by Gloria Welton
Something Rented Something New, a business which specializes in gifts, décor and wedding rentals, opened in November 2020 after owner Karen MacMillan and her daughter Erica Colson were both considering a new direction in life.
Right around the time of opening, Karen had been cancer free for five years. She was to fulfill one of her dreams. “I have made crafts forever and I always wanted to open my own craft shop.”
Erica was a hairdresser for 11 years. “I worked at a great hair salon and the staff and clients were like family, so it was a hard decision to leave.”
She was just finishing her maternity leave and wanted a different career direction. “I wanted part-time hours and a slower pace that would be better for my son Anakin, my husband Phillip, and myself. I also wanted to do something that involved my family, and I knew mom had always dreamed about opening a little shop.
“Creating gifts and crafts is a common thing we share, and I love to decorate especially for weddings and seasonal holidays,” says Erica. “The creative side of me is something that I love to do and provide to others.”
When they started to talk about opening a business, they considered working out of Karen’s home but then their present location opened up and things fell into place.
Erica says her Dad works behind the scenes and is one of their biggest supports. “Anything we cannot do he jumps in and does it. It is a family business.”
The shop is open three days a week. Both Karen and Erica create items for the store. “We are testing the waters with sales and taking it step by step,” says Karen. “Everyone has to make a living but right now we are trying to strike that balance between home and work,” says Erica.
Wedding rental focus
“Our business name came from our initial focus on renting wedding bouquets and decor,” says Erica. “It is a play on words from the phrase something borrowed something new. I wanted wedding rentals to be a big part of the business, but we had a setback when COVID-19 restrictions hit that market.
“This business is about the celebration of returned health and being able to do something new in our careers,” says Karen. “When COVID-19 hit, it was not the best time to open a store, but we look at the positive things in life and appreciate what is around us.
“We starting to get the wedding side of the business up and running and we already have some bookings for this summer,” says Karen. “This is Erica’s talent, and I am here to help with the details. She decorated for her own wedding and helped her sister Emily decorate for her wedding. She has a strong talent and interest in this area of the business.”
Rentals include floral arrangements, signs which are made by them both with help from Ross, and other items.
“Islanders are good to shop and support local, and we hope at some point to see tourists buying Island souvenirs,” says Karen. They also have Christian products for sale, which fills a gap in the market after a long-standing Christian book and gift store closed a few years ago.
“We are trying to make products that cannot be found anywhere else, and so far that is working out well,” says Karen. After years of having a booth at craft fairs, she learned to make products that are unique, trendy, and that stand out.
Erica’s family has been in business for many years. Karen produced and sold crafts and worked alongside her husband Ross with their construction company. Ross’s dad and mom ran the business before he took it over.
Both ladies agree that running a family business takes commitment, compromise, and an open mind. “Working for family is great but you have to all stay on the same page, and be honest and focused,” says Erica.
Karen says it is pure joy to come into work each day and think about what they are going to create. Erica says the work setting is enjoyable and without stress. “We are doing this at our own pace, and it is putting what we love to do into practice.”
Down the road, they are thinking about hiring someone part-time. “We need to see how sales and rentals work out and then we will look at expanding our hours. We are both so excited and grateful for the possibilities.”
For more information, call 902-367-4541. Visit www.facebook.com/somethingrented.new