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New Store Offers Something For Every Shade of Life

Photographer / Jubilee Edgell

Albert Einstein once said, “Creativity is contagious, pass it on.” This is a concept that Erin Marden has taken to heart with every aspect of her boho-style boutique and gift shop, Chameleon’s Closet. “It’s very relaxed, very bright when you come in. Our workers are very bright and happy and cheery,” Marden says.

Comfortable though the shop is, it can hardly be described as ordinary.

“Our motto is ‘we have something for every shade of life,’ and that’s kinda where the Chameleon comes in because it changes shades,” Marden says.

She offers anything that can fall under the category of “art,” from boutique clothing to handmade jewelry to incense, from more traditional disciplines like oil portraits to unique expressions like acrylic pour art, much of which is made by local artists. “People don’t realize what’s in the store when they walk in,” Marden says. “It’s kind of like a ‘wow’ statement.”

What makes this gem of a store stand out, though, is the owner’s heart for artists.

“Every month, I’ll pick someone who brings product to the store for consignment. We offer them a First Friday Reception,” Marden says. “Then, throughout that whole month, I promote them.”

The incredible part is that 100% of the profit from the spotlighted art goes back to the artist.

“I really like offering the reception and then just keep it going all month so you can talk about the artist,” Marden says. “Instead of just, ‘Oh, that’s a nice picture,’ you can really get a feeling for why the artist got into their style and why they enjoy it and what they feel art does for a community of people.”

The inspiration for Chameleon’s Closet stemmed from Marden’s own journey to becoming a professional artist.

“My best friend, Nikki, who works with me, we really started getting into our art,” Marden says.

At first, they tried to sell their art at festivals while working part-time, but they quickly discovered how difficult it is to make decent money at those kinds of venues. After about a year, a store in Marden’s hometown, Rochester, came up for sale. After a few conversations with the then-owners, Marden and her partner decided to purchase it.

“Our idea of the hippie-boho store came around March and we opened in June,” Marden says.

For Marden, it’s a dream come true.

“I don’t really have this huge goal of making millions or opening extra stores. I just want to live in my small town and support people,” Marden says. “As I get more income, instead of opening another store somewhere, I’d like to put it back into my community, to help build programs in our town.”

Chameleon’s Closet is located at 917 E 9th St., Rochester. They are open 11-7:30 Tuesday through Saturday. Through the month of November, they have a 50% off one item coupon available for download on their website. Local artists who wish to sell with them are welcome to contact Chameleon’s Closet on Facebook or call them at 574-223-1917. Visit them online at chameleonsclosetllc.com for more information.

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