"I think I was born to do this," says newly minted shop owner, Caren Forbes.
Although this is her first foray into retailing, she says she realized that opening her eponymous store at 111 Main Street, just upstairs from and , was something that, in many ways, she had been preparing for for many years.
As she explained to Patch, she has always loved searching out that unique object, the diamond in the rough, the piece with potential.
At the age of fifteen, in order to satisfy her desire to buy her own clothes, she went to work. Earning her own money, she was able to indulge her passion and develop her eye.
Over the years she honed her taste and came to recognize that, although she might not be able to create a caftan or bracelet, she did have a talent for curating; for selecting well-made, beautiful pieces that she loved, and that others did too.
She admits, as any new business entrepreneur will appreciate, that it took a certain amount of courage to open her store.
But, she has not done it alone. Her two daughters, both college students, have cheered her efforts from the start, and they have provided more than just moral support.
When she began to think about her business, she realized she would need a logo.
As Forbes explains, "I had asked my daughter, Caleigh — the one that attends Brown — if she knew anyone at RISD (the Rhode Island School of Design, also located in Providence), that could help me with my logo. She said one of her good friends, Alex Cohen, was graduating with a degree in graphics. Alex and I worked on the iterations between his finals, paper deadlines, school breaks and myriad other graduating senior diversions. I think he did a great job capturing the essence of me." She adds generously, "I think he is going to be someone to keep an eye on."
Her other daughter, Allie, who attends Fairfield University, has taken on the business back end, managing the office and doing the bookkeeping, something Forbes says she's very grateful for.
As for sourcing store merchandise, which includes, tops, jewelry, scarves and bags, Forbes is enjoying finding unique sources and determined to work directly with craftspeople, not middle-market suppliers.
Indian bracelets displayed on branch-like stands elicit a story about their creator. While attending a merchandising show in Chicago that was not focussed on jewelry, she found him in an out of the way corner of the market. After a conversation, she decided to not only purchase his bracelets for her store, but assisted him in finding US markets that were more suited to his product.
Rather than purchase Turkish scarves from wholesalers in the large markets of Istanbul, she has located the artisans in northern Turkey and purchased directly from them.
Coming soon, she promises bags made by a couple in Poland.