Some people want to see the Seven Wonders of the world, some want to jump out of a plane, some may want to climb a really big mountain or eat 100 hotdogs in a half hour. Me, I just want to visit The Sunroom. You might be like well Carolyn, its in Columbus why don't you just go, and it's in that moment that I will go on for 12 minutes about how I will get around to it but I just have these kids, and am starting work next week, and I am tired, and I am trying to pump all this milk, I also recently became a plant mom, and blah blah blah. But more importantly, why is that my bucket list item? This store seems amazing you guys. REALLY A DREAM FOR ME. It is a shop that specializes in ethically made goods. AND THE CLOTHES ARE AMAZING. Finally, a shop where I can actually walk in and buy things instead of see things I love but have to pass up because of unfair labor practices. BEST OF ALL! They have the best taste, its not weird hippy clothes or beaded jewelry. It is ethically made clothes that look cool as hell! Anyways, meet my friends that I haven't even met yet.
PARATIVE: Suzanne and Chloe, from The Sunroom. Thanks for answering some questions for us, could you tell us a little about The Sunroom and your dream for it?
SR: Our dream for The Sunroom has truly evolved overtime. From the beginning it has been to bring inclusive and ethically made clothing to our city, and this is still a huge focus. We are always searching for great brands to bring into the shop (like the Parative Project!) and have made so many wonderful discoveries. We have also met so many amazing people; all of our designers, the small business owners we have worked with, and even our shoppers have been so kind and inspiring. Since we have opened our doors the dream has grown into bringing people together. We strive to be more than a retail shop, but also double as a space that hosts workshops with local artists and makers, and collaborates with other local businesses and organizations. When we are able to connect with the people who visit our shop it makes us so happy! We hope we can do more to serve the community.
PARATIVE: Wow, that's really cool. Love the idea of providing your city with ethically made goods. What action steps have you taken towards your dream?
SR: It's been six weeks since opening day and we already have so much planned! Last week we hosted our first workshop with local maker Sarah Harste. Sarah is a business owner who makes incredible weavings and she taught a macrame class in the shop; it was seriously so much fun! We're starting to put more workshops on the books and have more ideas than we know what to do with. We are also trying to find ways to introduce ourselves to the community while also giving something back. We have donated gift cards to a local volleyball tournament that benefits an animal shelter, we screen-printed canvas totes for Creative Babes (a local women's organization), and are looking into planning events with Make a Wish Foundation and Cause for Paws. We even have a baby shower happening in the shop this Sunday! Our doors are open for all to come in and enjoy our space.
PARATIVE: That class looked awesome. I saw the weavings on Insta and was drooling. What does your dream look like in 5/10 years?
SR: We have our sights set on expansion! We would love to be able to open a second location that is a little bit bigger than our current space to accommodate more merchandise and larger events. We also think so often about diving into menswear and children's clothing. With all of the wonderful new businesses continuing to pop up in the neighborhood we think there will so many great opportunities to form partnerships; we would love to help the community grow in any way we can.
PARATIVE: We've found that most everyone that takes an interest to ethical fashion has had some pinnacle moment on the topic. Was there a moment in time where you decided to shop/buy ethical?
SR: For both of us it was working for a large retailer and seeing how mass production affects the quality of the goods. Also, we felt there was a lack of transparency as to where the merchandise was made and who was making it. As we learned more about ethical fashion we both realized that there were not that many shopping options in Columbus. At the same time, we started finding so many amazing, small brands that didn't yet have a presence here. So we decided to scale down and came up with the idea for The Sunroom.
PARATIVE: That is such interesting perspective, being on the other side of retail. Is there a story behind the name The Sunroom?
SR: We were looking for a name that properly represents the nature of the shop: welcoming, warm, and cheerful. We came to The Sunroom pretty quickly; while we were in the brainstorming process Chloe was out walking with a good friend of ours and they started naming things they saw just to get inspiration. Our friend said "sunroom," and it just felt right. The rest is history. :)
PARATIVE: I love how the theme of your answers is thinking of others; sharing skills, giving back, helping the community grow. As The Sunroom becomes a Clintonville staple, I can see other businesses wanting to be close to you all. Is there something that you think Clintoville is missing? If you could recruit one type of business, shop, or restaurant, who/what would that look like?
SR: We would love to see a shared, rentable studio or workspace for all the amazing creatives in this neighborhood; that is something that Clintonville is definitely missing! We would also love to see more retail shops, of all kinds! Along with the businesses that have been here for awhile, there have been many great additions popping up that have brought so much to the neighborhood. Having some more shopping options like menswear, a children's store, and a few more boutique-like shops would make our stretch even more of a shopping destination. All of us in this neighborhood have embraced the idea of community over competition and and it has been really wonderful to have and give that support. We have so many people stop in after hearing about us from the other businesses and we have sent shoppers their way as well. Maybe it's cheesy, but when we succeed, we do it together.
DON'T YOU GUYS JUST LOVE THEM AND WHAT THEY ARE ABOUT? I WILL BE SURE TO DOCUMENT MY VISIT TO THEIR SHOP. If any of you beat me there please report back about how cool it is.