Our stockist spotlight series continues with Kristin, owner of Home Malone in New Orleans. Beginning as a furniture refinishing side-hobby in 2011, Home Malone has grown into a gorgeous, Deep South shop featuring painting classes and thoughtfully made goods from small businesses from all over the country. Kristin's heart behind her shop is so evident as she strives to not only build community surrounding her business, but support others in the process. We hope you enjoy getting an inside look into her life as much as we did!
What was your inspiration behind opening your business?
Home Malone began as a creative outlet while I was working in industrial sales. I was looking for something to combine my love of art and DIY in my spare time. The business started with furniture refinishing and evolved over the years into a retail store.
What encouragement/warning would you give to someone opening their own shop or small business?
Just like any piece of art, the more unique your creation, the more value it holds. We all draw inspiration from other stores, brands, paintings, etc. But what really helps a small businesses/artists/makers succeed is the personal touches that are unique to the owner. Offer customers something they haven't seen before.
What kind of job did you have before opening Home Malone, and did you always have dreams of opening up your own shop?
I have 10 years of experience in industrial sales, selling pipe valves and fittings to offshore suppliers and fabricators and a few years in fabrication. My mom once owned a few retail stores and my father is a business owner as well. It's in my blood to be creative and an entrepreneur. In spring 2011, I went to a local art market and something stirred in me. My heart raced and it was then that I knew I wanted to create again. My mom was diagnosed with cancer at 30, so subconsciously, in my late 20s, I was looking for a purpose in life. I'm so blessed that I'm not only doing what I LOVE to do so early in life, but that I figured out what I wanted to do. Pinpointing what you want is the hardest part.
Why is New Orleans the right home for Home Malone?
New Orleans is one of the few cities where it's okay to stand apart and not follow the trend. The more off-trend you are, the better. I believe that's why we have such a strong artists' community. There is so much opportunity to thrive here. Home Malone carries over 80 makers in our 800 sq. of retail space. The most beautiful thing to see is how every maker stands apart, but every maker's work complements one another.
What is the most rewarding thing about owning Home Malone?
The community. Not just of the artists, but of the customers who values each handcrafted piece we carry. We aren't here to just sell things. We're here to enlighten people on the process of how things are made, the time it takes to develop products, the stories of the artisans, and why products may cost a little bit more than a big box store. In turn they tell their gift-recipient and the value of handmade travels further than within the confines of our storefront.
1. Take a ride on a streetcar. It's only $1.25 and a great way to see the city. Pro-Tip: Get a to-go cup or a frozen daiquiri and enjoy sipping a drink while seeing the architecture, oak trees, and people watching.
2. Brunch at Commanders. I'm more of a pizza at home kinda gal, but there's a reason this restaurant is iconic. Top notch service and food. Walk off your meal in the surrounding Garden District neighborhood of beautiful homes and Magazine Street is a couple of blocks away for local shopping.
3. An evening at Bacchanal. It's one of those places where you'll meet locals and people from all over the world under the string lights, bottle of wine, a cheese board and live jazz music it the far corner of the Bywater.
How do you wind down after a full day at the shop?
I'm a new mom, so winding down doesn't come as often anymore. But walking in to my husband playing on the floor with our son is the greatest joy in life.
What is your favorite activity, when you turn off your shop owner switch?
Gardening. If something is bothering me or I can't figure something out, either a good run or an hour of pulling weeds and pruning plants will set me straight.
What scent makes you feel the most at peace?
Lavender, naturally. But the Vetiver + Smoke candle from Slow North is a close second!
Photos by: Amy Milam & Kristin Malone