With the maker movement on the rise, Indianapolis residents are looking to decorate their homes and spaces with local products. When Mandy Skelton started Willa Gray Home in 2017, it was out of necessity. Skelton had remodeled several houses in the past and was always looking for particular home goods to furnish these flips, but struggled to find worthy items. Her need for furniture and textiles prompted her to drive out of town to source them. In order to fill this gap she found in the home-goods market, Skelton began using her expertise to host pop-up shopping experiences.
At Willa Gray Home, Skelton also provides interior decorating assistance, custom design work, and art consulting and sourcing. Her favorite part of a design project is sourcing the pieces and items that bring the vision to life. She started out on her own, and has since brought on a small team that can help her with projects and orders, especially as the holiday season approaches. Inventory has been bulked up in preparation for the upcoming weeks, and with the upcoming launch of an online shop, Skelton is settling in and finding her footing for the holidays. Establishing balance with running the shop, family life and working on creative projects keeps her busy, but Willa Gray Home has experienced great growth in the Broad Ripple area.
Skelton finds sourcing to be the most exciting part of the design process. She is always discovering new artists or pieces for projects, but truly thrives on building new relationships with vendors and partners.
“I’ve always jumped in and assumed anything is possible,” Skelton says.
She has found many new artists to bring to the shop. While the items in the store are sourced from all over, there are also pieces from local potters, and if custom furniture is needed, the skills of local craftsmen are utilized. Willa Gray Home includes an area for artists to showcase their work in a gallery space, and Skelton would love to further these opportunities in the future.
Being a part of the Broad Ripple community means a lot to Skelton since she lives close by the shop. She sees Willa Gray Home as an important part of the neighborhood and loves adding to the cultural scene by being involved in the Broad Ripple Village Association. Surrounded by great neighbors like The Cake Bake Shop and 8FIFTEEN, she is excited to keep the area vibrant and busy. As a mother she loves all the family-friendly aspects of Broad Ripple, and has found home decor and design to be a powerful creative outlet.
While Skelton has grown Willa Gray Home into a burgeoning home decor shop, she has still found many opportunities to expand the business. By providing custom services, visitors to the shop can find exactly what they are looking for and find inspiration for their design projects. There is a large variety of pieces on the showroom floor to purchase, and several samples to choose from and test out. The items in the shop are sourced with thought and intention as Skelton seeks heirloom quality and handmade pieces.
She always loves the opportunity to showcase pieces in store and be able to “walk around and tell people the story of the products.” That’s how she personally shops, too. She encourages people to invest in the quality of the designs, and loves that people’s homes can be filled with items that can’t be found in many other places.
Skelton has paved the way for her business at her own pace and found a lot of organic growth, especially through selling online. Having an online presence has exposed new and out-of-state audiences to Willa Gray Home. While Skelton saw a lot of success with selling products on Instagram, this greater reach has been put into place just in time for the holiday season. With this perfect timing, Skelton says she “likes having a brick-and-mortar shop in the neighborhood, but also loves the opportunities that come with selling online.”
The Willa Gray Home online shop will launch soon, complete with gift guides and many more products to furnish homes.
Willa Gray Home is located at 6516 Carrollton Avenue Indianapolis. For more info, call 317-756-9148 or visit willagrayhome.com.
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