Fashion & Beauty | September 16, 2015
A New Brand Of American Success Is On The Map.
The nation is a massive landscape, filled with places that hold rich stories, memories, and special places in the hearts of millions of Americans.
Angela Marshall is helping to capture those timeless treasures in a tangible, beautiful form that her customers can literally take with them everywhere they go.
Marshall is founder and owner of Map Pendants, headquartered in Avondale Estates, Georgia, just east of Atlanta. Like the name of the company suggests, Map Pendants literally makes pendants that incorporate specific locations on the map.
A FAST START TO CHART EXCELLENCE.
It all started in 2012 when Marshall first put her business on the map, so to speak. At that time, Marshall was actually operating another business she had been operating.
“Before I started Map Pendants, I had my own bath and body company that I was running. One of our local bands that we worked with had asked if we could create a soap to commemorate their work as a band and a local town. We created it and called it the Ghost of the Knoxville Girl.”
What happened next was definitely unexpected. The special, custom soap that Marshall had created was becoming extremely well received by customers and prospects when she unveiled it at a local event.
“That soap outsold everything else we did,” Marshall remembered. “As it was quickly selling, I had several people who came up to me and who would say things like, ‘I’m from Knoxville, so I’ll buy anything that says Knoxville on it.’”
That was just the start of what the entrepreneur was hearing from those who were lining up for the new soap with the local, fragrant appeal.
“We heard a lot of things like that from several people who bought the Ghost of the Knoxville Girl soap,” Marshall said. “Then it really clicked for me. I thought, since there seemed to be this strong sense of local pride that people were willing to buy, why couldn’t we do the same thing with maps? After all, maps are in the public domain and they provide a tangible way of honoring different geographic areas while we preserve a piece of history and local pride.”
“That was in 2012. Since then, we’ve grown a lot,” Marshall said. “Earlier this year, I sold my bath and body company and focus exclusively on Map Pendants, which has quickly become a self-supporting venture.”
In those two short years, Marshall has definitely created a true landmark business that is based on capturing the spirit of specific locales with an attractive blend of nostalgic history and forward-looking quality.
QUALITY: A TIMELESS FASHION.
Each map pendant is the crowning achievement on the end of an elegant necklace. For Marshall and her team of four, the process of envisioning and making each map pendant is a labor of love.
“We have a team of women and we all help with all aspects of the business. We value aesthetics, history and we have fun,” she said. “We pay special attention to every aspect of each product that goes out. We have an incredible team of four people. We create pieces that tie to someone’s memories. One example is a lady from Newport Rhode Island who thanked us for creating the piece. She said, ‘My grandma was born there and this piece is a constant reminder of her.
“Each pendant we create really begins with that story we’re trying to help tell. We start with careful dedication to history and a real reverence for the places that we end up using in each piece. In fact, we use vintage maps in every one of our pendants.
Marshall says that a map must be at least 20 years old for it to be considered to be a vintage piece.
“That’s no problem for us. In fact, many of our maps are more than 100 years old. And our total is growing almost daily. In fact, we have over 5,000 maps that we’ve acquired so far,” Marshall said.
Getting a rich collection of source material has been relatively easy.
“We find them in all sorts of ways,” Marshall said. “They can come to us in all sorts of ways. In some cases, people will send us maps. In other cases, we’ll go out and find them ourselves. A recent example was when we found a number of maps at a vintage book store sale in New York.”
In most cases, the team at Map Pendants gets more than just the map they were looking for.
“In the vast majority of maps we see, there is usually some type of note or document that is tucked away inside,” Marshall points out. “Right now, I’m holding a note that is dated April 13, 1932, and the other day, we opened one up and discovered an application for a money order from 1933.”
Some things, like normal childhood behavior, haven’t changed. And Marshall has proof of it.
As she says with a smile, “One of the things I see from time to time is maps that have doodles from 1800s school children, so I can’t use them.”
MAPPING THE PATH AHEAD.
Many organizations look to grow by expanding into new geography. In Marshall’s case, she means it both literally and figuratively.
“This year, we expanded. This month we added 10 new sales representative agencies. We’re also looking to expand into new geographies across the country,” Marshall said. “One of the nice things about our company is that, by the nature of what we do, we aren’t a regional company. We are able to create local keepsakes for people everywhere. If you’re on the map, you literally qualify.
One of the factors that Marshall credits with her success is the close-knit group of people around her—a small group of people who take pride in working together.
“We do everything as a group. We really value that teamwork,” Marshall explained. “I also want to give a big thanks to my husband, Chris. He’s always been there to help with the biggest and smallest of tasks — whatever I need to make this work.”
With Angela Marshall and her talented team at Map Pendants, America truly has a new brand of success on the map.
HOW TO GET YOUR OWN MAP PENDANT.
Credits // Author: Dave Danielson Photos: Sue Ann Chong