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Smiles are Free at The Art of Simple in Seaside

February 20, 2018 by Audrey Johnson

The Art of Simple is one of those special places that seems to have evolved right along with South Walton.

Over time, the well-curated boutique has taken on one form or another, going from a shop to a gallery and back. Owners Michael and Laura Granberry just celebrated five years on the square in Seaside, and fifteen years in business overall. Still, the Granberrys continue to bring an artistic eye for fresh and unique gifts for the people of Seaside.

Michael and Laura’s journey into retail began at the Shops of Grayton in 2003 when they opened Simple Inspirations, a boutique filled with gifts and local art, and in just two short years they moved to Grand Isle in Seagrove and changed the name to just SIMPLE. 

“Our Ruskin shop opened in fall of 2005. It was originally home decor with a small intro to original art. We quickly started adding more and more art,” says Laura.

Within a year, the shop went completely art gallery but still kept the original name SIMPLE.  A photographer and graphic designer by trade, Michael and Laura began adding their own artwork to the mix and decided to change to name to The Art of Simple. The couple owned the building where the shop was in Ruskin and fully immersed themselves in Seaside life, working downstairs and living above the shop.

“We realized over time we wanted to add a little something to the mix so we started with bath fuzzies, candles and a small mix of sea shells. And from that we kept adding more items, thus the birth of the new The Art of Simple began,” says Laura.

The couple recognized a need in Seaside for a place where locals and travelers could find unique gifts, apothecary items, and housewares, but the shop in Ruskin lacked the space to accommodate their vision. In January of 2013, their current space on the square became available, and The Art of Simple has been buzzing right along ever since.

Michael and Laura seem to have found their groove. Every year they visit Atlanta and New York markets, and focus on finding boutique brands and startup companies that trade treasures you won’t find on Amazon.

The Art of Simple stocks eclectic yet cohesive goods. Michael and Laura keep their shop personal by buying things that speak to their aesthetic, as well as items they know their customers will love. The well-curated shop is full of things you didn’t know you needed - i.e. the perfect gifts.

Fine china, quirky clocks, and chic canisters are just a few items in the boutique’s treasure trove of goodies. And the Granberry’s sweet Cavapoo, Junebug even has her own line of products for furry friends-and her own Insta handle @junebug30a. The Granberrys also design 30A Beach Girl, a line of hats, bags, t shirts, and apothecary with a vintage pinup vibe.

For home, Seletti China’s Hybrid Collection gives an East-Meets-West vibe that’s sure to be an instant dinner party conversation starter. Michael and Laura discovered Fishs Eddy during a trip to New York. And when the brand began offering their funky dishes, vintage glassware, funny mugs and kitchen gadgets at wholesale, they knew The Art of Simple customers would love its quirky charm.

Tiny Dwellings by Gina Cochran are peppered throughout the shop and are sure to make you smile. The encaustic collages feature hand stained paper and oil paint on cradled wood panels. They range in size from 4x4 to 10x10 and will have you dreaming of going off grid to set up a tiny house on 40 acres in the woods of Newville, Alabama, or Point Washington, or wherever.

The Art of Simple has a full apothecary, with makeup, skincare and beauty items, as well as home fragrance. The shop carries local brands, like Ladyganics. And holistic, natural skincare brands like Apoterra, which Laura found on Etsy before they made it big.

Look and feel your best with the full range of Jane Iredale cosmetics, aka the Skincare Makeup. The line is made with clean ingredients that are organic, cruelty free and hypoallergenic, without compromising long-lasting performance. Beauty specialists at The Art of Simple can match you to your favorites. 

Browse, linger and be inspired at The Art of Simple, located on the square in Seaside. The eclectic shop offers apothecary, unique gifts, fine art, antiques, custom gift boxes and loads of fun. Shop online at www.theartofsimpleonline.com and stay up to date on Facebook

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Audrey Johnson's picture

Audrey Johnson

Upon realizing that life is too short not to follow her dreams, Audrey moved to the beach and became a writer. SoWal’s pristine beaches inspire her to explore further, look deeper, and do better.

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