of jewelry was stolen, and a customer video of her employee trying to stop the robber went viral. People came in to show their support and make up for the loss.

When asked what inspiration she’d like to share with other women in business, Linnaea responds, “To me, one of the most important things is being able to surround yourself with good people… When you find people and the energy clicks, it’s amazing what you can accomplish.”

She likes to muse on the seemingly chance encounters that spark the connections which shape our lives. Linnaea met her old bosses, the past owners of Artisans, because her friend wanted a macaroon cookie. There in the bakery, they offered her a job on the spot. It clearly couldn’t have been more meant to be.

Linnaea curates pop-ups in the rear of Artisans Gallery, highlighting local artists and artisans. Currently, late artist Doug Ross is featured. They always carry some of his work, but currently a large exhibit in tribute of his life can be viewed there. In mid- to late-March, local bath and body company Blithe and Bonny will take center stage.

So stop by, see some local art, browse beautiful jewelry, and say hi to our Woman of the Week, Linnaea. Congratulations, we think you’re W.O.W. and we celebrate you!

Thank you to our fabulous blogger: Liz Hodges of  Verdant California

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