Owners of The Rising Co., from left to right: Jaime Riese, Rob Riese,Steve Blumkin, Steve Neiley, Amanda Neiley, Grant Ellis, & Julie Rais Ellis.
The Rising Co.: New Oceanside Co-Op Creates Community & Commerce for Local Artisans
Exploring wild places and creating has become a habit for Oceanside artisan and entrepreneur Danielle Quigley - from the backwoods to the beach to the mountains. In fact, she met her current business partner, Sue Fan, 15 years ago while chasing ice and adventure in Antarctica. In 2014, the two nature enthusiasts left their jobs as professional photographers to launch a lifestyle brand called WILD HABIT and haven’t looked back. The creative duo use inspiration from nature to design homeware, jewelry, and spaces with the guiding principles of respecting the environment and sharing the natural beauty of the world. Together, they have created installations for large corporations, restaurants, studios, and homes; they have also styled for the Do Lectures Wales and USA.
“For my home goods, I forage in search of natural materials and create handmade products and installations. I want to bring the beauty of the earth into every heart and home,” Quigley said. “The jewelry is always inspired by nature, hoping to emphasize the importance of preserving Earth's natural beauty and make a small difference in how people see, feel, shop, and give back. In that spirit, a tree is planted for every item sold, and we just planted a small grove in Wallowa-Whitman National forest in Oregon.”
Danielle Quigley (left) and Sue Tan of WILD HABIT in Iceland.
WILD HABIT is one of about 14 local merchants that are part of The Rising. Co., an Oceanside-based coastal community hub that features local retailers, a coffee shop, events, and co-work spaces. The co-op was born in December 2019 out of an idea during a weekend camping at San Elijo State Beach in Cardiff.
“We all shared the vision for a modern day retail concept that celebrates local brands,” said Julie Ellis, owner of RAIS CASE, and co-owner of The Rising Co. “And because of the amount of outdoor space we have, we felt that we could hold a variety of events throughout the year for our community.”
Some of that enthusiasm came to a halt three months later when the pandemic hit and The Rising Co. was forced to temporarily close.
“It was disappointing to have to close in March, as we all love being in the shop, but we wanted to do the right thing and turned our efforts to our online shop and eventually window shopping,” Ellis said. “In June, we finally fully re-opened, and currently have a sanitized and safe place to shop and spend time. We have had to make some adjustments, but our community and customers were so supportive throughout all of this that we have survived and are thriving. It is such a large, open-air space that feels very safe and easy to keep distance and still enjoy. On the upside, I think it reaffirmed what our customers already knew - supporting locally benefits everybody.”
Besides RAIS CASE and WILD HABIT, the co-op’s current merchants include Ornamental Plant Boutique, Indigo Sun Crystals, Soul Shapers, Little Light Collective, Feather4Arrow, Adobe, Rising Co. Gallery, Raum, The Nada Shop, Mar Y Lana, Raen, and Bradley Mountain.
Seaborne Coffee - which specializes in espresso coffee and crafted drinks including Boba, Nitro, and Kombucha - is also part of The Rising Co. family. The co-op also offers outdoor space for local brands to have “pop-ups” on the weekends, and has coworking and event space upstairs.
RAIS CASE, a premium handmade leather bag company, is one of several local merchants who are part of The Rising Co.
The Rising Co. is not only helping support local businesses; it’s also provided a much-needed space for the community during the pandemic.
“What makes The Rising Co. unique is that everybody involved (and even the majority of our customers) are looking for more than just a place to shop and sell. It attracts seemingly like-minded people who want to have a connection,” said Ellis, who pivoted her handmade leather bag design company RAIS CASE during the pandemic to make face masks and bandanas. “We are always trying ways to build community and cultivate creativity through featuring handmade products by local brands, hosting workout classes on Saturday mornings, music on the patio, and our MAKE + DO (DIY) table experience.”
For Quigley, being part of The Rising Co. gives her a sense of community and purpose, and allows her the resources and space to grow her small business, even in the midst of a pandemic.
“It has been difficult to adjust to the new normal, both in business and in life, but it has also been really nice to feel the direct and loyal support of our community,” she said. “The Rising Co. shop and patrons have really come through though for me and I feel so lucky to have such supportive partners and customers.”
“I think Oceanside missed some of the usual tourism (due to COVID-19), but in exchange I feel like we really got to see the loyalty of the locals shine, not just at our shop but from our city officials, and local restaurants too. I feel really supported from all corners of this town,” she added.
Unique products handcrafted from nature by WILD HABIT.
In order to further provide a gathering place for the community, The Rising Co. hopes to use its expansive outdoor space to allow people to safely connect.
“We are also looking forward to opening our Make + Do (DIY) table again,” Ellis said. “It was a main attraction before COVID-19 and we are re-working it in time for the holidays. It is a place where customers can get creative with different DIY projects from each brand with leatherworking tools, a mini loom kit, terrarium building, and custom stamp projects. There is something to get everyone excited to create.”
Ellis said the co-op’s ultimate goal is to build a place where people feel at home, and where they can come to gather (safely), be creative, and support local businesses.
“Without the support from our community we literally would not be able to operate. We hope to continue to create value for residents and visitors,” she said. “Having a place like this and customers like ours feels so special and we are very lucky to be in the company of so many loyal, innovative, and inspiring businesses. The Rising Co. and Oceanside are places we are raising our families, growing our businesses, and working to build our community.”