The Alimond Show

Kimberly Harris - Founder/Designer/Owner of A New View

July 16, 2024 Alimond Studio
The Alimond Show
Kimberly Harris - Founder/Designer/Owner of A New View
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Have you ever felt the thrill of turning a simple idea into a reality that fills your life with passion and purpose? Kimberly has, and she's here to ignite that spark in you. From a two-car garage to a bustling home decor store in Ashburn, Virginia, her story is a tapestry of ingenuity and determination. As she peels back the curtain on her journey of leaving the corporate world behind, you'll find yourself enraptured by her transformation of ordinary items into extraordinary treasures. Her hands-on approach and one-woman show to creating, buying, and staging is more than just a business model—it's a testament to the power of following one's artistic vision.

Journey with us through the enchanting, sometimes chaotic, world of holiday retail where Kimberly weaves her magic. The store, aptly named 'A New View,' becomes a canvas for her creativity, especially during the Christmas season. She manages to blend professional triumphs with the warmth of her personal life, ensuring that neither is left untended. The innovative 'sip and shops' she hosts not only redefine the shopping experience but also serve as a gateway to giving back to the community. This segment is a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit and the delicate art of balancing work with life's other precious moments.

In the final act of our conversation, we uncover the subtle yet impactful role of scent in creating a memorable shopping experience. Kimberly's strategy of matching fragrances to rooms is just one piece of her larger philosophy on personalization in retail. Her story is an inspiring reminder that taking risks, believing in yourself, and connecting with customers on a personal level can be the catalysts for success in business and beyond. Embark on this sensory journey and let Kimberly's unwavering belief in herself and her craft inspire you to take your own leap of faith.

Speaker 1:

All right, so tell me a little bit about yourself. First of all, Kimberly, thank you for coming in. Problem. Yeah, tell me about your business. What do you do?

Speaker 2:

I have a small store in Ashburn, virginia, which is located on the old portion of Ashburn, right across the street from Carolina Brothers Barbecue. I actually started the business a long time ago in my two-car garage. I had to convince myself and my husband say how can I make some money outside of corporate America? I've always been handy and I figured, okay, I want to redo and restore things and refurbish and kind of like get my hands dirty and see what I can do. So in being in the two-car garage I would open it up maybe every other month and then I had a flow of women coming in and buying like crazy.

Speaker 2:

Wow, yes which was a great thing. Random people were like hey, I would advertise and I would just see what happened. And there would be a lot of women to the point where we're like, if you need anything, let me help, because I was afraid that things were going to fall off. It was crazy and we would sell out. Oh my god. And I was like I'm on to something here.

Speaker 1:

Sounds like it.

Speaker 2:

I even remember one time my husband opened the garage door from the house. He shut it really fast. I was so scared like what is going on out there. So anyway, I was like this could be bigger. So I pounded on a lot of doors and a lot of places to see what can I do? Where can I actually make a small business like this that is more commercial? Yeah, so I finally found an Ashburn, this old barn which was called the old mill furniture a long time ago, and it's a historic site. I decided to renovate that a little bit and to open up. We were there about two and a half years and now I moved across the street.

Speaker 2:

Okay, not too far Not too far at all to a place that used to be the old Weller building, where they used to sell old tile.

Speaker 1:

And were you looking for that type of look? Is it like more rustic?

Speaker 2:

It's more rustic and I wanted something to feel like it's home when you walk in. So I didn't want to be in a commercial mall or somewhere because it's not my thing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, I feel like that wouldn't have the feel for a type of home decor that you correct with your style? Have you always been into creating stuff like how did that start?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I always have. I'm self taught. I learned a lot from mom and dad.

Speaker 1:

Wow, no, you too, Mom and dad yeah exactly.

Speaker 2:

However, I do still refer to you to when you need to learn something that you haven't done before. My dad was very handy, so I learned a lot from him. I watched and he I watched what he did and I grew from that. The biggest thing he taught me was don't be afraid to take a risk. What do you have to lose? So I've always kept that Mom. She taught me how to shop flea market, flea market, garage sales, you name it and I took all that stuff and I figure out how to find things that were lower cost and what can I do with these to make them different than anybody else out there.

Speaker 1:

Like unique pieces.

Speaker 2:

Correct, one of a kinds, and go from there, and that's what I did.

Speaker 1:

And you restore or just take one thing and make it a completely exactly.

Speaker 2:

It could be something from a little trinket trinket something all the way up to furniture, wall decor, you name it.

Speaker 1:

Okay, and now in your new location combined with the old location. How long have you guys been open as a business?

Speaker 2:

and the garage, and the garage too, yes, so I believe it's over eight some years. Okay, that's a lot, yes, and I'm a one woman show.

Speaker 1:

So does that mean, you don't have?

Speaker 2:

I have employees, but my employees run the register. I'm helping me move my furniture, so I'm going the road with me, but as far as making buying, staging, all of that is me.

Speaker 1:

Oh my gosh.

Speaker 2:

One woman show.

Speaker 1:

Have you thought about getting some help on that hand, or do you want to keep it?

Speaker 2:

just Right now I would like to keep it myself because it's my vision, my creations, and when you walk into the store it's a flow, so you can tell everything is kind of made matches and it just it works yeah you're very artistic, right Like you don't want your vision to be touched with.

Speaker 1:

You want your, this is your work.

Speaker 2:

Correct, that's what being an artist is, and I believe that's kind of one of my niches. And the cool thing about a new view is that when you walk into the store one woman did that that's shocking. It's shocking. And when people realize that, it blows their mind away Because it's a small store but it is filled from the floor all the way to the ceiling.

Speaker 1:

And it's been open for eight years. So clearly something is.

Speaker 2:

Correct, yeah, and I will take things that people don't even imagine and build them into just beautiful pieces, in my opinion. I mean, one of probably my favorite pieces I ever did was I had bought a beautiful, probably 32-inch tall cement pot, okay, okay, and I envisioned it to be a kitchen table.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's kind of crazy.

Speaker 2:

So what I did was I found a beautiful butcher block around. I flipped over, I drilled holes into the cement pot and I stained the, I attached it and it was beautiful.

Speaker 1:

I would have never guessed that you'd get all like nitty-gritty like that.

Speaker 2:

Oh, no, no, no, I'm looking clean today.

Speaker 1:

Well, you know what I mean. You just look so Well thank you, tainted Let me be behind my computer yeah.

Speaker 2:

No, no, nothing like that. I am dirty and get down to it. In fact, it's almost embarrassing, by the time I'm done with my days, that if someone sees me, I'm like my furniture looks a lot better than I do because I look like I'm an ass. Okay, yeah, but no, I get down and dirty with it.

Speaker 1:

Good, yeah, how do you find work-life balance Since you're a one-woman show? How do you balance that husband pain? It's hard.

Speaker 2:

It's not an easy thing to do. But I also get up between midnight and one in the morning and I work throughout the night, no interruptions. My family's sleeping and I work. I get up, I do what I need to do. Typically I work through Christmas. I produce Christmas as insane at the store. So I get started working about two in the morning. I develop Christmas centerpieces. Two in the morning, oh yeah, between midnight and two in the morning. I work throughout the night and then I stop and then about six, seven o'clock in the morning. Then I get set to go to the store. I close the store up at five o'clock. I get to spend the evening with family because typically they're working and they're at school, they're doing their thing. So at five o'clock I'm mom.

Speaker 1:

I know you mentioned you're not home as much. Yes, I'm glad you had mentioned that you're going to be taking it easy for the holidays. Absolutely so. I'm happy that you get to be with family and relax Me too.

Speaker 2:

Exactly yes, yeah, and we are only open Thursday through Sunday. So I have Monday, tuesday and Wednesday that I'm a little bit more flex with the family, which is good. I still on the road, still producing, doing what I need to, but I do cut my days a lot shorter to spend with family those days.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and then an interesting thing that I read about your shop, your home decor shop, is that you guys offer like a little service where it's always called shop and wine. We do a lot of things, okay, a lot of fun things.

Speaker 2:

Yes, sip and shops. Sip and shops. Thank you.

Speaker 2:

Sip and shops. Yes, what I love to do is there's a lot of people that love to get together with their friends and families, so what we do is that you can reserve the store after hours, from about we start around six to seven o'clock and then that can be reserved for two hours or so where I'm there to help you, stage or whatever, and then you have questions and we just have fun. That's what it is. The store is supposed to be about fun. You walk in. I want people to feel like they can take off their shoes, enjoy themselves, and that's it.

Speaker 1:

And have some wine, exactly, yeah, nothing better than that, right.

Speaker 2:

Exactly.

Speaker 1:

What inspired that I don't know?

Speaker 2:

I guess we were trying to think how can we always increase business? And I always have learned that you need to be creative and think outside the box. So those are one of the things that we implemented to say, okay, that boosts sales after hours, but then we also offer just a deposit down on that. The customers bring in their wine, but then we're there to help and just to kind of kick back and enjoy, because even since COVID we've learned that things become more expensive. But isn't it nice to have your group of friends around? Like an experience too, right? Yes, an experience, but yet you don't have to clean it up either. No, we do that. Hi, yeah, nice, it's nice. And we've also offered that to local thrift stores where we're getting ready to do sip and shops, which is also a silent auction, so that way we give back to the community and feed the hungry and stuff like that. So, children in Lallin County, anyway, that we can do, to do partnerships and to help and to make things fun and like.

Speaker 1:

I always love when people always look outside themselves and think of like others. You know it's always like not that there's anything wrong with it, but it's always just so nice to see when people want to give and help others.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely, that's always just so nice.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely yeah. Another great thing that I read about your shop and tell me the name of it again A new view.

Speaker 2:

A new view. That was a very hard name to come up with. It took me a long time, almost, I think, two years Okay yeah, was it called anything else before? You? No, not really, I just never just couldn't grasp it what I wanted it. But then when I came up with it I'm like that's gotta be it, because everything, not everything. Some things get wholesale, then things like that in the store, but not a lot of it. I give things a new view.

Speaker 1:

That's perfect. Yeah, you literally take something and it's complete granularized to it.

Speaker 2:

Yes, tweaked or something to the my spin, how I like things, or whatever.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and you also have a signature scent, yeah, in your store Every season, oh, every, that's not just like the one iconic one?

Speaker 2:

No, we do. We have one that we love that's throughout the year. And then I also brought on about four to five other scents other than that that we just love. So when you walk into the store, you will smell that signature scent. Okay, I have one for the fall and I have one for the Christmas time as well, but we have more of like a coconut warm smell. Oh, I love coconut. Which is all our signature scents for every day is based off of a room in the house.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so like based on like what furniture is it? Like it's a sweetie, yeah, or what it smells.

Speaker 2:

So our signature scent, the main one, is the sunroom. Okay, so that's that coconut warm fill.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm.

Speaker 2:

The cozy homey, exactly, but we've got one that's the porch, the garden, the study, the den. So each one kind of laundry room. So you can just imagine like you're gonna smell more of a coconut. I'm not. I'm sorry. Cotton smell for laundry.

Speaker 1:

Yes, nice linen smell.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Do you find that it is important to incorporate fragrance in your shop? Do you feel like?

Speaker 2:

Oh, I do. I think it's important to create a scent, every scent, from the minute you walk, even outside. I want to capture every, every someone. Is it not a scent? But Essence. Yes, so at Christmas time there's a pit fire that is burning outside. So, whether it is warm or cold, I want people to feel that warmth and the smell, kind of before they get hit with what's going to hit you.

Speaker 1:

A flush of memory senses Correct, exactly.

Speaker 2:

So yes, all the senses. That's what I try to try. Yes, whether it's the eye candy, which is what I produce, or the smell, the warmth, even when it comes down to us as staff, we will always greet you, we will always welcome you and we will always help you with questions and help you. I mean, that is just the bottom line. I love that. We want you to feel like you're at home again.

Speaker 1:

I love stores that are like that because it makes you feel like you know. Sometimes you go into stores and you feel like you're bothering them. It's cold, I'll just love it.

Speaker 2:

Yes, no, yes.

Speaker 1:

And then, like human connection Correct People are kind and actually want to help you. Yes, I think that's going to make you stand out, yeah.

Speaker 2:

And one of the things that I think is important too is when you come to the store and you need help, I want to see pictures, close and far, of the room that you're doing. I'm not going when you ask me a question, I'm not just going to tell you what I think I want to know about you. I want to know where it's going, I want to know the colors. I want to know about that and more about everything, even about you. I'm not going to get into life history, but I kind of want to know. So then then we will go ahead and start staging, because it's about your haven. So I want you to build something that you're going to be proud of and mean something to you. So that's important to me, and we will actually take a spot in the store and create what we're trying to recreate in your home.

Speaker 1:

Oh my gosh, like for you, like so that you can help them envision right. Is that what you mean?

Speaker 2:

Correct, that's right. And then, when we're done with it, I want them to take a picture and then take it home and do it and have fun with it. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

That's awesome. Not a lot of people do that. They're just like here. No, it's important. Yeah, this is in your living room, right?

Speaker 2:

No, and it's not about me. I'm not living there. It's about you and what you want your home to be. But it's also important for me to understand a little bit about what you're creating. Like again, I'm not going to know about your family history, but sometimes people will be like you know my grandfather did this. Well then, why don't we put a little bit of your grandfather in there?

Speaker 1:

Into that yeah.

Speaker 2:

And he went to Still Mill, worked at it. So did my grandfather. So in my house is one of those old tin milk not milk, but I'm sorry, the lunch boxes, right?

Speaker 1:

I know what you're talking about.

Speaker 2:

Yes, Okay, that's in there. So when I see it, I think of dad and my grandfather.

Speaker 1:

Those personal touches Right.

Speaker 2:

And that's what makes a home Absolutely. It's bringing things like that. It's just not all the fanciness and the glitz and the glam and stuff. So that's what I like to do. Okay, it's about your story.

Speaker 1:

It's beautiful. Have you had any like trials or tribulations with as far as like employees, staffing, anything like?

Speaker 2:

that no, I'm lucky. I'm not saying I am lucky and I am a proud, proud person.

Speaker 1:

I think you're the first person maybe.

Speaker 2:

Really.

Speaker 1:

On our podcast that says that, because that's everybody's struggle.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, I am 100%. Tell us the secret. I treat them as if they're my family. I love them to death. We're best friends, we all are. We agree along and I treat people the way I wanna be treated. So they always say to me you're an owner, kim, you don't need to always say please and no, no, I do, and I need to say thank you and I'm gonna ask you if it's okay, because I want to be treated like that. So I will always treat stuff They've been with me for a long time, wow, and most of my stuff. This is their second job.

Speaker 1:

Oh my gosh, so they haven't even been through.

Speaker 2:

It's do or die, and I know they have my back and I have theirs. Oh my gosh. Yeah, I'm very, very fortunate, that's so cute.

Speaker 1:

That's so pretty, I don't know. That's great.

Speaker 2:

Now I'm lucky, you really are.

Speaker 1:

No, seriously, maybe if you listen to the podcast and see you that's like the number one struggle. So that's, that's really how did you find those employees, like, how do you know, or how, how did you decipher them, or how, how did you get lucky? Word of mouth, word of mouth okay.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, when I first started out I had a lot of high schoolers and you kind of learned from that and you know. But now I have a. You know it's just beautiful women that we kind of support each other and, yeah, it's a family.

Speaker 1:

That's great, that is really awesome. I just I just feel like sitting with that because, seriously, when we hear and ask people, they're not so lucky. And then when the pandemic came, I think it was a little bit harder for some people. People were like leaving or they had to cut out Mind states.

Speaker 2:

Oh my gosh.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, I was like I was like.

Speaker 2:

I was like I'm not going to close and someone we were just trying to sell online, which is very hard for what I do, but we were all still there, had each other's back.

Speaker 1:

Can you tell me about that process with navigating through COVID with your shop and moving to online?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, which is still not online. We don't sell a thing online. We do have a website, we're on social media and all that good stuff, but we did have to shoot a lot of videos and put a lot of things on social social media and things to keep revenue coming in. Yes, top of mind, yes, so that was kind of learning navigating. But you take a kitchen table To me. I'm not an online shopper. I need to see, feel and all that kind of understand colors.

Speaker 1:

But it got us through You're very sense, a sense person.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you gotta be kind of. I think you need to be hands on and kind of see what you know. I'm not an online shopper at all, but it worked. It got us through, which was awesome, good, good, thank goodness.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, do you plan on, because I know you said you don't sell online. Do you plan?

Speaker 2:

too, or is that no, no, no, no, because maybe those employees may complain about this a little bit, but because we're so one-offs, we have to put all that individually in the inventory.

Speaker 1:

That is a lot of work.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and to do that online is almost impossible. We may get two pillows that match, but we will never get those pillows again, no. So when you come into the store, it is a new view. Whether it's every if something leaves a furniture, we're gonna flip that store right then and there, and it typically gets flipped every week. So when you walk in there, it is a new view.

Speaker 1:

Holy moly, yeah, how do you keep up with all those new things? Or like, how do you come up with the ideas in your head to make it something new, like what? Like, okay, here's a cement block. Like, what am I gonna do today? I'm gonna make it up.

Speaker 2:

It's a vision. We all have our things, you know. We all have our specialties and what we're good at. It's just one thing that I can do. I can see something and I can envision it's like that. But you put me in the middle of DC. I'm not gonna find my home. It's just that's just the way. Yes, and we all have our specialties. That just happens to be mine. The downfall of it is is, on my mind, never shuts off. It's constantly going, so it never rests. So that would be the downfall. But other than that, I can see something and I know how I'm gonna take it.

Speaker 1:

That's amazing. You really are a visionary and I will persevere till it's done. Amazing. Yeah, that's the way to do it. You gotta get it done right.

Speaker 2:

You do, and then I also. I make sure that I have enough backup and enough things that is ready to go.

Speaker 1:

Good, yeah, cause, if these flies out of the shelf, I'm ready. Let's put this ready.

Speaker 2:

I will never, ever have anyone say that Kim is overpicked or whatever. No, that does not happen. That's a good no and for one woman, I'm proud of that.

Speaker 1:

You should be. That's not an easy thing.

Speaker 2:

No, it's not.

Speaker 1:

I'm putting this day and age too. No, yeah, and the fact that you still want to, like you know, be your only one that look after you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, just don't overwork yourself either. I try not to Take them go to the spa, get them back. Christmas is probably the hardest. It's insane. It is one of I will say. I'm proud of this too, but Christmas will take. When you walk through my doors it will. You won't feel like you are a kid.

Speaker 1:

I need to go visit. I'm going to.

Speaker 2:

It is absolutely stunning and everything being handmade is just it's breathtaking.

Speaker 1:

Beautiful, yeah, and do you have any words of wisdom that you would like to leave for our audience? Any advice, anything at all.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think I have to go back to what my dad said Take a risk. What do you have to lose, which is huge. I don't care how big or small the project is, you know. Just always think of that. I don't know how many times people come into the store and go. So I can't do that. Yeah, you can. You can own it, own it, believe in yourself and do it. You have nothing to lose. And that's probably what I would say. That's a good one. And then just believe in your dreams. It can happen.

Speaker 1:

You're right, but it's taking that first step that sometimes it's like what if I fail and you don't do it?

Speaker 2:

You won't know.

Speaker 1:

Gotta take that risk.

Speaker 2:

You won't know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah Well, thank you so much. Can really feel the people on the podcast. Thank you, it was such a pleasure and I can see all the passion in your eyes and your voice. Thank you, yeah, no.

Creating a Successful Business Journey
Christmas Work and Sip & Shop
Creating Signature Scent and Personalized Decor
Taking Risks and Believing in Yourself