We would like you to meet, Minna Aaltosalmi-Harmon, this weeks Small Business Saturday Mom, who owns The Gifts Co/Op Showroom & Gallery in Greenwood Lake, Orange County. She is also very devoted to her 3 young daughters.
When did you start your business? I have run this artisan co/op for one year with assistance of other crafters and volunteering community members.
How did the idea come about? I have had gifts shops for my own artisan creations before, but Maria Gagliano suggested to add other artisans in the mix. I have been in sales since teens and find serving customers my ultimate joy. I run a few parallel business, e.g an Ice Cream Shop in Finland during summers. Keeping little stores is among the best fun I know.
What is special about your business? We display and sell unique creations by multiple local artisans and I bring international goods from my european travels, too. We offer free tutorials and classes at the shop; you can stop by for anytime piano lesson, or learn how to knit and crochet. Other lessons available too; how-to-sew, jewelry-making, etc. Please inquire – we are very eager to swap skills and are extremely mutually supportive.
How do you manage having your own business and motherhood? Motherhood comes first, thus the shops opening hours vary. I work a few hours a day up to 7 days a week depending on the season. If my family needs me, the weather is horrid or none of the other volunteer mothers can open the shop, “our dream” lays dormant until the next good day.
Walk us through a typical day: On a typical day, the shop opens around noon, we treat our customers to a lovely shopping experience until about dinner time, and then it’s “see you tomorrow” again. I constantly carry work around me to errands, movies and where ever I go, so mittens, scarves, hats etc. are created all day, every day. At home, I regularly stay up until wee hours beading jewelry and stitching together more handmade treasures for my customers shopping joy.
If you had to give one piece of advice to a mom wanting to start her own business what would it be? Go for it! Expect the business to take all your time and money. Keep meticulous books and prepare your taxes as early as you can. While some stress and annoyance are guaranteed, there’s such joy and wonder in learning how to run your business better, not to mention the amazing people you are sure to meet.
Where to find The Gifts Co/Op Gallery & Showroom:
Location: 108 Windermere Ave, Greenwood Lake NY 10925 Orange County
The Gifts Co/Op Gallery & Showroom on Facebook
Message me anytime via the shop’s page or my personal: Minna Aaltosalmi. Let’s see how we can support each other and what new skills there’s in store!