Hello to all of our buds in blog-land. Better late than never, we are finally starting an official Soul-Flower Blog. So much of our day-to-day work involves talking with customers and hearing your stories, we thought we should take a little time to share some of our stories with you. Our blog will create another way to connect to you (our customers and friends), as well as a place to share more about Soul-Flower and the things we care about and take an interest in.
So, to start it all off, here is Soul-Flower’s birth story:
Mike & I both were working in the corporate world when we made a decision to start our own company. We liked our jobs, but were far from getting the most out of life when most of our waking hours were spent in front of our computer screens, coding in my case, selling in mike’s case. We thought, hey, let’s figure out a way to make a living out of what we love most. And what we loved most always came back to the music. We have been festival goers for years, starting with the Grateful Dead (various shows/tours from ’85-’93), then NO Jazz Festival, Horde Fest, and many regional gatherings. We had a couple of friends with a classic hippie shop in Iowa City, The Peaceful Fool, and they were kind enuf to give us tips and ideas on opening a store. Owning our own business was nothing we had done before, but we had the love and commitment to create what became Soul-Flower. With positive attitudes, a little capital, and alot of sweat equity we started off on our own ‘long, strange trip’…
We opened the doors (in october 1999) to our 1000 square foot shop on Grand Avenue in St Paul, MN. It was a little boutique full of Hippie duds, Jam Band T-Shirts, Posters, Stickers, Patches, and lots of other cool threads. We relied on the many college students in the area, and of course there were good days and bad days, but looking back it was a blast – especially getting to know the students and locals in the community. Folks like Mike M-our local Grateful Dead statistician who could name a dead show in just a few notes of Jerry’s guitar; Carl-the guitar playing, bike-riding minimalist who would stop by daily to just say hello; Katelyn – the baby and now young girl whose mama owned the Thai restaurant next door (Pad Thai Cafe – one of the best Thai restaurants in St.Paul); all the SPA students who would visit after school each day; the list goes on…we had just a few employees – most of whom we are still in touch with, and some that are still working with us 🙂 We were also getting our name out in the midwest scene by vending various festivals and events – something that we finally have given up as our own Soul-flower family (Siera and Cody) grows.
Now fast forward 9 years and we’ve transformed from a brick and mortar boutique into an online boutique. Soul-flower
still resides in St.Paul, but now we work from the second floor of an old warehouse that has been funked up to suit the laid back and fun attitude of the team. Oh, and somewhere along this trip we decided to start printing a mail order catalog, which has been an absolute blast. So 9 catalogs later here we are, in front of our computers again…only now it is all good. I think that Soul-Flower, much like a child, has grown into it’s own entity – we created her but she has become her own, independent, growing experiment.
So now, Soul-Flower is a catalog and online store, a bit different from the original boutique – but we are more passionate and committed than ever to continue creating the same friendly, community-related atmosphere online that we had at our shop. It can be a tough act – i.e., personalizing the internet – but we believe the littlest things make a big difference. A thoughtful product (from concept to existence), a pleasant phone call, an extra note (and occasional random gift) in your package, a thank you to our customers. Our company has always been defined by the Golden Rule – treat others as you would like to be treated and everything else will be fine. When you’re happy, we’re happy.
So here’s to learning, loving and growing.
Enjoy the blog.
Your Buds (Peggy, Mike, Chad, Jenn & Joe)