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Name: Kim Friesen

Business: Carpenter’s Cupboard

Industry: Consumer Goods

Location: Windom, Minnesota, U.S.

Reason for starting: Savoring the quality of old things and mixing them with the new in creative ways trips my trigger. My town of Windom, MN, was without an antique/vintage outlet and I wanted to provided a place for like-minded people to gather and sell their wares. The shop began as an antique mall with many vendors and has evolved into a seasonal business with both in-shop sales and other-venue market shows.

Related: Read about another entrepreneur working with antiques here. 

How do you define success? Success is meeting a community need while having the freedom to express myself creatively through my displays and eclectic merchandise. It is an opportunity to share an experience and interest with others. Success is also being willing to stretch and change as needed to continue find joy in what I do.

Biggest Success: By far my biggest pleasure has been working with my daughter, Rachel, as we stage and set up for vintage market shows. Combining her natural bent toward design with my business sense and understanding of customer service has made for several successful vintage sales events.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Increasing sales in a small community of under 5,000 is a challenge. The market is tight, so I have had to reach outside of my small town and, as they say, take my show on the road and participate in several off-site vintage market venues. I realize that having a stronger web presence could accelerate my business’ growth, but the personal touch and face-to-face contact I have with my clients is a favorite aspect of my business.

Related: Our Definitions of Success: Meaning Over Money 

Who is your most important role model? There are many vintage designers out there now, but my love of beautiful furnishings and art came from my wonderful Uncle Dean, a retired designer in the LA area. As a child, when I visited him in California he would take me to swap meets and other outdoor markets to find great unique buys. He was an expert at recreating beautiful things. We also spent time dreaming together as we wandered through the properties he was redesigning. I have always looked to him for design sense and creative ideas.

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Edited by The Story Exchan