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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Interview with the Gypsy, herself!

Ok so here is the long awaited interview with the owner of The Opal Gypsy, Shanda Sillings-Roderick! Sorry it took me so long to post this. My computer was being worked on by Awesome Guy's best friend. And I am sooooooo glad to have it back! So here we go...

Me: Tell me about yourself
Shanda: Well, Let's see, I'm 42. I'm a mother of 4. My youngest one died 8 years ago, in a house fire (and I'll explain more about that later, but part of my business is going to help people who have been devastated and displaced from house fires.) I've got two daughters, almost 26 and 23, and my son is 13, and my youngest would have been 11. I was born in Louisville, raised in New Albany and I just got back here 2 years ago.
Me: Oh wow. Where did you go?
Shanda: Quite a few different places, Kansas, Illinois, and back to here. My background is in interior design and art.
Me: That is apparent. Well that's very interesting. Ok, now tell me about your business.
Shanda: It's called The Opal Gypsy. Opal was my grandmother, and I was her little gypsy, and from the time I could walk, she was always taking me to garage sales, flea markets, antiques stores, barns... and we would always find treasures. You know, "one man's junk is another man's treasure...?" and she would turn them into these remarkable, beautiful pieces. And that's how the name came about. And in her era, they reused everything, they didn't waste anything. They repurposed and recycled everything, because they had to to survive. Now it's in style to do it, it's the green movement, but our ancestors have been doing it since the beginning of time, because they had to, and so that was a huge influence. So I love to redo and repurpose furniture. It's always been my dream to own my own store.
Me: So what got you interested in actually owning a store, and not just having a presence on Etsy or places like that?
Shanda: I don't know. It's just sort of something I've always wanted to do, and my house was never big enough for me to store everything I found. And I just like the idea of having a store and being able to offer this to the people. And, also, to help local artists, and giving them a platform to sell.
Me: How did you get your start?
Shanda: I saw Dave Thrasher at the farmer's market and saw that the bookstore was going out of business, and I had been kind of looking, not actively, but putting it together in my head, and I saw they were moving out, of course, I wasn't ready yet, but I just couldn't pass up the great deal and the location.
Me: What a big risk. In your industry, the market is always changing...
Shanda: Yes, and I've always kind of had a good eye for what people want and what is going to sell, that's why I always try to keep new stuff coming in everyday. You just never know what the Gypsy is going to bring in... My vintage items have been selling like crazy.
Me: What did you start with?
Shanda: A storage shed full of stuff and vintage finds that I've been collecting over the years. I mean, I had to spend a little money getting clothes and some accessories in, but I've spent minimally. I bought a 5 gallon thing of mud and a couple gallons of paint and the rest is all repurposed. Like, that wall, it's recycled grocery bags. It's peg board, and it's ugly, so I wallpapered grocery bags to it. All this wood came from an old farm house. And I got spools from one of the local antique malls to use to hang clothes on. The only thing I really had to buy was this hanging system. We had to get brackets to make sure it was something really secure for clothes. Pretty much everything in here, I've either gotten really cheap at flea markets, or I made it myself. That's the whole purpose of my store is reusing. I wanted to make sure all of my fixtures and displays were reused. I didn't want to go out and buy brand new because it goes against the whole purpose of my store, and in honor of my grandmother and how she lived.
Me: Where do you see your business in the next year?
Shanda: I see it being very successful. People are still getting to know us. We are only 2 months old, and hopefully by next year I will be able to carry full lines of clothes. And Tom's shoes. I'm trying to find new companies that give back. I try to carry things that are moderately priced, and a lot of those places are more high-end. I have to consider my price point, and my market. I don't want to out price my customers.
Me: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Shanda: 5 years... I'd like to have a bigger building, but I've noticed sometimes when smaller businesses get too big too fast, they don't do as well. So, I'd like to keep it small, and maybe find what people like, and maybe offer some services. I'd like to have a closer storage unit, so I can have a surplus of furniture.
Me: What do you want for New Albany?
Shanda: It's going in the right direction. I'd like to see Main Street built up better, and I'd like to see State Street cleaned up. It's just so trashy. I'd like to see it built up in ownership. I'd like to see more people that care about what it looks like.
Me: What did you want to be when you were a little girl?
Shanda: Fashion designer or interior design.
Me: What, as a mom, is your favorite go to meal?
Shanda: Vegetable soup or grilled cheese. I use shredded cheese, not processed cheese.

I didn't have time to take my own pictures because I've been kind of busy, and wanted to hurry up and post this because I felt so bad for taking so long. But I DID steal some from their Facebook page.
Here is some lovely turquoise jewelry. I love the way the earrings are displayed!

These clocks are made by a local artist here in New Albany. The one on the bottom is called a "flitter bug". Both clocks are made from reused vintage or antique items.

I am a huge fan of locally made soaps! 
These owl necklaces are just too cute

Pashmina scarves in a variety of colors.

1 comment:

  1. This is yet another store your going to have to take me too :)