When Jessica Paris comes across old, outdated furniture, she sees the potential for something so much more. “I like the fact that it has good bones and structure and they don’t make it like that anymore,” said Paris, who owns J Paris Designs in Cuyahoga Falls. “You can turn something really old and ugly and outdated into something beautiful.”
At Paris’ store, 13 to 15 artists and designers offer their wares. Paris’ speciality is furniture, like tasteful bits of color added to antiques, and chalkboard paint over wood surfaces, and her artists sell soy candles, repurposed frames made from barn wood and pillows, among the diverse inventory.
Walking into the store, a customer is met with an eclectic array of colorful furnishings, but it’s in no way cluttered or “thrift store” like. Everything fits in its place. And even the displays are recycled, as pallets serve as shelves and repainted industrial radiator covers offer their efforts as tables.
Paris runs the entire store herself, along with contributing a number of its pieces for sale. But she has struck a clever consignment deal with a few artists, who work at the store in exchange for retail real estate. Although the business is in its second year of operation, since November Paris has run this particular storefront, which is enhanced by its eye-catching, colorful sign.
She recognized her proclivity for reclaiming furniture back when she was an interior design student in college. “I found a dresser by the side of the road, and picked it up and sanded it and refinished it in my parents’ garage.”
Even though the store sells handcrafted, artsy items, they won’t break your wallet, with some of the pieces as low as $10. For Paris, reclaiming existing items is less about being “green” and more about honoring something that’s already been made and giving it a new creative lease on life.
Opening a successful store wasn’t an overnight endeavor: Paris methodically sold furniture and sought out other artists using Craigslist ads. And she still uses an organic, word-of-mouth approach to find new artists.