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San Clemente Journal

The Downtown Beat

Oct 12, 2020 11:10AM ● By Nina Welch

Erika Keesee, owner, brokers many of these unique goods through two brothers, who live in Jaipur, India.

by Nina Welch

Tyger Lotus Opens on Del Mar
It is not unusual that a new gift boutique opened at 168 Del Mar, but it is unusual that the store, Tyger Lotus, opened right in the middle of  the pandemic.  

Erika Keesee, owner, signed the lease in December, and started construction in January with the help of her architect boyfriend, Dennis. The plan was to open in April, but because of the mandated closure in mid-March, she didn’t open until May.

As a conscientious new store owner in this atmosphere, Erika is prepared. She keeps a checklist of cleaning/hygiene procedures behind the counter to ensure her store is safe and clean. She requires masks, and is pleased that people are cooperative. 

“I love San Clemente. The locals have been very supportive. The atmosphere is relaxed, and there’s a small-town feel,” says Erika. As if on cue, a stylish young woman enters Tyger Lotus and pronounces, “This is my favorite store,” … and it was her first visit. 

Tyger Lotus is a sight to behold. There are dazzling treasures in every corner from hand-stitched home textiles to two-cycled backpacks and handbags. For holiday shoppers, there’s a variety of Christmas ornaments including wool felting angels, sheep, and deer along with wooden carved birds from Rwanda, and painted wooden birds from Estonia. 

The price-point in the store ranges from a $3.50 hair-tie to a $750 colorful ceramic and hand-formed vase from Kutahyak, Turkey. Exotic finds from around the world include a hand-stitched and embroidered duvet cover in bright purples and deep blue’s as well as eye-catching throws and pillows. She brokers these unique goods through two brothers, who live in Jaipur, India. The brothers employ artisans to create the exquisite pieces; which allows each family to make a living without leaving their village.  

Erika prides herself in not only being an importer, but she also includes American-made products in her store. A Florida crafter makes baby clothes with matching hats, and one of her most inspired artisans is a 12-year-old Navajo Indian girl, who makes soap from the materials on her reservation in New Mexico. Erika also features works from local artists including macramé keychains, and pottery. 

It’s not hard to imagine that Erika’s hobbies are travel and crafting. There is an array of large colored photographs behind her counter depicting all the places she’s visited, which include: South Africa, Dubai, Lebanon, Nepal, India, Indonesia, and all over Europe. 

Store Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10- 6, Sunday, 11- 6. 168 Ave. Del Mar.
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