A Year to be Thankful For
Reclaimed Heart, Arlington
Many of you have probably noticed a new face while strolling down Olympic Avenue in Downtown Arlington, and you would be both right and wrong about that. How? Well, while its true that Reclaimed Heart is a new addition to the local business community in Arlington, it is certainly not a new face on the Snohomish County scene. In fact, owner Tina has been picking and creating over the last three years, with her products and old made new furniture found in local shops across Snohomish County.
This has been an amazingly big year for Tina and Reclaimed Heart, a new home in a new community, a Glamper dream finally come true, and, you guessed it, her very own retail location. I couldn’t resist paying her a visit and having a chat, one busy SnoCo Gal to another, to find out all about it …
First things first, how did you get your start in picking and creating?
We didn’t grow up with money, my mom was a single parent. Everything we had was second hand or handmade, so I got good at that. Searching out the good stuff, or I seeing things and thinking, I want that, then having to figure out a way. How could I make it, or build it. I had to be crafty growing up, and it just stuck.
[There is also] my family heritage. Being Norwegian, we put a lot of sentimental value into things. For me, that became not just about my own things, but about things that once belonged to others. I could see their history in them, their story. It made those things special even if they were second hand.
How did Reclaimed Heart come to be? When did picking and creating become the full time gig?
A little over three years ago, my mom passed away suddenly. I just started creating, it was therapeutic for me. I was working at the time, but after that I was just really not into it anymore. It was really hard being there and helping people. I was in the middle of my grief and I just couldn’t do it anymore.
[At the time] I’d been creating a bit, I’d just got into my first shop. I asked my husband, can I quit my job. He didn’t want me to at first, but finally said, I think you should give it a try. Next thing I knew I was in the Vintage Company No. 7 and it all just took off from there. All of a sudden I was in six shops, I was a business.
Your business has evolved and grown a lot over the last three years. Who or what do you think is responsible for that?
I think other shop owners and creators have played the biggest part. It really is a small connected community. I’ve been blessed enough to make friends in it, through church and the shops.
Just getting to know some of these people, you kind of find your mentors and I’ve been very lucky to have several. You find your people, your tribe. People like Sandra with The Vintage Company No. 7, Geneva with Eclectic Home, Sam at Lost. Found, and Hannah at Dahlia’s Vintage Marketplace.
They have helped guide me and keep me away from the competitiveness that is out there.
Can you tell me a bit about why you choose to avoid that competitiveness and why you think it is unnecessary?
I fell into doing this because of grief and finding out it was a therapeutic outlet for me. I really needed to keep it on that level, having it be a really happy part of my life, but there are just so many people out there that are just in it for the money.
Quite honestly, I don’t know a lot of people in this business, unless you are Joanna Gaines, who are going to become millionaires doing this. It really has to be a passion of yours, and I think that if you stay driven in your initial reason for wanting to do it, that is how you are going to do well. That is something I really try to stay focused, and just keeping the toxic out.
My favorite Reclaimed Heart product has to be your amazing coffee candles. How did those come to be?
I’m in recovery, and one of the things AA is known for is really strong coffee at all of their meetings. So I thought, wouldn’t it be funny to combine the mugs I was already creating with a candle that smelled like coffee. I really started making them because I’m in recovery myself and I was wanting some sort of way to give back.
A portion of each candle goes to help organizations like Hope Soldiers, Hands Up Project, and Beautiful Soles. The money I donate from them doesn’t just go to recovery services anymore. I added in mental health because I have an anxiety disorder, because I deal with mental issues myself, and helping others with those issues is something else that is important to me.
It’s not a large scale type donation, but they are available in a few different shops, and its something.
Now onto all the big changes that have happened to you and your shop this year, starting with your big move to Arlington. What has that been like?
For those that don’t know, the Richardson’s moved into a 1904 home Downtown Arlington adjacent, and set to work making it vintage and creative work of art that I, as well as many others am seriously jealous of.
The move to Arlington, it really opened up a whole new world for me. It took some pushing from my husband, because of the fear on my part, but we did it and I know now that this is where we are meant to be.
I have fallen in love with the community. The support and people I have met have made me feel so welcome and happy. And it just feels good knowing that this is a place we intend to stay and be a part of. It’s the only other city besides Blaine, where I grew up, that I’ve felt that way about.
The next big change came when you bought, and started fixing up Betty the Glamper. Tell me all about her and the role that she plays in your business.
I’ve always just sort of wanted one. It took seven years to find her, lots of nights searching Craigslist. And, I really hadn’t thought about using one for business until maybe a year and a half ago. I went to a show, Farms and Frills, that had a Glamper Alley. That is where I learned about a group called Sisters on the Fly, and I thought, I want to be a part of this group, these women that just go out and camp in their own vintage trailers. That kind of put the idea in my head.
Last, but certainly not least, has been the opening of your very own storefront right in Downtown Arlington in September. How is going, what has your favorite part?
Opening a shop scared me. I have an anxiety disorder and you kind of have to be on, all of the time. I’m a people pleaser and want people to like me. The thought of someone not liking me or the shop, it’s hard. I know they won’t, but it’s still hard.
I also knew it was a big commitment. I knew the time that it takes. I’ve watched Sandra, Geneva, Sam, Hannah, all of these people running their own shops. It has to be a big commitment and I wasn’t ready for it, but here I am anyway thanks to my husband. He was a big push for me doing this, if it wasn’t for him, I would have dragged my feet forever.
I think Arlington, this community, was a big push as well. It wasn’t just that it was our new home, it was a place, for my business, that got me out of the rat race of competitiveness that I’ve always tried so hard to avoid. And the reception has been surprising and cool. I’ve gotten to know my shop neighbors, they come into the shop, and have been very supportive.
That has been my favorite part, becoming a part of the business community, feeling like I belong and that I’m meant to be here.
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