“With everything that’s going on in the world,” says Sophisticated Bling Studio owner Niamma Mayo, “I wanted to create a place that’s light and fun.” Her vision for her new business on North Union Street in Kennett Square is to bring people together to enjoy creating. “There’s nothing like seeing another person happy,” she says with a radiant smile.
Mayo’s first challenge was completely transforming the former accounting office at 110 North Union Street into a bright and inviting creative space. “I started with the floors and ceiling,” she says, and then added a beautiful floral panel and accents. Sophisticated Bling Studio, which opened in March, offers a wide variety of classes for kids and adults, from jewelry making and painting to blinging. It’s also a retail space where customers can browse and purchase one-of-a-kind items—for themselves or as gifts for special people in their lives.
Creativity and caring go hand in hand
Mayo began caring for others at age fourteen, when she became a volunteer at Mercy Hospital. “The experience grounded me as the person I am,” she says. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s in healthcare administration and worked in healthcare for more than three decades. She laughs as she describes how, managing a staff of over 30 between two hospitals, she fulfilled the role of counsellor and therapist as well as manager, in addition to caring for patients herself when her staff was busy.
Helping others is part of who Mayo is, and when she took a pause to figure out what she was most passionate about and what she wanted to do next, she couldn’t help but bring that spirit of caring into her new endeavor. She first started blinging—decorating everything from wine glasses and mugs to hairbrushes and more with colorful and sparkly rhinestones—as a positive way to deal with work-related stress that also enabled her to care for others.
“When I’m creating something, I’m in my zone and relaxed and all the stress goes away,” Mayo says. “I loved making things for birthdays and anniversaries for my friends and family and co-workers. These gifts brought joy, with love and care behind them.” Sophisticated Bling Studio was born out of a combination of her creativity and her desire to share that joy with others.
“You don’t have to be an artist or an expert,” she says. “It’s all about being together and having fun.” Mayo loves seeing how each person adds their own twist and flair to projects, “And every single one is beautiful,” she says.
A space for everyone to enjoy
Sophisticated Bling Studio offers classes for people of all ages—from children (ages 7 and up) to their parents and grandparents—to enjoy and learn something new. Classes listed on the website include painting and jewelry making in addition to blinging everything from wine glasses to coffee mugs, keepsake boxes, and more. “I’m flexible, and if I can accommodate someone’s special request, I will,” Mayo says. Inclusivity and accessibility are important to her, too. She never wants cost to be a barrier and has set up a summer schedule of early evening “$20 Tuesday” classes, featuring a different project every week through August.
“When I’m creating something, I’m in my zone and relaxed and all the stress goes away,” Mayo says.
Sophisticated Bling Studio has already proven to be a popular place for birthday parties, bridal showers, after work get-togethers, and girls’ nights out. Customers can book classes as a group, with a friend, or individually. Parents looking for fun summer activities for the kids will find lots of options as well. Parent and child classes have proven popular too. “It’s a great environment and opportunity to bond with a child,” Mayo says.
She beams as she describes a recent children’s birthday party. “They all had so much fun creating something unique. We have different games they can pick from, and we turn on the music they like, and they were dancing.” Customers are welcome to bring light refreshments and those over 21 can BYOB.
“I’m truly blessed to have the opportunity to do this and share my skills,” Mayo says. She also enjoys working collaboratively with her colleague Lee, who leads the painting classes. “We have different creative styles with different projects to appeal to a wider audience,” Mayo says.
Mayo and her husband, empty nesters now that their daughters are grown, moved to East Marlborough in March 2020—just before the pandemic shutdown. “I’ve loved Kennett Square since first driving through the area years ago. It’s so charming,” she says. She enjoys the people, and the quiet, and being near Longwood Gardens. “I knew I wanted to find a location for my studio here,” she says. “There’s something special about this town.” She’s grateful for the warm reception she’s received in Kennett Square and for the support of fellow business owners like Kris Perrone, of Fab & Boujee, who hosted a workshop in her boutique.
“I’ve loved Kennett Square since first driving through the area years ago.”
Mayo also enjoyed being part of the recent Journey to Freedom Juneteenth Festival at The Creamery. “I made wine glasses, coffee mugs, and bracelets in honor of Juneteenth. It was the first time I had participated in a festival, but this one was one-of-a-kind—from the speakers to the entertainment and The Creamery as well. I met a lot of people and glad that I was asked to participate. It was nice to gather and hear about the history and the importance of Juneteenth celebrations.”
Sophisticated Bling Studio is only a few steps off the beaten path of State Street, and Mayo loves people popping in to say hello.
Photos by Dylan Francis