SHOP & TELL: SISTER GOLDEN
Happy almost weekend! It's been a while since my last Shop & Tell so today I'm beyond excited to bring you a new entry featuring Sister Golden. I came across this shop a couple years ago and I was immediately captivated by all the Frida portraits made entirely of foliage! Mind blowing right?!
The shop is owned by mother and daughter duo Vicki (mom) and Brooke (daughter) who launched Sister Golden back in 2014 as an online shop and recently opened their first brick & mortar store. At the time, the online shop featured a small selection of handcrafted products and Vicki's colorful art prints as well as her Balancing Mother Nature™ art pieces.
I fell in love with all the Balancing Mother Nature pieces but my favorites were the Frida-inspired ones. In true Krystle style, it took me about another year after discovering this shop to decide on which print would be my first purchase. I initially fell in love with Pink Frida and shared on Instagram but it wasn't until last year that I decided to go with Fierce Frida. I simply loved the mood this print evoked and how it makes me feel like a bad ass every-time I look at it! I framed my beauty with in a simple gold frame from IKEA and added her to the gallery wall in my living room.
Now without further delay, let's jump into today's interview with Brooke & Vicki!
REMEMBER, "NEVER KISS & TELL BUT #DOSHOPANDTELL!”
"Stay present and be confident in what you have to offer."
~ Vicki and Brooke
Could you share the story of how you got started with Sister Golden and tell us a bit about how you came up with the name for your shop?
We started Sister Golden while Vicki was living in Chicago and I was living in San Diego. I had always hoped and dreamed to start a small boutique and since the two of us were living apart, we decided the only way to start was virtually, online. We started by selling prints of Vicki's watercolor work, and we quickly added other unique pieces crafted by independent artists. Now we carry handcrafted pieces from independent artists and global artisans from around the world.
The name Sister Golden is inspired by the song by the band America, called Sister Golden Hair. It was a nickname given to me by my dad when I was small and it kind of stuck. I first used Sister Golden as a name for a blog I had just after college, and it kind of followed us as we started the shop. - B.
I simply adore your Frida flower prints because I love and her so much and can't wait to choose my next print! Why are you drawn to her?
I'm an artist and am drawn to strong women, I naturally gravitated to Frida when creating with foliage/flowers. Not to mention her flower crowns she was never seen without! She lived with so much passion and strength, which is something I can draw from every day. I had no idea I'd not be able to stop creating her, lol! But for some reason I haven't been able to get her out of my creative mind, and I keep reinventing her! A new version of her is actually in the works on my studio table as I write! haha! - V.
Can you share a bit more about the process that goes into each design?
It's pretty simple, I go out hunting for foliage! It could be a broken branch of dried leaves in the gutter outside a coffee shop, or a planned trip to nursery for succulents. Sometimes I have an idea around a piece I might do, but most times I get the foliage back to my studio and let it guide the creation. I just start moving stuff around on my board and see what happens. that's how the best pieces really come. Same as when I paint...just a different medium. - V.
You've recently expanded your products to include collaborations with other talented artists. What inspired this?
We knew from the start that we wanted to celebrate independent artists and the unique work they produce. It was a fun challenge for us to find beautiful, functional, authentic pieces – things that we would buy and decorate our homes with – and make them more easily available to customers in one curated and easy-to-shop space. Instead of going out and shopping at a "big box" home decor store, we were hoping clients would come to us and find something that serves the same purpose for them, but isn't mass produced and owned by everyone and their brother! - B.
You recently opened your first Brick & Mortar store, congratulations! In recent times, many business owners have shifted to an online-only model, what prompted you to go against the norm and open a Brick and Mortar shop?
Our store opened in April of 2017 and we survived (and thrived!) our first season in Door County, WI! Our store location is unique, as it's situated in a major vacation destination in the Midwest. The busiest times are from May through October, and then the traffic completely slows down in the late fall and winter (because it's COLD!). Door County is a place that is near and dear to our hearts as we'd been visiting for years. We thought the ebb and flow of the shopping traffic in Door County was conducive to our ultimate dream of having the brick and mortar open 7 days a week during the summer, and then being able to focus on the online shop during the winter while taking time to travel and source new products! - B.
What were you most excited and least excited about, with regards to opening your physical shop?
Going into our second season, we're most excited about seeing all of our amazing customers again and introducing new pieces. It's also always so fun to see new faces and get to explain our shop's mission. One of our new challenges this season will be training three new employees that we have joining our team, but we're also super excited about this! - B.
As a women-owned business, what's one piece of advice you'd give to other women venturing into business?
My advice would be to stay present and be confident in what you have to offer. Stay present because if you don't, things will seem overwhelming. Take it one day and one task at a time. Also, take a second to celebrate each small accomplishment. Be confident in what you have to offer and don't let yourself get distracted by the competition. We were rather naive in the beginning and honestly didn't look much into what others were doing in our same space online. This actually worked in our favor, because if we would have known what else was out there it's likely we would have been scared off and not started our shop at all. So despite what else is out there, hone in on your niche and be confident in the unique things you have to offer. It's worth taking the leap of faith! - B.
Do you have a favorite social media platform you like to use for your business? If so, what platform do you use the most and why?
We're fully aboard that Instagram train! For us, it's a way to stay inspired daily. - B.
Finally, can you share something about yourselves that’s not on your About page?
There was about a 16 year period of my life that I was a personal trainer!! I was blessed to have some pretty influential / famous clients In Chicago that I trained everyday during the week. That's a whole other life story, that needs a sit and a bottle of wine! LOL I was training in the early day and doing my artwork in the evening and weekends while Brooke and her brother were very young...such great flexibility working for myself as a young mom! - V.
When I was in middle school and high school, theatre was a huge part of my life. I was on the speech team, performed in school plays, and even had an agent! Thinking about that now makes me blush because somehow as I've gotten older, I've become so much more of an introvert and couldn't even imagine getting up on a stage and reciting a monologue (huge GULP!!!). - B.
A very big thank you to Vicki & Brooke for sharing their story with us! It was such a pleasure to chat with these two and get their perspective on everything from art to home decor to running a business. To keep up with their latest work as well as all the amazing curated pieces from budding artists and designers, follow Sister Golden on Instagram and be sure to stop by their online shop!
Continue below to see special behind the scenes images of Sister Golden's creative process and workspace and if you're ever in the Door County,WI area, pop in to their brick and mortar store to say hello and to also get beautiful unique pieces for your home!