‘A little extra protection neva hurt nobody,’ says Erma Camporese
By Jessica Meditz
If New York had a personality, it would be seen in Brooklyn native and Middle Village resident, Erma Camporese.
Simultaneously blunt, yet as kind as they come, Camporese, 57, is known and loved by the local community.
Her wit, humor and textbook New York accent has earned her the title, “The Queen of Graham Avenue,” where she was born and raised.
You are likely to spot her at Anthony & Son Panini Shoppe at 433 Graham, where she frequents.
As an Italian-American, whose family comes from Sanza, she’s naturally very superstitious.
This motivated Camporese to start her own jewelry business, Creations by Erma, in which she specializes in evil eye jewelry.
“Everyone has a different symbol for the evil eye. But at the end of the day, the evil eye is the evil eye. Whether you believe in the Turkish evil eye, the Italian horn, it’s all the same meaning,” she explained.
“You’re not wishing bad, but you’re not wishing good either.”
Camporese views the evil eye as a form of protection when someone wears it, leading her to make her business’ slogan: “A little extra protection neva hurt nobody.”
She emphasizes that the stylistic spelling of “never” is on purpose.
“I never use the letter ‘R’ when I talk. I used to have the word, ‘never,’ and a friend told me I had to get rid of it, because it’s not how I talk,” she said.
Camporese offers various creations in her online shop, including necklaces, bracelets, earrings, keychains, eyeglass holders, wind chimes and rosary beads.
As a small business owner based in Middle Village, Camporese is proud to have over 4,000 followers on Instagram (@creationsbyerma), and her TikTok by the same name is not far behind.
She attributes much of her online success to the help of Nicolas “Nico” Heller, better known as “New York Nico.”
The social media personality is nicknamed the “Unofficial Talent Scout of New York,” and he and Camporese quickly became close friends.
“Believe me when I tell you I’m not conceited, but I became an overnight success. [Heller] always used to joke around and tell me he wanted to make me famous, and I’d just tell him to leave me alone,” she said with a laugh.
“On Labor Day weekend last year, I let him put up a skit, where I was being serious the way I was talking to him,” she continued. “About a half an hour later, he was like, ‘Have you looked at your phone?’ When I went to get my phone, I had like 1,000 messages.”
The two continue to collaborate and upload humorous skits to social media.
In the past, Camporese participated in a New York accent challenge with Heller, as well as commercials for companies including Bumble and Vitaminwater.
“I love Erma, the Queen of Graham Avenue. She is so Brooklyn, it hurts,” Heller said.
“I love that she is embracing the fact that she has a talent and is creating content of her own. I hope to see her on the big screen one of these days.”
In addition to her online presence, Camporese strives to be present in the community at various events across Brooklyn and Queens.
This Saturday, Creations by Erma will have a pop-up stand at the St. Stan’s Fall Festival in Maspeth, where she will sell her work.
On Oct. 22, she’ll participate in the Party in Pink Breast Cancer Fundraiser at P.S. 128 in Middle Village.
Camporese said she’s very big on paying it forward, which includes spreading awareness and donating funds for cancer research to NYU cardiac research in memory of her brother, Nelson Camporese.
She’s also a member of the Maspeth Lions Club and Our Lady of the Snow Ladies Auxiliary.
Everything Camporese does, including her jewelry and online content, is in the name of “amore,” or love.
“Sometimes I like to mind my business, but my personality sells, so I’ve been told,” she said. “Allowing my life to hold protection has shown me such great opportunities. Paying it forward is a big thing for me, I view that the good we put into the world is the good we receive.”
“Protection is for everyone, and I am ecstatic to share my work.”