Natalie Kirbo and Jessica Grace Allen of Maiden South
The owners of Maiden South in Bainbridge, Georgia and I discussed doing this piece to celebrate their one year anniversary. In the typical nimble and ambitious fashion of entrepreneurs, over a couple of weeks the story transitioned into celebrating a brand new expansion opportunity! Natalie is a friend from The Southern C spring 2014 Summit who opened the shop with Jessica Grace last fall. I have followed along on instagram as they gathered a beautiful selection of pieces created by Southern artisans and craftsmen I admire.
They just obtained the space next door to Maiden South and will be moving the shop into the bigger space and keeping their current, original space for events such as their Crafty Classes, Knit Nights, Holiday events, and as a small rental where they will offer their styling services.
Let’s celebrate their one year anniversary with them although I suppose now it will be called a grand opening party. Save the date for October 23rd. Congrats ladies!
Even though they are busy, we did visit and I am able to share with you a little more about these curators of vintage and quality crafted goods …
Describe your brand/business and how it got started:
Natalie: Jessica and I were introduced by our mutual friend, Missy, a couple of years ago while I was writing a story on Missy’s home for a regional magazine, Southwest Georgia Living. We met once for coffee and didn’t leave until lunch… When we did, we had a skeleton plan of opening a business together. The name and (very small!) location came later, but we knew it would be a shop full of community and life where we focused on the curation of American craft. We are both so inspired by the personal heritage of skills and how those are passed down from generation to generation, along with the beauty and strength of the South.
Over the past year, our business have grown and evolved, and we are thrilled not only to be able to tithe 10% of our net profits to charity at the end of the year, but also to be expanding at our one year mark in October! We will be growing into the space next door, as well as keeping our original space as an event space called One.Two.Three. We will use our original space at One.Two.Three for our Crafty Classes, Knit Nights, as well as our own and other events (including our upcoming One Year Anniversary Party!). We’ve always wanted to get into hosting and styling events, and we are grateful for the opportunity to start small in that aspect just as we were able to with Maiden South. One.Two.Three is how things begin, how a tempo is set, and, perhaps not coincidentally, it’s also our address: 123 N. West Street. It’s a beginning space!
We believe that we were made for good and made to create by the ultimate Creator Himself, and we want to support all the makers and doers out there doing just that. We also are inspired by a sense of community, and from the beginning prayed for a shop that would be a source of that sense of community for those around us.
#1 Skill Needed to be an Entrepreneur:
Faith! Faith in yourself, faith in each other, and faith that you’re part of a much grander plan. Also, elbow grease.
Jessica Grace: My mom, because she let me dream, and if I couldn’t reach those dreams, she taught me how to make them.
Natalie: Definitely my parents. They taught me to work really, really hard and to never stop learning. They also never discouraged any of my strange, creative hobbies and interests as a child. I was always making something or wanting to learn how to do something, and not once was I ever told, “Girls don’t learn how to knap flint to make arrowheads.” It was always, “Oh, you want to a rock tumbler and a sling shot? Wonderful!”
Favorite social media:
Instagram, most definitely. It’s sensory and romantic.
Most used emoji:
I like to call it the PTL emoji (Praise The Lord)!
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Biggest risk that paid off:
Opening! And our janky screen door. We were told we were crazy, but our squeaky screen door is the most commented-on feature of our little shop.
We always have a bottle of wine or a couple of PBR beers in the back of the shop. Come have happy hour with us!
Whatever happens to be playing in the shop?
Jessica Grace: That’s like choosing a friend. I can’t do it.
Natalie: The Great Tide by Rubylea Hall.
Jessica Grace: I’m an introvert so I like to read. A lot. And go junking. That’s it.
Natalie: All the hobbies! I call myself a perpetual hobbyist. I love learning and trying new things. My favorites are knitting, yoga, working in stained glass, junking, and quail hunting, but that could change at any minute.
We both care a lot about Friends Ministries, which includes the Friendship House (an after school and summer faith-based program for children and families), Still Waters (a safe space for women and children, of which Jessica Grace is the Director), and The Refinery (a social enterprise candle business where the women of Still Waters work). The Bainbridge-Decatur County Humane Society also holds a special place in our hearts. In fact, 10% of our net profits will go to charities of our choice at the end of each year. We are going to have a difficult time choosing – there are many worthy charities in our community!
What you love most about your town:
Bainbridge is positively charming, and filled to the brim with potential.
The Southern Coterie is a social network (thesouthernc.com) with events (thesoutherncsummit.com) that connects influencers, entrepreneurs and marketing professionals with an affinity for the South- the Makers and Doers.
Enjoy this series where we introduce you to Southern creatives we find inspiring-