I may live in Cincinnati, but that doesn't mean that I can't thoroughly enjoy Columbus's retail treasures - Objects for the Home, Vernacular and Cosecha. In fact, whenever I visit Carly in Columbus, both shops are on the must do list, especially when I constantly see amazing fall pieces popping-up on my instagram account. These small shops are amazing for trendy & classic fashion pieces as well as host/hostess gifts or personal pieces for entertaining. However, we wanted to know a bit more than just what was in the store. We wanted to know about the awe-inspiring owners Chelsea and Kris and what really flips their switch and makes their stores so special and enticing, so we asked them a few questions and they came up with some amazing answers!
When did you open your first store?
Kris and I opened the first Vernacular over 2 years ago in German Village at 177 E. Beck St. across the street from Lindey's. While we did already have clothing within our Objects for the Home store in Grandview, we wanted this venture to be Apparel + Gift only (as Objects had a heavy focus on furniture at the time). Since then we have turned our previous Objects for the Home space (1392 Grandview Ave) into the Vernacular Flagship store. The Grandview shop is 3 times the size and houses a Men's component, which has been really exciting for us.
Where did you get your names from?
Objects for the Home was our first. Quite frankly we were in a pinch, we were green at 'branding', and the vagueness of the name just stuck. Everyone has shortened it to Objects since. The definition of Vernacular is "the language or dialect spoken by the ordinary people in a particular country or region." We loved that the sentiment behind the word was geared towards adapting to the specifics of an area. As we expand, we feel that it's important for each new store that we pay attention to it's surroundings and adjust it's offerings to be more in line with the demand of the area. Each Vernacular will have the same brand sentiment (approachable and cost-conscious) but one location may have a higher baby component if we find more families are shopping with us, whereas another might have more Men's apparel offerings if we see more men walking through our doors.
When did you decide to expand into home, fashion & kitchen? Is one easier to buy or style for?
We have evolved quite a bit over the years. Over 5 years ago we opened Objects for the Home, which in the beginning had a focus on vintage refinished furniture. We started out having a very small amount of handmade clothing that we sourced from designers on Etsy. We began going to apparel markets around the country and slowly it began taking over more and more of the store. While Vernacular maintains a lot of great gifting and decor items, the 'home decor' aspect is much more flushed out at Objects, which is located just one block south of Vernacular Grandview across the street from Spagio and Stauf's at 1310 Grandview Ave.
For me the apparel is easier to buy for and style, whereas for Kris I think he has more of the knack for home, which I find hilarious because my background is in interior design. His is in architecture, and he has impeccable style, truly. Too many people underestimate his importance and vision for our brands just because he's the guy in our relationship. The fact of the matter is that when we come together on decision making we're at our best.
What type of items are your best sellers?
We sell through our jewelry very well. We've zeroed in on some great handmade lines on our last few market trips, and people are really gravitating towards them. Honestly, though, we move through all of our inventory very well. Our high turn over rate is something people love about us. You could stop in weekly and have a whole new selection to pick from.
What is your personal style?
I'm a neutral lover, and happiest in my Mya Black Jeans See Here and a loose fitting chambray. I'm typically in 1 of 3 pairs of shoes. I am a creature of habit, but if I feel like upping the ante, I'll swipe on some lipstick and grab my Wide Brim Hat See Here.
Where do you like to shop?
We travel a lot, so I love to pick things up at other small boutiques while we're in other cities. It's great to see what other entrepreneurs are up to, and a great way to learn more about a city. Shout out to Flock in Boston and Show Pony in Seattle. Check them out if you're ever in the area!
Before opening Vernacular I would most frequently shop at JCrew, Madewell and Anthropologie. That's one of the reasons we felt so strongly about opening our own clothing store. I felt that the price point for that "look" was going to make me go broke. Now having owned pieces from Vernacular for multiple years, I can confidently say that the quality of our gear is up to par. I've had seams from those bigger brands not hold up, and soles from their shoes peel off. We're working hard at dispelling the myth that the higher price always equals higher quality. We're better priced, but not "cheaper" quality.
Is it hard to separate all three stores, or is the idea to have a bit of cross-merchandising within each store?
The idea is absolutely to have a bit of cross-merchandising going on. We may carry Rifle Paper Co. at both Vernacular and Objects, but we carry different products from Rifle that cater better to whichever location they're in. We've always felt that stores do better when there are multiple shops to walk around and stop in to. Having two of our own stores on the block makes it that much more likely that someone will make the decision to come to Grandview to walk around and shop rather than another area of Columbus. If they like Vernacular, they're sure to like Objects as well. It's a win win for everyone.
What is your favorite part of working for yourself?
It's remarkably fulfilling to build something from scratch and watch people embrace it. Kris and I can also be rather impulsive, so it's nice for us to be able to take action on all of our ideas whenever we see fit... and there are always ideas. And, of course, we love having the flexibility to step away from our desks and take a half-day off together on a whim.
What is the hardest part of running a business?
Knowing that every answer is dependent on you. I understand we're not solving the Worlds problems, but we do have 20+ employees relying on us to keep this company running. We both think "wouldn't it be nice to just close your computer at 5pm and not have to think about it when you go home." We don't have that.
Do you have any advice for small businesses or opening a store?
I believe you have to be organized, driven and decisive to successfully run a business. If you're outgoing and social within your creative community, it will help, but I can't say I possess that quality myself. I'm an introvert, and it's not always easy be my own 'hype man' or make contacts when you're not super comfortable going up and talking to people. I'm lucky to have a small close-knit group of friends in various fields that I get feedback from and am constantly inspired by. The thing that I believe is most important is that you have to fulfill a need better than someone else is doing. If there is no need, or someone else is doing a better job of supplying that need, then you don't have a viable business.
How do you not buy all your merchandise, because I have a serious problem!
Ha! It can be hard. I think most people would assume I have an enormous amount of things in my closet, but the truth is I really believe in a simplified wardrobe; the essentials items that can be added to for any season. What I love about Vernacular is that we have the wardrobe staples and trend pieces at a price point that you can justify. That way when it's over (eh hmm, chevron), you can donate it without stressing out about how you spent. I think it's important for people to have the flexibility to express themselves through their clothes. Sometimes that involves embracing a trend.
Do you have any favorite trends or styles that are inspiring your currently?
What is your favorite item in your store currently?
Our Capes and Chunky Knit Sweaters. I am head over heels for our Fall merchandise!
I know this is a long extensive post, so if you have gotten all the way down here I am impressed! However, I am more in love with the Vernacular team and stores than ever before, and I have a fabulous sweater to boot, that I may already be obsessed with! If you need a few fall pieces to add to your wardrobe or a nice hostess gift for Thanksgiving, I highly recommend getting there sooner than later!