Pictured left to right: Sarah creative director, Megan e-commerce manager/photographer + Karen owner/founder
You don’t have to be a Reiki healer to pick up on the amazing energy of k colette. As a team, as a store, and as a brand, k colette sets the bar high.
The moment you pass through the door of this home design boutique you’re compelled to slow down. Everything about the space begs you to indulge your senses, relax, and take pleasure in the expertly curated collections of carefully and beautifully made things from near and far.
We frequently pinch ourselves because we live in an extraordinary place (thank you, Vacationland) and are surrounded by such a warm and amazingly talented community. Since before we had even launched Eklund Griffin (and still today!), the team at k colette has provided us with vital feedback on all aspects of our startup adventure and product development- our brand is stronger because of our relationship with these wonderful visionary women.
When you come to visit Portland, Maine be sure to stop by and experience k colette for yourself at 100 Commercial Street – you can also shop their website!
Here’s what they have to say about starting the store, creativity, and what’s next!
Read on! Blair + Hayley
SS+C: What was the spark that started k colette?
After years of being a teacher, a hands-on mom, and an active member of the local community, I was ready for a total change of pace. I’ve always been drawn to artful, one-of- a-kind products like textiles and ceramics, and I grew up with artists in my own family who gave me a special appreciation for craft. It felt like a natural extension to support the work of a wider community of creatives by opening this type of store, dedicated not only to supporting our local artisans and makers but bringing the work of lesser known makers from across the country—and world—into the mix.
SS+C: How do you go about choosing the designers and artisans to carry in your store?
So much of what we carry in the store is dictated by the feeling we get when we meet a vendor and hear their story. Whether that’s at a trade show in Paris, through a mutual friend in Maine, or over email with an artisan we’ve fallen in love with via their Instagram account, we hand select the products that go into the store not only for their beauty and craftsmanship but because of the relationship we have with the person or people that make it. Our eyes are always open to new discoveries, whether on our travels or in our inboxes—we’re lucky to say that many talented vendors reach out to us with product submissions, which is how we’ve come to sell many of our favorite things in the store.
SS+C: How has your style, aesthetic, and/or business changed/evolved since you first started?
The mission has always been to represent not only the wonderful makers and artisans from our own state and region, but to bring in vendors from all over the country and world. We continue to put an even greater emphasis on sourcing designs from lesser- known places, whether that’s a small town in the South of France, an Indian village known for its block-printing, or as far afield as South Africa.
SS+C: What is the best piece of business/life advice you’ve ever received?
Do your due diligence before engaging in an entrepreneurial enterprise, but balance that with a healthy willingness to take a leap of faith.
SS+C: How do you ensure that k colette is different than other stores of its kind?
We put a real emphasis on the customer. From the moment you walk into the store, we want it to feel like you’ve entered a sanctuary of sorts, one that smells good, always looks interesting, has fresh flowers, where we welcome you warmly and help you find what you’re looking for like a friend might. K colette has always been a deeply personal endeavor for me, and I hope that as a result the store feels personal, too. We truly believe in shopping as a kind of discovery—if you come into the store and learn something new about a glassblowing technique, smell a combination of scents in a candle you’ve never smelled before, or find inspiration in one of our homey displays, we consider that a success.
SS+C: What is your connection to the local community?
We are passionate about not only engaging the local customers who come into our store every day, but also bringing in customers from around the country and world who come to visit our beautiful city and want to support locally-owned businesses while they’re here. We provide locals with essentials for their home that they have come to count on us for, but we also represent Maine to a wider audience by selling pieces by many of our state’s talented artists and artisans. We like to think of it as a symbiotic relationship.
SS+C: What’s next for k colette?
We hope to continue on in the spirit in which we were founded five years ago: to provide joy, inspiration, quality, and beauty to our customers, and to support artists in their creative endeavors. We’ll continue to focus our energies on bringing the store experience online to kcolette.com, which means a greater focus on editorial content to tell our vendors’ stories, a more comprehensive selection of products, and an increasingly user-friendly interface. We’re also excited about continuing to evolve our product offerings. After years of seeing so many products, selling them, and comparing them, we have become deeply knowledgeable about which kind of things work for our store and which don’t. As a result, k colette is going to begin introducing more exclusive collaborations in which we work hand in hand with our beloved artists to create products just for us—so keep your eyes peeled for exciting introductions in the months to come.