The retail community in Denville has quite a wide variety of unique niched stores, and the newer addition of Broadway’s The Wren + The Raven is no exception. We love the gorgeous minimalist aesthetic of the store, and whether you’re looking for a gift for yourself or someone else, you’re sure to find something special here. Let’s get to know the owner.
What was the inspiration behind starting your business? And the unique store name?
I was inspired to start my business because I was feeling like my chosen career, as a clinical social worker, was no longer a good fit for me and I was frustrated by not feeling in control of my professional life. I realized that for me to be happy I had to work for myself. I wanted something that would serve as a creative outlet and allow me to have lighter interactions with customers. For years I also felt a lack of community around some of my interests. This motivated me to create a space for like-minded people to come shop, interact and partake in classes and events.
I drew from several sources of inspiration for the name of my shop. I knew I wanted something that sounded like the name of a fairytale or fable; something that conjured up a feeling of mystery and magic. “The Wren” part was actually inspired by my dog, who is named Wren. She is my little best friend so I really wanted to honor her with the name of my shop. “The Raven” part just came naturally after that. I loved the alliteration and the idea of using two birds that show up in the mythology of several cultures.
Why did you choose Denville for your store’s location?
I chose Denville for the location of my store because it’s a great town with the kind of downtown set up that I was looking for. I knew that when the right space appeared, it would be time for me to move forward with my dream and that is exactly what happened with 25 Broadway. I’m very grateful for how invested this town is in their small businesses; I immediately felt so welcomed and supported.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow your business?
In an effort to help my business grow, I have been primarily focused on using social media, building an e-commerce presence and setting up classes and events for the future. My goal, as I mentioned earlier, is to create a sense of community beyond the retail side of my business.
What has been your most unusual or memorable customer request?
I don’t feel that any request is unusual which is what makes things fun! And although I can’t accommodate every request, I want people to feel free to express themselves and explore new ideas in my shop. We’re all about open-mindedness!
The store’s minimal aesthetic is beautiful. How do you choose what items to offer and how to display?
My shop is carefully curated, almost nothing is happening in here by accident. The store’s aesthetic was born of my own discomfort with being in stores that are cluttered or chaotic. I really wanted to create a calming space that felt good to be in. I try to make sure that my products meet certain criteria. I work with woman, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC owned small business. The items I carry are primarily handmade, eco-friendly and unique. Integrity and respect are at the core of my decision making process as a business owner.
Where do you see The Wren and The Raven in the next year?
In the next year, I plan to have my online shop up and running. I also really want to focus on creating an interesting and fun lineup of classes and events. We currently have a tarot class series in the works that I think people are going to love.
What is one piece of advice you’d give someone considering starting their own business?
The advice I would give to people starting a business is: be loyal to your vision. Identify the core values of your business as specifically as you can and keep checking back in with them. Those values should be your touchstone and will help with decision making if you’re feeling lost or burned out. Running a small business is hard work but if you’re operating from a place of passion and authenticity it can be extremely gratifying.
Looking back at your first year, is there anything you’d change?
Looking back at my first year, I don’t think there is anything I would change beyond worrying a little less. New ventures can be scary but if you trust that you can handle what life throws at you things will work out one way or another
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
Opening this shop was the thing I would have been doing if I wasn’t a clinical social worker! This was my wild, “maybe one day” dream. So, now that I am here, I have no idea what else I would be doing!
How do you like to spend a day off?
I spend my days off hanging out with my husband, Michael, my dog and my cat; my family or my friends. Since I opened this shop hobbies have been put on the back burner but hopefully I will get back to them soon!
And lastly, what’s your favorite bite to eat in town?
My favorite bite to eat in Denville is probably the Pasta Shop. Their hand-made, fresh pasta is just so good! You can also frequently find me at Church Street Bagels getting a bagel and a latte at lunch time!