FROM BABY BOUTIQUE TO HOME STORE
A Seatbelt is needed for this ride because the road is bumpy and there are a few sudden curves.
I love seeing the look on someone’s face when I tell them that Eco Chic started as a baby store. It doesn’t make sense when you look at us now, but if you hear it from the beginning you understand how the road turned and curved and led us to our current destination. I’m smiling as I write this because the impossibility of it all still catches me by surprise when I think about it, yet looking back it makes perfect sense.
Eco Chic was opened on June 4th, 2010.
The full name of the store was Eco Chic “A Green Boutique for Baby, Mom and Home. The idea for the store stemmed from my then occupation. I was selling Shaklee products and one of their lead categories was natural eco-friendly home cleaning products. I had spent six years talking with moms about making their homes safer and healthier by using safer cleaning options. What I heard over and over again was that moms wanted other eco-friendly options. So my plan was to open a store that sold “green” products for children and homes. The entire store was composed of eco-friendly product, hence the name Eco Chic.
The store was well accepted by the community and I felt as if we were on to something, but this feeling of “this is going to be great” was quickly followed by “where are the customers?” I continued on for about a year and the sales continued to decline and dip. The road was getting bumpy and I was scared. I would share each evening my concerns with Tate that we weren’t going to be able to catch up with all the bills and I didn’t think the store was going to survive.
Now when we opened the store we stuck with our eco-friendly model by purchasing used furniture pieces to be used as our product displays. A theme began to develop as the days began to drag on. Customers started inquiring about the furniture displays the product was placed on instead of the actual product. One particular piece was an old white hutch that held the cloth diapers. I had been asked a few times if the hutch was for sale. Each time my response was the same. No, the hutch is not for sale. Then one night as Tate and I laid in the darkness of our bedroom I shared with Tate that we only had $116 dollars in sales that day…and someone had once again inquired about the hutch.
Now you have to understand, Tate was not part of the day to day business operations and didn’t normally give advice on the business. He was always supportive and listened to my concerns but business strategy, marketing, operations, product selections and so forth was my responsibility. But that night, in the darkness Tate whispered four words that changed the face and direction of Eco Chic forever and led us to where we are today. Those words were,
“Sell the Damn Hutch.”
The gravity of that statement and the wisdom of Tate to see what I was blind to still makes me shake my head and smile today. The customer was showing us what they wanted and all we had to do was listen, but I was so stuck in what we were that I couldn’t see where we were going.
That one piece of furniture turned into two, and then three and then before you knew it we were selling more re-purposed furniture than anything. Tate and I were spending our weekends at auctions and estate sales trying to keep the store full. We were then returning home to clean, fix and spray paint (yes spray paint) the pieces so they could make it to the store floor.
When I would shower at night the water would run whatever color I had used that day, it was in our hair it was on our skin…it was sometimes on Tate’s boat that was sitting in the garage (oops!) and it was then that I knew there had to be a better way.
I started reading blogs on furniture painting and continued to be introduced to something called chalk paint. After much confusion over what the paint was, I ordered some online and started to use it myself. After mentioning this on Facebook a time or two the phone started to ring asking if we sold the paint. Well, I didn’t need to return to Tate to hear what the customers were telling me. We began selling Annie Sloan Chalk Paint about six months later and the shelves that once held cloth diapers were now holding paint cans.
I found myself so in love with painting furniture that I would wake up incredibly excited to get to the store and start painting.
It was an industry (and a need) I didn’t know existed and yet here I was smack in the middle of it and loving it.
It wasn’t long before we realized we couldn’t keep up with the demand of finding, fixing and painting enough furniture to keep the store full, so we began to weave in furniture re-purposed by others and some new products as well.
The store began to look different, the baby section got smaller and smaller and was eventually taken completely out and replaced with home décor, rugs, pillows and more furniture.
Throughout this process the face of Eco Chic began to change, the store looked different and I sharpened my skills at displaying and staging the products. This new look opened the door for new opportunities and soon we began staging and decorating for our customers in their homes.
Today our main focus is on providing products and services that bring your home to life, that create a home that hugs you upon arrival. One that is timeless, elegant and fits your needs and personality.
We are simply Eco Chic Home and while the road to get here was bumpy and maybe even a little off course, the place we have arrived is beautiful and fulfilling and we take it very seriously.
We are home, and helping you in yours is our purpose.
-Maria & Tate Bosak