Sister Golden Storefront: Part 1

We recently announced that we'll be opening a Sister Golden storefront (that's right, Sister Golden in real life!) this spring in Fish Creek, WI and we're BEYOND excited! My family has a long history with Door County, WI – my dad started visiting with his parents and brothers when he was a young boy living in the southern part of Wisconsin. He introduced my mom to the area years later, and they began bringing my brother and I up to sail and camp during summers and on long weekends since I was little. 

Door County is the peninsula that juts off the eastern side of the state of Wisconsin between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. It's known for its miles and miles of beautiful shoreline and multiple state parks, along with its artist community, quaint towns, theater, cherries, and shopping & dining (fun fact: chain restaurants, hotels, etc. are highly disapproved of, so everything is small business, mostly family owned and operated). It's often referred to as the "Cape Cod of the Midwest" and it's our happy place.

My brother and I worked multiple jobs in Door County during summers through high school and college and those are the years I truly fell in love with the lifestyle and tight community. After starting Sister Golden while living in San Diego, and running it from Chicago later, the stars aligned when we learned a location was becoming available on Main Street in Fish Creek – the premier street in one of the busiest shopping and dining towns in the county (and coincidentally right next door to the boutique I so loved working at during my high school and college years).  

The location is originally an old house built in the 1930's. The downstairs area has since been converted into a retail space, while the upstairs remains a 2 bedroom apartment. The bones of the house are amazing, with so much character that we're going to maintain and celebrate. However, there are some cosmetic renovations that need to be made to refresh the space. We wasted no time and jumped right into the updates!

The photos below tell the first (not so pretty) part of our reno story – these are the "befores". We didn't catch a photo of the "before" floors as we started the work on them so quickly. They were as dark as the baseboards and very worn. These photos show the floors after they had been sanded down to the natural color of the original maple wood and sealed. We're in love with the driftwood color result and all the character shows through! 

The front door and smaller room to the right as you walk in will house a big wood cabinet and table display 

Small room to right has a large back window that looks out to a deck and stairs up to a private parking area

Larger room to left of front door and small nook which leads into a 3rd room. On the very right is a door that leads to a staircase up.

Large room to left of front door will house our checkout counter, floating shelves, large display table and jewelry cases

Large front window in room to left

Glimpse of nook and third room that lead off the large room to left

Third room

Lucky for us, my aunt (my mom's sister) is an amazing carpenter and she's building us a custom checkout counter and beautiful floating shelves. But that's not where the work stops. We will be putting a fresh coat of paint on all the walls, ceiling, baseboards, windows, front door, etc., taking down the ceiling fans and installing all new lighting, ripping the carpet off the walls in the 3rd room, painting and finishing the checkout station, painting and restoring the jewelry cases, and more (brain's fried. can't think). OH! The exterior. We haven't touched that yet...

Meanwhile, upstairs, we're redoing the kitchen and bathroom and refinishing the floors to match what was done in the shop. A few pictures we snapped mid-tear out: 

Carpet (yes, carpet) was ripped out of the kitchen and existing cabinets and counters were demolished

Adding an arch to the entryway to the living room, new cabinets, counter, floating shelves, and refinished wood floors

Phew! Thanks for bearing through the worst with us. We promise it all gets better from here. Stay tuned!

Follow along on our Instagram stories for video updates as they happen!

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The Last of 2016


The last few months of 2016 have been CrAaaZy, with a huge personal triumph, a permanent move, and BIG news for Sister Golden at the center of it all! 

We started the fall with a trip down to Southern Illinois for opening night of Vicki's show Transient Beauty at the University Museum at SIU. For the first time her floral work was physically on display in a BIG way. When the show ended, her framed pieces were transported back to Evanston, IL where they've been hanging at a popular coffee shop / gallery space, Backlot Coffee. (She would never tell you this, but I'm allowed to brag – the town was abuzz as soon as her pieces went up and she ended up selling each framed print, many 2-3 times over, within less than 2 months of being on display). While the show there just concluded, we’ll still be stocking our calendars, cards, and unframed prints into the new year. If you’re a Chicago local, go cozy up at the Backlot for an afternoon!
Sister Golden hosted its second friends & family popup shop last month where we were able to merchandise and sell a selection of our products in real life! People came with friends to sip mimosas and start their holiday shopping. But this popup was bittersweet and we had some news for the family and friends that stopped by…(drumrollllll……) We’re opening our very first brick & mortar store in Door County, WI!
See, it’s been a lot crazy. Since we broke the news in November, V and my dad have moved permanently to Door County (where we’ve spent most of our summers for the past 10+ years as a family). My boyfriend and I have also made the move and we’ll be living in an apartment that’s being renovated above the shop space (like a true Door County business owner, they say ;)). If you follow along on Instagram, you’ve seen glimpses of the renovating process for the shop and we can’t wait to continue to share all of the steps with you as we prepare to open this May!
This is the big triumph I mentioned above. It’s been a personal dream to open a small boutique one day, and lucky for V and I, we have an amazingly supportive family (and customer base like you) who facilitated that day happening sooner than we could have imagined!
The end of 2016 also included a collaboration with the well known wedding dress designer Galia Lahav, the introduction of two full 2017 calendars featuring V’s flower prints (have you gotten yours yet? They’re almost sold out!), and a handful of beautiful boutiques stocking our flower cards and prints, including Baker and Olive in Southern California, Ro Homeshop in New York, and the Farmer’s Daughter’s Flowers in Pittsburgh.
We can’t forget to mention our 3rd Annual Golden Donation Month happened in October and we ended up raising enough money for Na’atik Language and Culture Institute to complete a child’s language learning scholarship for the year PLUS help fund a library that they’ll build and get off the ground this year. We couldn’t be happier about this!
Phew! We feel extremely privileged to have turned Sister Golden our passion project into Sister Golden our job. THANK YOU! We promise to share more soon.
Brooke & Vicki

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6 Gifts to Check Off Your List Now!

Take note! These 6 gifts are totally worth checking off your list early this year! 

1. These rustic modern brass wall hangings are on every interior design lover's must-have list. Each is one-of-a-kind and a small batch just arrived. Eek!

2. Our 2017 flower calendars quickly became our best sellers after launching them in September. Each month is a framable print and we can't think of a better gift for a special woman in your life.  

3. This holiday card collection is made from prints of original art crafted completely of natural foliage. Send them out with well wishes, or frame 3 as instant seasonal art!

4. In light of recent U.S. happenings, you may find this pin a necessity. 

5. Our best selling boob pots are back, but not for long! These are always scooped up quick and we recommend snagging yours ASAP. Pot it and gift it as a house warming gift, holiday present, or girl power symbol. 

6. Also on those interior design lover's lists: one-of-a-kind silk sabra pillows. PS. you don't have to be a master designer to make this pillow look good. Put it on your sofa or chair and it does all the work. 


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Golden Donation Month 2016

This October marks our 3rd Annual Golden Donation Month and we couldn't be more excited and privileged to be supporting – with your help – Na'atik Language and Culture Institute in the town of Felipe Carrillo Puerto on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico!

This month a percentage of our sales on will directly help at least one young local Mayan student by funding their English language schooling at Na'atik for an entire year. 

Thanks to my brother (Vicki's son!) Andrew, who is currently teaching English at this thriving and highly rated immersive language school, we were introduced to this amazing opportunity. Like Andrew said, "Many families in the Maya region of Felipe Carrillo Puerto are unable to afford extra education for themselves or their children, education that would open the doors of many more opportunities for them. If you've been donating money to a very large, but seemingly 'distant' charity or organization for which you don't feel you're making a large impact, please consider fundraising a Na'atik student. Na'atik is something special, something small, and something tangible."

Hearing first hand Andrew's stories about the playful and eager young students, and the hours and hours of hard work he's contributed as a teacher and advocate of the school, this opportunity hit home and felt right. 

Na'atik was founded by Seattle native Catherine Gray (now dual citizen US/Mexico) and her Mexican-Maya husband Pedro Esquivel Puc in 2010. Catherine first started teaching private English classes in town in a rented house and as demand grew, she had to quickly co-opt both the bedroom and the porch for class space.

Catherine and Pedro quickly learned how many young people wanted to study but simply couldn't afford it.  Not willing to turn students away, and wanting to provide a safe space for learning, they expanded the program, hiring native English-speaking teachers from around the world to teach affordable English classes for the local community.

In 2012, Catherine and Pedro purchased land and built a spacious, beautiful, ecological school building with gardens and all-modern facilities.

It is now a thriving language school with over 160 students of all ages and has welcomed SAY (Study Abroad Yucatan) students from the U.S., Canada, England, New Zealand and Australia.

Read more about Na'atik's story here. 

We just want to say thank you once again for supporting small business. Vicki and I feel like Na'atik fits right in this "small" model too, being a relatively small non-profit changing the lives of children!

Only a few Na'atik students currently remain to be sponsored. Together we will support one or more of these students studies for the entire year! We can't wait!

[photos 1,2,3 via]

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