The Monroe 816 Story
I've always had compelling desire to do something bigger with my life as far as my career was concerned. Becoming a mother of two boys at a young age, I had no choice other than to work two jobs. My second job was always something that allowed me to utilize my creative abilities, but work from home so I didn’t have to spend additional time away from my boys. I dabbled in photography for many years, and grew my photography business while pursuing my professional career and moving up the corporate ladder as a sales manager. I had also played around with painting furniture for my own home long before I even knew it was the cool thing to do.
My friend who owns a restored furniture store in our small town had noticed that I was flipping furniture and invited me to have a booth at the local festival she was hosting. I had a couple pieces that I had recently completed so I took a chance and set up a booth to promote my “hobbies”. I sold out of furniture that first show and decided to do a monthly event the rest of the year. I sold a LOT of furniture, some much that I had to start doing the work out of my husband's construction company building rather than my back patio. This is where Monroe 816 began. I then decided to rent a booth at a local flea market as well as a booth in the Kansas City’s West Bottoms.
While my career as a sales manager was financially rewarding, something was always missing. After much hesitation, prayer, and my family telling me they believed in me, I received a HUGE nudge from GOD and my sweet Momma, which convinced me to walk away from my “big girl job” in May of 2017. To say I was scared is an understatement! I was letting go of comfortable, both financially as well as professionally. I didn’t have a plan. And for the defined Type A personality, that’s very unconventional. I didn’t have a huge savings. But what I did have was determination and work ethic and a desire to do something I could call my own. I took a huge leap of faith and made the jump to grow this business into something big and I’ve never looked back.
In November of 2017, my husband needed to insulate his workshop and do some work to it that required me to temporarily move all my stuff out. At that exact time a building on the downtown square had just become vacant. I knew about it, but was incredibly reluctant to even look at it because I felt there was NO way I could afford to rent my own building. My Mom convinced me that it wouldn’t hurt to look at the building, and together we were in awe of how perfect it really was. My own workshop, an area to store my project pieces, a separate paint room, and a store front. Prior to this, I had no intention of having a brick and mortar and was busy enough keeping two flea market booths and a few pop up events stocked. We immediately moved in and got busy working. I soon realized this was not a temporary move. I also knew that I couldn’t live with the building as it was and some serious TLC was applied. So the renovation began and then the NEXT thing you know.....I have a retail store!!!
In less than a year from the day I quit my 8-5, as I used to call it, I was running a boutique, had added interior decorating services, workshops and DIY classes, and brought in local vendors. My vision has been to stand out, do something different, and create an experience for visitors in the store.
At Monroe 816 our tagline is “live beautifully”. This means more to me than just putting beautiful furniture and décor in your home. It means being real, doing more of what you love, and living a beautiful life. A life where you work hard, play hard, cherish family and friends, and community. A life where it’s ok to be you and let people see you as you are, not as something you are pretending to be. A life where you help others, because so may have helped you.
For me, one of the most rewarding parts of taking this leap of faith, is seeing the reaction of a customer who walks in the store for the first time. Some don’t even say anything, they just take a deep breath and smile like they just walked into something they love or feel so comfortable in, they just want to kick off their shoes and stay awhile. I’ve actually had customers ask, “Can I just live here?” No matter where this journey takes me, I’m grateful for every second. I hope you get to experience Monroe 816 soon so I can share mine with you and play a small part in helping you “live beautifully.”