Threadwell production and design coordinator Hadley Howe (left) and Molly Ellis, owner and creative director. (Photo by Jeremy Jones)

Threadwell production and design coordinator Hadley Howe (left) and Molly Ellis, owner and creative director. (Photo by Jeremy Jones)

by Jeremy Jones

Are you a “B”? “For some reason we are drawn to items with “B” monograms,” says Cynthia Brumback in her book, “The Art of the Monogram.”

Monograms first appeared on Greek and Roman coins as early as 350 BC, to identify a region’s ruler. Since that time, they have symbolized military conquests, royalty, social status, wedded bliss, confidence, retail dynasties, movie moguls and religious deities.

Originally created in one continuous line, this basic yet artistic form of personal expression has the power to reveal “who done it” when a handkerchief is found at the scene of the crime, and the power to turn the likes of Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton into designer rock stars because, when all is said and done, a monogram is a personal connection.

With a fashion apparel merchandising and marketing background, Threadwell owner and creative director Molly Ellis takes that personal connection to new levels. While staying true to the art form’s traditional and romantic heritage, she creates upwardly mobile, innovative, rich, whimsical personal and corporate items and designs that make the history of the monogram blush with envy.

Having recently moved the shop from 8617 Germantown Ave. down a couple of blocks to 8431 Germantown Ave., Ellis and Hadley Howe, Threadwell’s production and design coordinator, are currently collaborating on designing a fresh new batch of monograms to be included in their book of 50 monogram selections, with over 100 colors of colorfast threads to choose from.

Featuring gifts for home, bed and bath, Threadwell has captured the niche as the source for custom classic monogramming and embroidery in the Philadelphia region.

“We love monograms,” said Ellis. “We love to talk about monograms and we love doing what we can to make the best of a monogram, whether for a new baby or a new bride with her new initials, or a new home with a new address, or for giving the best gift at a shower, the fact that it’s embroidered adds something more. And custom monograms are our specialty.”

Ellis also makes it impossible to believe something practical and useful can’t be a very cool hot ticket for today’s consumer. In addition to numbers, Ellis’ creation of cotton webbing Zip Code key rings have words or sayings such as “notxtng;” perfect for the new driver in the house or as a hostess gift atop a bottle of wine.

“This is the best place to buy a present in the whole world,” said Camilla Williams, of Whitemarsh, on a recent visit to Threadwell “because someone loves to have their name on something, and the people here are sensitive and feeling about that.”

Ellis makes her customers proud to own or give a gift from Threadwell, whether it’s in stock or custom designed. She can turn a child’s artwork or handwritten “I love you, Mom,” into a precious keepsake for a Valentine’s or Mother’s Day pillow, and she can closely duplicate the signature or signature expressions you associate with someone near and dear to you, as in the way her own grandmother signs her notes with a smiley face and a little curly cue of hair. The same can be done with a family crest or a significant architectural element from your home.

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, Threadwell carries 8-inch linen hemstitched pillows that say (front/back) “Tonight”/”Not Tonight” and “Ce Soir/Pas ce soir”! The “Maybe”/”Maybe Not” pillow was featured on the Today Show last year.

“We have a sense of humor about everything we do,” said Ellis, “and our customers come up with fun things, too. Right now we’re doing hats for a 60th birthday party trip.”

Ellis and Howe are happy to provide the same quality of work on customers’ own items, such as towels for the new beach house or your daughter’s game-winning sneakers.

Swim bags, horse blankets, candles, canvas and metallic totes, Dopp kits, colorful “Muddy Paws” floor mats for boots and shoes – Ellis’ inspiration for creativity is nonstop and flows from season to season.

Whether you are a “B” or someone special to you is a “QT,” Threadwell is personally yours – from “A” to “Z” and “0” to infinity!