It only took a year, but I finally got business cards for Gather, and I’m really loving them! I created the dogwood pattern specifically for using at Gather in branding, and I have it in various spots throughout the shop, including wallpaper. The dogwood is the state flower of both North Carolina where I’ve lived now for almost thirteen years, and also of Virginia where I grew up. I’ve used dogwoods in logo designs for other companies (I was a graphic/web designer for ten years) and throughout my own various business incarnations too: in my first product designs and in the logo of indieNC, the blog and shop I ran prior to my business evolving to where it is now. And I planted a dogwood tree when my daughter was born in our backyard to celebrate the occasion. The tree and its flower are special to me and I like that it is infuses my various endeavors with symbolism and heart.
I really love these copper belt buckles that just came into Gather this week. They are made by a lady who lives a few streets down from Gather. She is a lifelong fine arts crafter, having attended dozens of classes at the John C. Cambell Folk School. I hope to one day be able to attend a week-long retreat there or at Penland. Both spots are dedicated to teaching fine art & homesteading skills in rural mountain settings and have rich histories.
These mugs are super cute. Who can resist shiny gold pretzels and a grumpy cat with a shiny gold bow tie? I mean come on. These are filled with drinks from Gather’s in-house coffee shop. I brought the coffee shop in-house early last year and it is another element that I manage and run at Gather alongside the gift shop, classes, and coworking. The skills I gained in my teens from working retail, waitressing and schleping coffee are paying off! It’s fun to concoct new recipes too.
It’s so satisfying to see something you’ve been planning for a very long time come to fruition. I had been planning a second area of merchandise for the shop but have limited space at Gather to work with and a very scrappy bootstrapped budget. I imagined a wall of shelves that looked like built-ins in my head. I was confident they would look good but you never really know when the idea lives solely in your head. My husband and I got around to putting them up a month or two ago and they are rapidly filling with great gift products – including my favorite thing of all: books!
With the expanded inventory I am adding in more maker made products from outside the region, but still about 95% of the goods are from North Carolina designers – and most of those goods come from the Triangle. I am very passionate about maker entrepreneurs, especially ones here in North Carolina and helping them find more channels for success. I find that here in the Triangle especially, the desire to become an entrepreneur and the amount of new business owners is at an all time high.
I am fascinated by the seemingly sudden public awareness of both business ownership and the maker movement, when it has been something that has been steadily chugging along and gaining momentum for quite a while, and something that I have been advocating for, for a decade now. That said, I still think that there is an over abundance of focus on young, male, tech-centric start-ups seeking venture capital funding and I get a little tired of hearing that story broadcasted loudly. My hope is that Gather draws attention to other, equally impactful, business owners who have a different style of both work and way of working, and different needs to reach their own business milestones and resources to get there that aren’t readily available. So far, I think Gather is filling a much needed niche and it’s a gratifying (if not challenging) endeavor for me too.