Jamie + Ashley Hewitt | Arlee Park
Arlee Park is retail store that sells nostalgic & modern goods & threads. Essentially, AP is a secondhand store with a dash of modern items. Of those secondhand items, a majority of them are vintage. We wanted to keep the focus on the ability to reuse home furnishing and décor items in a modern space in a not-so-typical way.
What inspired you to start your business?
We both started frequenting thrift stores in search of table décor as we planned each of our weddings. As we collected more pieces and stumbled upon some unique items, we started selling on Etsy. Since then, we have both adapted to doing a majority of our personal shopping for home goods and clothing at thrift stores. There is sometimes a stigma around secondhand shopping that shouldn’t exist. Anyone can slowly adapt to a more sustainable lifestyle little by little, including shopping secondhand. In the big picture, you’re helping the earth in a major way.
Three words to describe your company’s vibe.
Nostalgic. Fresh. Minimal.
What is your favorite thing about your workspace?
The windows! Nothing beats natural light.
One thing you wish you had in your office/studio…
A cat. Or dog. A shop cat-dog.
What tool, object or ritual could you not live without in your workday?
Since day one we’ve cleansed the Arlee Park space with Palo Santo. It’s a magic worker in all the ways.
Do/did you have a mentor?
We’ve definitely learned a lot from our parents. They were a team in their businesses and we each play specific roles in both of our businesses as well. As much as we work together in certain areas, we very much compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
If you had one piece of advice for someone starting a business, what would it be?
Our businesses happened organically and definitely not overnight. Don’t rush it and truly be you. Most of all, be prepared for a hefty amount of hard work.
How and where do you see growth for your business?
We started selling online and during that time, we were prepping the brick & mortar and making sure everything got off on the right foot, we focused on in-store sales. Now that Arlee Park is up and running, we’re hoping to get back online and do more internet sales than just selling via Instagram.
If you could open a satellite office anywhere, where would it be?
Amsterdam. We spent a month there a couple years ago and we were both inspired by the shops scattered about the canals and how effortless the environments were. The shops are personal and crafted by creative minds and don’t feel rigid and structured.
What is the biggest challenge facing small businesses?
Trying to stay relevant and also accepting or rejecting growth. It’s important to grow a strong team within a small business first and hopefully be able to maintain that base structure into whatever your long term goals may be.
If you could be a fly on the wall of anyone’s studio/shop whose would it be?
Hackwith Design House. We’ve always been obsessed with apparel and the process that goes along with making it and they do a mighty fine job with it all.
With any creatives really! We love collaborating with talented makers. Partnering with other small businesses is a great way to showcase what everyone has to offer. Oh, and Target. Hey, Target. Heeey.
Trend you love.
Trend you are over.
Favorite place to go outside of the Twin Cities.
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan, anywhere in the PNW and Chicago for the US. Asia, the Netherlands and Scotland all hold special places in our hearts, too. Traveling is always a highlight for us.
Three Instagram accounts you love to see in your feed.