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Teen's downtown Brooksville shop caters to 'the artsy type'

By Beth N. Gray, Times Correspondent
Beth N. Gray | Special to the Times
The sale of her first thought-provoking artwork prompted Carson Young, 19, to open Young & Co., a shop that she says is “for the artsy type.” Her works are offered in a corner of the cozy, eclectic downtown Brooksville emporium. Young types up pithy statements of her own, or from the public domain, on a vintage Smith-Corona onto art paper. Each effort is then overlaid with a watercolor illustration.

BROOKSVILLE — Long blonde, lithe and wearing an off-the-shoulder "painted" sweatshirt remake, Carson Young describes herself aptly as an artsy type. So, beneath her shop's could-be-any-business name, Young & Co., the teen includes, "For the Artsy Type."

At 19, Young is likely the youngest entrepreneur in downtown Brooksville. With the enthusiasm of youth, she has gathered an inventory of cool gal's clothing, bangly bracelets and dangly earrings, aromatic candles and bath products, as well as small works of art, every bit and piece of it handmade or hand-embellished, much of it from local artists and artisans.

"I show a lot of artists; it's what we like to support," said Young, a recent Hernando High School graduate who has been creating art "oh, for a long time," she said, "since I was 14." She completed a college semester of freestyle art encouraging self-expression.

Her particular artwork begins with pithy statements of her own imagination, or others from the public domain, typed at a vintage Smith-Corona onto art paper, each effort overlaid with an illustration in flowing watercolors amid pen-and-ink sketching.

When another Brooksville shop, the Wired Bird, accepted and sold some of her works, she admitted her avocation erupted into her own storefront.

"It was an idea. Now it's like a passion," Young said.

She also creates much of the shop's bracelet collection. Other artisan jewelers have contributed earrings, necklaces, rings and wrist adornments contrived from fashion buttons, beads, polished stones, painted leather and twisted wire. Priced from $8 to $45, Young noted, "We try to be affordable."

Customers gravitate to scented soy candles, $9-$11, and fragrant bath products, especially bar soaps at $7 and $8 and bath bombs of aromatherapeutic nuance, all handmade, Young reiterated. The rampant fad bombs at $6 compare to those for as much as $30 at a department store beauty counter.

Young described bath time "sugar cubes," a recent must-have pampering invention, as small, sweet scrubs applied to exfoliate skin and smooth elbows, heels and other roughnesses.

Young's mother, Jamie Young, is credited for the clothing line of tie-dyed jersey and broadcloth shirts, embellished denim jackets, ripped and bleached jeans, some from new beginnings, others up-cycled from gently worn or vintage items.

"She makes them new and funky," Carson said. They appeal to the younger, artsy type, she added, with shirts from $15 and jeans from $20.

Retiree Jamie Young — who's "really into the arts, being creative," said her daughter — has also contributed a line of tie-dye infant onesies and up-scaled youth socks, all whimsically packaged.

The shop's own 400-square-foot package — rough-plastered, red-brick interior; crafted counter and exhibit stands; vintage screen door and infant crib spring with display units — has been a group project, with ideas and labor from her mother; dad, Tom Young, and boyfriend, David Gaustad.

Thoughtfully, Carson Young said, "I don't think I'm competing against anybody. Nobody really has clothes like mine. Nobody has all handmade."

With a customer base of teens and young adults since opening in January, Young acknowledged females of all ages buy jewelry, bath products and home decor accessories.

While Young opened her shop "to give artsy people a store to shop at," she added, "I feel this community has the potential to become artsier."

Contact Beth Gray at [email protected]