When did you open the doors of The Lady Jane Shop?
It's hard to believe, but this July will be ten years since I opened The Lady Jane! Our first day open was July 1st, 2011.
When did you know you wanted to open a brick and mortar store?
Originally I studied to be a teacher and taught fourth grade for two years before opening the shop. Opening the shop owner was the most spontaneous thing I've ever done! I wanted to create a space that would make other people feel happy, welcomed, and lighter - whether they stopped in for a chat and a wander or for a specific reason.
How many years has The Lady Jane Shop been in business?
If you could describe The Lady Jane Shop in three words, what would they be?
Home, Gifts, + Handmade
What are your top three favorite items to sell in The Lady Jane Shop?
Getting to pick each item in the shop, I fell such fondness for every single item from art prints to jewelry to candles! My top three would probably be greeting cards, our pet items (dog mama of three!), and original artwork because each piece is so special.
What is your best selling Candelles candle that you carry?
Candelles always fly off the shelf at the shop, but our number one best seller has always been Cabin Getaway - but if it's the holiday season, we can't keep Blue Spruce in stock!!
Do you have your own personal favorite Candelles scent?
I love the freshness of Pomegranate Cider in the Fall, but Vanilla + Cedar is my go-to sample to burn in the shop!
What is the most fulfilling part of owning The Lady Jane Shop?
Absolutely the most fulfilling part of being at the shop is the connecting with others. Our local vendors, my downtown neighbors, and my incredible shop community. Some of my customers have been coming in since I opened, and I've seen kids grow up and start their own lives, couples get married and build families, and so many other amazing life moments. My dearest friends are all people I've met because of the shop - whether neighbors, customers, or vendors. I have always thought of the shop as a front to make friends.
You're always adding new and exciting things to The Lady Jane Shop, what are some of the things you look for in a brand when stocking a new line?
Supporting other women is really important to me, and Makers who care about sustainability, social good, and messaging that is inclusive and important. We also have such an age-diverse customer base - I want to make sure everyone can find something in the shop they can afford when looking for a special gift for a loved one...from our high school and college students to our retirees!
Do you have any new projects in the works for the future of The Lady Jane Shop?
Adding an online shop has been the biggest project I've faced in quite some time. I'm still learning how to iron out the more basic kinks, and have so much admiration for all the (much more!) tech-savvy small business owners out there!!
Have there been any unexpected lessons you've learned while running The Lady Jane Shop?
Even years in, I'm still such a perfectionist / have unrealistic expectations of myself -- I'm still learning that sometimes it's good enough and get down off that ladder because no one else will mind that something is off by an inch or two from a display! :)
What does an average day at The Lady Jane Shop consist of for you?
Things change a bit seasonally, but my days are mostly spent updating inventory and restocking the shop, catching up on curbside orders + shipping while greeting customers and getting to chat with folks throughout the day! I also try to regularly change displays and keep things fresh for all our awesome vendors. Often I bring my pup Lulu and/or have a foster kitty in the shop, so depending on their age/playfulness some days I am keeping a furry friend from eating the plants or knocking too many things off tables! In the evenings I update the website and work on reorders for upcoming holidays or low stock inventory and re-watch Bake Off or Schitt's Creek!
Do you host any community events or workshops at The Lady Jane Shop?
Before the Pandemic, I got to be a part of monthly and annual events at the shop like our First Friday Art Walk, downtown festivals, trick-or-treating / parades, fundraisers, and festivals. I'm missing those community events so much - but have been able to host some virtual art shows, quick DIYs on our IG and FB page, and have been sewing masks (and ordering lots of handmade masks!) to host a monthly fundraiser for different non-profits with a focus on social justice.
What has been the most challenging part of owning your own brick and mortar store?
More than anything, I feel incredibly fortunate to love what I do so much. But some days it is hard simply to make decisions on my own (indecisive!) - or it can feel a bit isolating to not work daily with other people. While I am so fortunate to have had wonderful employees through the years, at the moment my lovely small staff has moved into full time careers in other fields / travelled to take care of family. With Covid, my biggest challenge has been choosing how to proceed to keep everyone as safe as possible. I decided to close for a long period in 2020 just doing curbside orders and deliveries, and I'm still operating on less hours and tight capacity limits. As difficult as it is, I'm also very strict about face masks and social distancing. As a people-pleaser, it can be exhausting sometimes - but it's the only way I feel okay being open. It's also difficult sometimes to feel purpose - I loved working with kids as a teacher and that was such a clear goal. That's when I'm reminded of how special our downtown community is, and how much I love representing so many other small businesses and Makers.