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Walk the garden, pet the cat, stop for a photo opportunity.
Tiffany Eckhardt, the owner of Flown The Coop, sees her home décor shop not as just a store, but an experience. The business began when she and her husband sold their mix of vintage, industrial and homestead goods at local antique and flea markets in Texas, starting in 2011. In 2014, they bought a property that doubles as their business and their home, making a living through Flown The Coop while creating a community space on their land.
“I am a dreamer, but also a doer,” Eckhardt says. “Sometimes it takes pressing forward to figure out the perfect solution for your business idea.”
1. Why did you start your business?
I fell in love with the buying and selling of unique items that are often repurposed or reused items. After schlepping our large industrial pieces to antique shows and flea markets for many years, we landed in the little town of Burton, Texas. Burton is nine miles from Round Top, the home of a massive bi-annual flea market called Texas Antique Week. We found an ideal property where we can live and work, and be a part in a developing community of creatives. Located halfway between Houston and Austin, Burton offers an ideal escape from the city. We love to host special events at Flown The Coop in our backyard. It is really a dream come true.
2. How has your business grown?
I had a following on social media from the many years of participating in antique shows and flea markets. I owe any success I have to friends sharing our store with their friends on social networks. I am a director on the Burton Chamber of Commerce and hope to create effective signage on Highway 290. We are working on pitching Burton to publications as well. I also hosted an educator appreciation day to bring awareness to one of the largest employers in our tiny community. I plan on working with the superintendent of the Burton school district for future events.
3. When did you first realize your company was successful?
What is most rewarding is the positive feedback I receive on social media. The majority of my business is from tourism. Recently I noticed an increase in local business. That is a mark of success for me.
4. What has been your most memorable moment?
That is hard. I have so many. We host events in our backyard that always feel like a scene from a movie. We hosted a karaoke night that was especially heartwarming on my birthday and on Flown The Coop's one-year anniversary at the store. Watching our community and visitors arrive toting their folding chairs and coolers, some arriving in their classic cars, was an epic country living scene. We had so much fun being entertained by the local karaoke favorites under the stars. The turnout was amazing and was one of my best birthdays ever. It was that evening that I realized that I was surrounded by kindred spirits who will support Flown The Coop.
5. What are some of the challenges you face?
My biggest challenge is how to help people discover Flown The Coop and our "secret town" of Burton. I anticipate challenges developing a team and facilitating growth. Being located in the country limits my ability to find people willing to work with a small business. We are also limited by space. Growth would mean investing in inventory storage and possibly adding onto the store. We are currently building a guesthouse on our property. That will add another dimension of skill sets that I'll need to develop. It is all a part of our journey in developing a destination.