T h e S T R E A M by MSBNC

APRIL LADY BOSS:

BECKY DUNN | Owner Rust & Found

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Take a stroll through Rust & Found and you'll want to kick yourself for throwing out your grandmother's rickety bookshelf and that old green glass gallon jar that you used for saving pennies.  Repurposing such treasures from the past are "all the rage," and this month's "Lady Boss" has a real flair for it.  
Q. How long have you been in business?

A. We will be celebrating the start of our 5th year as a brick and mortar store this May. Prior to that I had been doing business out of my home for about a year.

 Q. How did you get started?

A. After 20 years of designing and repurposing for friends and clients as a hobby, I finally figured out a business model that would allow me to both have a retail space but also hands-on work time.  I felt like it was now or never.

Q. What background have you had?

A. Creative careers have always been in my life, beginning decades ago as a hair stylist, then decorative faux painter.  Later in life I decided a college degree was the way to go, and earned a marketing degree, but never ended up pursuing a career in that direction.  Instead I began designing jewelry and selling online and at art fairs.  During all of those career paths I was always picking and repurposing furniture and decor.

Q. What makes your business different?

A. Rust & Found is different in that we try to create a sense of urgency or rarity having limited hours and by consistently having our items be unusual and even one of a kind. Each weekend we open, our customers know they will find a different store, never knowing exactly what they will find.  I also never know exactly what I will find or create month to month, so it keeps it fun for me too.  Patrons and curiosity seekers are going to really have an opportunity to build anticipation as Rust & Found’s next opening isn’t until May. The exact date will be available on https://www.facebook.com/pg/RustandFound.

Q. What are some challenges you have overcome as a woman in business?

A. In the beginning, it was a challenge to convince many customers that I was the one doing the work. It was often assumed it was my husband doing the building and creating of large pieces and lighting. What does frustrate me still is when I visit a hardware store or lumber yard to get supplies and am talked down to by the male employees.  Come on! It’s 2017!  Yes I like power tools, and no I don’t need you to question what I’m making or if I’m going to “have help” using the equipment.   Luckily other than those types of situations I haven’t had many other challenges related to being a woman.

Q. Why do you choose to own a small business?

A. I love owning my own business! It gives me the pride and self esteem I had lacked.  The feeling of accomplishment is worth all the long hours.  There are parts of being a business owner Im so bad at too…. Bookkeeping? Organizing?  I am still learning and setting goals all the time, but I wouldn’t trade it for a thing.

Q. Why do you think it’s important to shop local?

A. Small businesses are the heart and soul of our communities, and shopping local is the key to keeping small towns alive and growing.  There is a relationship building that happens, with both customers and other small businesses, that you certainly can’t get with a large chain store. No one wants to live in a town where the buildings are empty and sad looking.  Residents leave, property values go down and it’s a downhill slide.  Shopping local is what keeps your hometown alive and vibrant! It draws in new residents and brings in shoppers that spend money to keep it growing.

I also love in this day and age how we are able to help each other to grow our businesses. Social media has made it so much easier to support other local shops and small businesses, and this is super important! If other businesses in your community aren’t thriving and growing, then it stands to reason neither will yours.  We need to work together to bring shoppers/diners/clients to the area. If you are in a community where all the small guys are gone and you are the lone survivor, it’s going to be nearly impossible to thrive.  We all depend on each other for survival.

Check out Becky's business, Rust & Found on Facebook here.

April 01, 2017 by Elizabeth Hilton

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