We discovered &Home quite accidentally. We were in the neighborhood to visit a candy shop (shout out to Black River Candy Shoppe!) and Vicki spied this place from across the parking lot. The cute Little Free Library right outside their door is a great way to draw people in! We went inside and were greeted very warmly by Liz. A bright, sunny, spacious store, it truly celebrates artisans and their crafts and we spent our time ooohing and aaahing at every item they carry, and didn’t leave empty handed (natch!). Let’s get to know Liz and how &Home got started!
What is your business?
&home – we are a retail store featuring handmade work from artists across the country. Half of the work we carry is local to Morris and Hunterdon County.
What was the inspiration behind starting your business? How did you become an entrepreneur?
We value handmade work, and the skill of artists. We wanted to be able to provide handmade work to our customers year round in a central location.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow your business?
We are constantly looking for (or make) new work, look for new new artists, and follow new trends. We like to keep the art in our store moving and different to keep it interesting for the customer.
What are your success habits?
Listening to our customers. Also sticking to our business’ values no matter what.
What has been your biggest failure in business and what did it teach you?
I am a terrible product photographer. It taught me to reach out to others for help when you need it.
What drives you on the most challenging days?
We are in it for the long haul. Sometimes days are hard, but we try to not lose sight of the bigger picture. The creative process is a challenging one – not all days are full of success, but always being curious and open minded to challenges helps us move forward.
How do you define success?
Making a positive impact on the community, and being able to give back.
What is next for your business?
We want to start hosting meet and greet events with out artists in store. We want to host pop ups for other small businesses and engage with the community on a more personal level.
What is one piece of advice you’d give someone considering starting their own business?
Make friends with your neighbors! We are surrounded by amazing small businesses and they have helped us navigate this new journey. They’ve been through it too, they have shared invaluable advise with us.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
I would still be working as an ASL interpreter.
What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome on the road to having your own business?
Leaving a full time job to open a business in the middle of a pandemic has been a wild ride. Doing it while everyone around us though we were crazy was an obstacle for sure, but we’ve never been people to shy away from taking leaps.
What do you struggle with most as an entrepreneur?
Balance. I make all the ceramics sold in store – finding time to work in the studio, run a business, and have a social life has been a challenge.
What is the single most important reason for your success?
Our partnerships. We’ve partnered with some amazing artists who are experts in their craft, we would not be here without them.