FRIDAY FEATURES | Meet Kari - Petals Gift Shop
I am absolutely stoked to be able to do another month of Friday Features! This month, we are focusing on Kari Calhoun, the owner and lady boss of Petals Gift Shop!
Petals Gift Shop is located in Forsyth, IL in front of Hickory Point Mall. Petals is most well known for its clothing screen printing and other customizations - they have made clothing and other wearable items for many local schools, groups and events - such as the Bar Stool Open, which happens every January right here in Decatur! On top of all of the awesome customized stuff, Kari has a PLETHORA of other awesome on-trend items that she goes all over the place to find and bring back to us in central Illinois!
I spent some time at the shop a couple of weeks ago walking around and really getting into all of the items she had, and she happened to be working on several projects while I was there (which you’ll see some shots of later!). Kari and her staff are absolutely fantastic to work with, incredibly personable and I just love going in to the shop!
Now that you’ve learned some about Petals, let’s take a sit down and learn a little bit about the girl boss herself!
So first, let's talk about YOU. Simply, what is your name?
Were you named after anyone?
Not sure first name but my middle name is same as my father. So I guess half of me was.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I remember wanting to be an interior decorator when I was younger. I guess that plays into what I do now. I finally ended up doing something creative and artsy fartsy.
I'm going to give you $20,000. You have no debts to pay, and other than normal adult things, you have no monetary responsibilities. What are you going to spend your dough on?
Travel, travel and more travel. There is some much to see and do and if you can pick up and go with a pocket of cash, who wouldn’t?? Even if it was small weekends away or one long vacay, Calgon, take me away!
What is your spirit animal, and why?
A unicorn. Because I’m majestic AF.
You are preparing to have the feast of a lifetime. What does that feast consist of?
This is my jam. Literally and figuratively. I don’t know if I could narrow it down to one meal but my favorite things are pancakes, donuts, ice cream and cup cakes. Sweets are my kryptonite. But I love all foods. An Italian dinner served thanksgiving style cooked by someone else would be amazing!!
It's the weekend, and you have NOTHING to do but stay in your PJs and relax at home. So, you have decided to binge watch some Netflix (or insert your preferred streaming provider). What are you watching all weekend?
Anything you would think a teenager would love and if it has vampires in it then that’s a plus. Vampire Diaries, Riverdale, Supernatural, gossip girl... you get the idea. I’m perpetually trying to find the thrill from the original 90210.
What would you say is the weirdest thing about you?
My husband says that when I don’t eat when I want to eat I get very very hangry. I say my unnatural fear is squirrels.
Give us your input... does the toilet paper go over or under?
Either. Actually it could just sit on top of the holder and I’m ok with that too. I’m a unicorn, remember.
How do you think other people see you?
This is the hardest question. I think we would want to think people see us as the best versions of ourselves but I think people first see me as serious and focused. My RBF is very strong and I’m ok with that. I’m sure people would say that I’m a hard worker and drama free. I always work and hustle and I’m ok with that too. Work hard play hard and live your best life.
If you could go back and tell 18 year old you something(s), what would you say?
Dump him!!! Run Forrest Run
What are your top 3 bucket list items?
Italy, build dream home and mini horse named cinnamon.
Who has been your biggest inspiration in life and why?
I draw inspiration from many different people. My father for giving me the creative gene. He’s a wizard with crafts and building things. My aunt for giving me my first job and instilling a work ethic in me that has lasted 30 years. My mom for her decorating abilities. My step father for his business ethics and immense knowledge of the business world. And my husband for showing me that anything is possible. I’m so blessed to have family and friends that are huge parts of my everyday life.
So, now to the business stuff (which we already know - see above!). Tell me - what is the name of your business?
When people ask what your business is, what is your go-to description?
A full service gift shop that specializes in personalized gifts for every age and occasion. (I’ve had 10+ years of saying this)
How did your business start, and how did it get to where it is today?
In 2008 it was time to do my own thing. It was now or never and I took the leap. I had been working for someone else for almost 20 years. I was at a crossroad in my career. I first opened a gift shop that specialized in silk florals and wreaths. Hence Petals. I had a very small section of monogrammed items for sale that I outsourced to have made. As the years went on, the monogrammed section grew until it now accounts for 80% of my business and everything is done on site. We still have a very full shop of gift items as well. I still do florals by custom request but when you make most of your products, something had to put on the back burner. I still love making wreaths and fun florals but I just need to clone myself to keep up.
What is the general price range of your items?
We sell so many different items that you can grab something for $1.50 and goes up from there. We are talking a lot of options here folks. Greeting cards to 200 group T-shirt orders. We do have great prices because I buy for the modern working family in mind. And I love a great deal too!
What is usually your top selling item, and why?
Kids birthday outfits. Hands down. Who doesn’t want a bubble guppies shirt with matching hair bow and tutu. I couldn’t count the amount of outfits we’ve made over the years. It’s such a thrill being part of their soecial day even if only in a small way.
Is there anything you haven't said about your business already that you want to share with people?
I just want to thank all my customers and friends who have supported me the last 10 years. I really love what I do and it’s not always easy but it’s so worth every late night and long weekends.
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
Still here, still giving customers what they want and the service they deserve and still loving the business I built from a little elbow grease and a big dream.