The company was everything and more; her family. The sand between her toes and the sound of waves crashing; her peace. The most unexpected, yet perfect piece of driftwood; her next artwork.
For most, passions are to be fulfilled in the free moments of life, and few are lucky enough to transform their passion into not only something greater than themselves, but timeless works of art. For the Ebb Tide Designs’ father and daughter duo, Kelly Ethevenin and Pete McBrien, life never exactly made sense without creation.
Throughout Kelly’s childhood, there was not a moment where artistry and the yearly family beach vacations lacked relevance, as each of these aspects came to be prominent inspirations for the business itself.
“I grew up right outside Philadelphia, in Ambler, but would often spend my summers down the shore in LBI. My dad worked as a cabinet maker, so I always knew him as an excellent wood maker and craftsman, and even after fate had other plans for him in the work field, his love for making unique pieces always remained,” recalled Kelly. “At times, my mother would reference certain art that caught her eye, and my father would become insistent on making it from scratch. From then on it was ‘Mom wants this, so I’ll build, and you can bring it to life with your paint.’”
As the years passed, Pete found himself busy with the corporate world, and Kelly spent her days exploring and making a living in the world of Europe, where she eventually met her husband, Pierre Ethevenin.
“My father and I always talked about opening up an Etsy shop, because we knew how special and unique our pieces were, but there was always something keeping us from it, whether that be the distance, or just life and its fast pace,” said Kelly. “When my husband found work in the US, we were one step closer to our dream. With the accompaniment of grief following my mother’s passing and the pandemic, my father and I both knew it was time.”
Setting up shop on the corner of Pete’s lawn in Ocean View was just the beginning of a long and successful road ahead for Ebb Tide Designs.
“Right from the jump it was clear that our customers had an emotional connection to our work, and because everything we make is from reclaimed wood, upcycled materials, and a coastal color palette, each piece has its own sense of uniqueness,” she said.
There is an ongoing collection of driftwood, walkway patches, picket fences, and seashells that is not only taken on by the ‘Dream Team’, Kelly, Pete, Pierre, and their daughter Lily, but also by family friends who support and believe in the business as if it were their own.
“In certain moments if I am walking along the coast and find a hidden treasure, I can immediately picture how I will use it, it is what makes our job so fun,” said Kelly.
The success of the business relies heavily on a teamwork effort. Kelly focuses primarily on the painting and decoration side, while managing all social media and marketing ideals, and Pete undertakes all things woodwork, but the efforts do not stop there.
“My family’s company would be nothing without my husband, daughter, and even our dog Marcel. It’s the little things that mean the most; midday post office runs, having a pal to lie at my feet when I am doing what I love most, and my mini seashell collector and art critic to bounce my ideas off of,” Kelly said.
Although the ‘Dream Team’ excels in an environment of hustle, they also take time to ensure that there is still enjoyment in every aspect of the work, because their pure love for art and the beach should never feel like a job, but rather a shared and everlasting passion.
The beach has always been a place of serenity, full of fond memories for Kelly and her family, therefore the intention of Ebb Tide Designs is to reflect these moments of bliss: “Our art is for anyone and everyone who loves the beach, relaxing, and enjoying life’s simplest moments. We want our work to look and feel like a ray of sunshine. With each custom order we hope to provide a great keepsake, and a piece of your vacation that you can bring back home with you. The Jersey Shore is full of natural beauty and we are lucky enough to not only experience it, but to reimagine it through our art.”
Currently, Ebb Tide Designs’ artwork can be found on their website: www.ebbtidedesigns.com
You can also find them on their social media platforms: Instagram @ebbtide_designs & Facebook @EbbTideDesigns
Locations: Stainton’s Gallery of Shops and Primitive Beach Boutique
Find this story and more in the June issue of Ocean City Magazine