However, thanks to the nearly 300 retailers throughout the United States that stock our candles, many of our customers are able to give those candles a test drive before taking one home! Without them, we are like a candle with no smell. And because we appreciate our retailers so very much, we wanted to create a segment focused on shining a light back on them!
Today, I'd like to introduce to you Pomelo
, a beautifully curated gift and shop located in Philadelphia, PA. Boasting a beautiful array of nature in the way of plants, succulents, and fresh blooms, this gift shop also features artisan made products such as candles, ceramics, greeting cards and more. Pomelo is owned and operated by Kaitlin Orner who has a passion for bringing joy to her customers. We are so very excited to get to know more about Kaitlin, and the heart behind Pomelo!
When did you open the doors of Pomelo?
I first opened in October of 2019 as a pop-up shop for holiday inside of the Lil Pop Shop at 20th and Locust in Rittenhouse. I was there until March 2020, and I moved to my current location in Germantown at the same time as the pandemic lockdowns began. I pivoted to online and delivery at that time and began selling mostly flowers (I hadn't sold flowers pre-pandemic), and then opened for in-store customers in Sept 2020. I have actually outgrown the space, and am in the process of moving once again. The floral studio moved Feb 1st and will begin moving the store March 1st 2021. TBD when the store will open once more in the new space!
When did you know you wanted to open a brick and mortar store?
I've always had aspirations to have my own brick and mortar store! I have worked in retail for 10 years and had been trying to work up the courage to take the leap for some time. White the right opportunities began to open up, things just started falling into place quickly. But I had been planning and dreaming and collecting items for that one day I would finally have a store of my own.
How many years has Pomelo been in business?
Pomelo has been in business for around 16 months.
If you could describe Pomelo in three words, what would they be?
Lush, whimsical, community-driven
What are your top three favorite items to sell in Pomelo?
Low maintenance houseplants, flowers that tell a story, hyperlocal gifts made by neighbors
What is your best selling Candelles candle that you carry?
Probably Cabin Getaway or Rosemary and Pine
Do you have your own personal favorite Candelles scent?
Cabin Getaway! It reminds me that vacation is possible...even if it's just through the experience of a candle.
What is the most fulfilling part of owning Pomelo?
Bringing a smile to my customer's faces at a time when that is the most needed. Being the bright spot in so many people's week when they can come in and escape amongst the plants and lush greenery just for a little while.
You're always adding new and exciting things to Pomelo, what are some of the things you look for in a brand when stocking a new line?
I am always looking for interesting brands that align with my own aesthetic while hitting at least one of three key points; Sustainability, Woman or minority owned, and price point accessibility.
Do you have any new projects in the works for the future of Pomelo?
Oh boy, yes the shop is moving and expanding! It has grown in ways I could have never imagined. There will be some twists and turns and announcements in that, but I am flushing out some of the details at the moment!
Have there been any unexpected lessons you've learned while running Pomelo?
Every single day is a lesson. Navigating the pandemic and all of the various aspects of the last year were/are certainly unexpected. You have to keep learning and growing and changing to adapt to the ever changing rules and regulations in order to ensure safety for yourself and customers. It's been a wild ride.
What does an average day at Pomelo consist of for you?
I start my mornings with coffee, there would be no Pomelo without coffee. I pick up flowers from the wholesalers which are fortunately up the street from my shop. Spend time arranging and fulfilling the day's orders. Running any deliveries that need to go out in the morning. I open the shop around noon, and work in the store until 6, usually watering plants and merchandising in between customers. Then I close up shop and spend the evenings running any deliveries that came in during the day. Followed by an evening at home doing any computer and admin work.
Do you host any community events or workshops at Pomelo?
I don't at the moment because my space is very limited and it feels unsafe for the time being. But the new space has a pretty great courtyard and area where events could be done safely, and I hope to offer this in the spring!
What has been the most challenging part of owning your own brick and mortar store?
Right now it has been being the only employee. I have made the choice to keep it small at this time to minimize my COVID exposure risks, and to allow for more customers in the store at a time (currently my max capacity is 3). I sometimes have help with delivery during peak holidays, but otherwise it has been just me from start to finish and it's a lot of hats to wear simultaneously! I hope to hire in the near future.