Jayne Katz Ayers always dreamed of opening her own Hanukkah gift shop. Other than a few Judaica stores or the tiny Hanukkah displays in Target (you know the ones we’re talking about), Jayne couldn’t find a single shop with satisfying Hanukkah offerings. So this year, she turned her dream into a reality and opened her own Hanukkah boutique! Jayne is the proud owner of Oh My Stars, a Hanukkah gift shop located in Chantilly, VA.
Our NoVA Community Manager, Sarah, caught up with Jayne to learn more about the inspiration behind Oh My Stars, what visitors can expect to see in the shop, and what Jayne is up to when she’s not busy running the business.
Sarah: What inspired you to open a Hanukkah shop?
Jayne: It’s funny, I’ve been thinking about this for a LONG TIME! My mom had a kitchen shop at the beach growing up, and I spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of shop I would like to open. I didn’t want it to be the same old thing. After years of adulting and having a family of my own, I was frustrated by the lack of decent items to decorate with for Hanukkah. And the majority of major stores carry very few, if any, Hanukkah items. After attending a gift show in Atlanta with a dear friend, I got the bug to open a Hanukkah shop. I’d planned to open the store last year, but COVID delayed my plans. So this year, I decided to just go for it!
Sarah: Congratulations! That sounds like quite the journey. So what can visitors expect to see in your store?
Jayne: Visitors can see a variety of items—from decorative Hanukkah ornaments, dog toys, wrapping paper, and Hanukkah greeting cards to menorahs, candles, Hanukkah wine glasses, and cloth Hanukkah napkins. My favorite items are the ones that can be used for any holiday; we have an assortment of beautiful live edge charcuterie and challah boards, and we just got in a stunning new line of blue and gold bowls and platters. We also have fun garlands and Happy Hanukkah signs to hang on your door or in your house.
PLUS—some stunning handmade bags (they were actually featured in Allure, The New York Times, and Vanity Fair!). Did I mention jewelry by a local artist group? AND we’re proud partners with Baldie’s Bitters—a small batch bitters company that’s perfect with your favorite bourbon. We have gifts for everyone!
Sarah: I’ve been to the store and I can definitely vouch for the incredible selection! So tell me, what have been some of the challenges you’ve faced with the store?
Jayne: The biggest challenge has been finding a landlord to allow a short-term lease. The store is only open mid-October through the end of December. Thankfully, I found someone who was willing to give me the opportunity!
Sarah: What’s been your favorite part of running the store?
Jayne: My favorite part has been seeing my vision come to life! And meeting and talking with SO many people that are excited for the shop. They’ve helped confirm that my vision wasn’t totally crazy!
Sarah: It’s not crazy at all! So what do you do when you’re not at the shop?
Jayne: Wow—I’d love to say nothing, but that is VERY far from the truth! I have another business that I’ve had for over 26 years. I’m actually a meeting planner and have a wonderful group of clients who I work with to plan their corporate and association meetings. I am also a mom to an 18-year-old, wife, stepmom to two adult children, and have a four-year-old granddaughter and two and a half-year-old grandson. Plus two very sweet (and hairy) golden retrievers. I was most recently the President of our wonderful synagogue—Temple Beth Torah in Chantilly, VA. I have a full life of family and friends—I’m one lucky girl!
Sarah: What’s your favorite Hanukkah tradition?
Jayne: My favorite Hanukkah tradition is lighting the candles. Whether it was with my family growing up, or my family now, it is one of the special moments that I get to enjoy all the wonderful feelings associated with Hanukkah and my Jewish heritage.
Sarah: Any else you’d like to share?
Jayne: I’d like to thank everyone who has been so supportive of Oh My Stars. By helping spread the word through social media and your own network of friends and family, you’ve helped make my dream come true. I look forward to many more seasons of seeing you at Oh My Stars!
You can find Oh My Stars online at their website and on Facebook and Instagram. Oh My Stars is open Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-6pm through December 23rd.
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This interview has been edited for length and clarity. The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.