By Hope Lecchi The Sedalia Democrat, Sedalia, Mo.
The philosophy, "the best thing about having a sister is that I always had a friend," is one of the guiding principles behind Sisters & Co., a new store in Sedalia.
The shop, owned by Kimi Arnold, features a variety of unique clothing and accessories, antiques and re-purposed furniture, home decor and gift items as well as a line of baby clothing and accessories.
"Everyone always asks who the sisters are," Arnold said. "Our philosophy is that we are all sisters in spirit and we're there for each other as a source of inspiration and support."
For the customers to the store, the inspiration comes in the form of advice on anything from clothing styles Arnold offers to the eclectic and inviting merchandise to help decorate a home.
A source of that inspiration is a well-known retailer to many customers in Sedalia and the surrounding communities -- Sally Lockett. Lockett was the former owner of Locketts and Fig Leaf and is the buyer and manager at Sisters & Co.
"I am so blessed to have Sally and her team Pat (Love), Linda (Carol) , Connie (Pizzo) and Jinx (Moore) with me," Arnold said.
"They have brought so much expertise and they really respond to our customers. What they provide is a more personal touch for our customers."
"Sally has a good following of customers who rely on her and her employees, " Arnold added. "They all bring a wide variety of tastes and likes to the shop."
Both Arnold and Lockett don't rely solely on their likes and dislikes when buying for the store. A feature of the shop is a customer wish list. Customers are asked to give ideas on clothing and items they would like the store to carry.
"We are all so different and we rely on each other and our customers," Lockett said. "We feel the customers are the most important part of everything we do."
The two women bring the "wish lists" with them when they go on buying trips. One thing they also try to accomplish with their trips to market is the idea that everything should be unique and one of a kind.
"We don't order large quantities of any one thing," Lockett said. "We really try not to duplicate things because we want our customers to feel a sense of uniqueness."
With that thought in mind, the store encourages their customers to come in often and see what is new. A lot of items, such as the antiques and re-purposed pieces, are completely one of a kind and can't be reordered. The store also looks for clothing items that aren't found in other stores.
"We still focus on clothes, but the times have changed," Lockett said. "We don't live in a cookie cutter world and what our customers are looking for is fashion spontaneity. They want to be able to find a unique top or jacket that they can pair with some wonderful jeans and basic pieces to build their wardrobe around."
"One thing that helps make our customers feel unique is the fact that if they buy something here they know that not everyone else will be wearing the same thing," she added. "One of the best feelings for us is when you see the look on a customer's face when they fall in love with something because they have discovered a treasure, a find that they know no one else will have."
To help their customers with that goal the shop offers a variety of price points. The store offers gift items that can be found starting at $5.
"We don't want our customers to feel that they won't be able to find something that is a quality product that isn't affordable." Arnold said.
The antiques and re-purposed pieces are Arnold's finds.
"I have been collecting antiques for over 10 years," Arnold said. "They are all quality pieces that we either sell as they are or some of the items are given a new life with a fresh coat of paint or something that we add to it to make it one of a kind. At some point in time we have all pitched in and done some of the work on the pieces to help a customer get exactly what they want."
Arnold and Lockett recently returned from a buying trip to Las Vegas where they found several new items for spring. For Valentine's Day they will feature a full line of Brighton jewelry and accessories, picture frames and "some yummy truffles and food items," Lockett said.
Spring and Easter will also see a lot in the way of home and garden decor. The shop will have florals, wreaths, bird-feeders, birdbaths and bunnies and rabbits galore.
"We have been really blessed with the response we have gotten so far, "Arnold said. "We truly do feel that we have rediscovered some old friends and are continually in the process of making new ones with each customer."
The store, located at 3805 S. Limit Ave., is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p. m. Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext 1484.