A quarter century ago, Purple Rose Home was at the forefront of the contemporary, relaxed modern farmhouse movement. This May, the mother-daughter-owned business turns 25. To celebrate, the annual tent sale returns to the shop at 140 Main St. in Northborough, MA on Friday, May 20 through Sunday, May 22.
Vicki Martelli and Kim Reed – known by fans as Vic and Kim – participated in a Q and A to commemorate the silver anniversary of the brick and mortar and ecommerce shop.
When you think about 25 years, what immediately pops into your head?
Vic: How far I’ve come in the retail industry. It’s totally amazing to still be here and just come to this building every day. This is my safe place. Every time I walk through that door, it's the same feeling. With Kim here, it's so much better knowing I can pass it along to her and hopefully somebody else in the family.
Vicki, why and how did you choose Northborough?
Vic: My husband and I started and grew our family here. It only felt fitting to open my business in the community I lived in.
What does it mean to you to be part of the Northborough small business community?
Vic: I've learned a lot about that through the years. From sponsoring baseball teams and supporting other businesses by creating and co-founding The Northborough Holiday Trolley. Then when Kim came on there were a lot more opportunities.
Kim: I started right when the trolley was in it's inception and then it eventually fell into my hands. That opened the doors to co-founding and running Northborough Local First and The Applefest Gala. All of which had the mission of small businesses working together in a collaborative marketing effort, which in turn allowed us to give back to the community that supported us.
How would you describe your working relationship as mother and daughter business owners?
Kim: When we go to buyers’ markets, our vendors love to watch us. We banter back and forth. We have our moments, like she will like an item and ask if I like it and if I say, ‘I don't really like it,’ she keeps asking until I have to just say, ‘Dude, if you like it, just buy it. You can get things I don’t like. I buy things you don’t like of all the time.”
Vic: And when those items come in that I didn't think I'd like, I end up loving them the most. It’s sometimes tough working and being a mother and daughter, but we've worked through the kinks.
Can you compare and contrast your design aesthetics?
Vic: There's definitely a huge overlap in things that we love though, because it wouldn't work if there wasn't.
Kim: Vic still likes to go back to the shabby chic style and I want to go more modern. Our customers want both and everything farmhouse in between.
Vic: For 25 years we’ve been the trend setters by bringing what is new and what we love into the shop.
What kind of feedback do you get from customers?
Vic: They come here because they know the uniqueness of the store. They like how we put it together.
Kim: They'll say, ‘I never thought of putting something together like that.’ They like that we don't use things for what they’re designed for. For example, right now we have a plate rack displayed over a window with faux greenery coming down. We use a lot of our product differently than what it's made for.
Who's got that instinct to use things for what they're not intended for?
Vic: I think we both do. I think it might just be ingrained. We do get inspired by our vendors showrooms, too.
Does one of you take lead in styling the shop or is it a co ownership of the look and feel?
Kim: If it's a seasonal store set, it's usually me, because I just have a knack for consolidating everything and lining everything up for retail merchandising.
Vic: I fill in a lot, change things up when she's not here, put my little twist to things. We also rely heavily on our staff to help as well. Like Janis who’s been my best friend for 50 years, she’s been working with us for many years now and customers LOVE her arrangements.
Kim: We know each other's vision and I can trust Vic and Janis to finesse and keep it breathing once I’ve set the floor for a season like Christmas or Spring.
Vic: So far, it's worked for 25 years. Back in the day, we used to flip rooms around every single day. That's why people come. We still move rooms around a lot but we do so less as it can be a lot.
What words would you use to describe the vibe of the shop?
Kim: Light, bright, homey, comfortable, cozy. It’s therapy for people, even if they don't buy anything.
Vic: People actually come here on their lunch hour just to walk around because it makes them feel so good.
What was the idea behind doing social media videos together?
Kim: It all started with Facebook Live. Vic would just do what she does now, pop herself into them. It's always been that way. So now I'll say to her, ‘Hey, I'm going live,’ or ‘I'm doing a video in the other room,’ like, hint, hint.
It started there. And then something told me to get on Instagram, and I did, and it just evolved. I was really studying it, ‘Oh, you can use brand reps.’ That’s when we began nurturing relationships with influencers like @jaci.daily, @thepickledrose and @desertdecor.
Christmas is the big season for you. What are you most excited about this year?
Kim: The thing that I am most excited about is, for the last few years we've sold out of garland and wreaths so fast. We ordered enough that I think it's going to be able to carry us much further into the season.
How early in the season does Vic put garland on like a boa and dance around the store?
Kim: That usually happens when we're punchy toward the end of November, and then we still have all of December to get through. I do so wish I still had this one video of Vic modeling a bathrobe. We added some sassy music to it and she strutted her stuff around the shop.