Are you an aspiring art business owner wondering what’s out there for you in this great big artistic world of ours? Me too. Well, we don’t have to look very far away from the Guilford community to find a great example – about 20 minutes away, in fact! I had the fantastic opportunity to talk to the owners of Vintage Jane, a small collaborative artistic effort founded in October 2010 by Kresha Waldrop, Donna Robbins, and Michelle Witteveen that has blown up into one of downtown Kernersville, North Carolina’s hottest hot spots. As a Kernersville native, I’ve been to Vintage Jane many times, almost always finding a unique treasure for my collection, and being inspired to create something for myself.
I spoke with Kresha and Michelle, the current owners of Vintage Jane, about how it all began, their community of artists and vendors, and what we can expect from them in the future.
Hand/Eye: How did it all start?
Vintage Jane: Vintage Jane started as the next logical step for a group of six creatives. We had all run out of space in our homes to house our projects. We rented space from time to time and hosted sales of handmade and upcycled products and we all loved creating environment. When we found our tiny space in downtown K-ville we decided to set up our Vintage Jane concept as a seasonal store and re-evaluate after Christmas. We had no idea people would respond the way that they have.
H/E: Who can contribute to the shop?
VJ: We interview local artists. We look for people who fit our concept, our culture and our chemistry. When we find someone who is a good match we invite them to sell in the shop. Once you have been invited to be one of our artists you have a lot of freedom to explore different product lines. We ask our artists to treat the shop as if it is their own. For a lot of women it’s a dream to own your own boutique. Our concept makes the “dream” affordable and doable for our artists.
H/E: How often are new items added?
VJ: New items are added daily. Seriously, we have 14 artists total and they bring new items just about every day. We also post photos online every Wednesday night around 9pm. This gives clients an overview of new product and gives our Facebook followers an opportunity to be the first in line for our most fabulous finds and creations.
H/E: Do the vendors have any art background (High School, College, etc)?
VJ: Some do, some don’t. It’s a great mix of people and talent.
H/E: About how many visitors do you get a month?
VJ: It depends on the month. We have a steady stream of “Jane Groupies” and we constantly have new people stop in who say “My friend told me I had to come visit your shop!”
H/E: I know you’ve opened some new rooms in the shop since I started visiting. Any more plans to expand? More rooms/more locations?
VJ: Are you kidding me? We have plans for world domination! We will expand as we are able in our current location as space comes available. We have plans to open another Jane location this fall in Downtown Burlington. More details to come.
H/E: Tips for aspiring artists and business owners?
VJ: Aspiring Artist – God bless you! Being an artist of any kind is an emotional journey. Don’t give up and create the kind of art that inspires people around you! Aspiring Business Owners – Opening a business is hard and everything will take longer than you want it to. But it is the best job you will ever have if you use wisdom and take the journey with people you trust.
H/E: Shout out to the readers of Hand/Eye!
VJ: Absolutely! Thanks for reading and if you come to the shop this week and mention this blog we have a Jane Freebie for you!
You hear that? A freebie! The perks of being a Hand/Eye enthusiast.
I highly recommend visiting Vintage Jane. You have an excellent opportunity to support local artists AND be inspired by their success. Who knows, maybe you could be a Jane one day!
Say hello to the current owners of Vintage Jane!
A look at some, but certainly not all, of what you may find in the shop: