by Kristina Domitrovich // photos by Lindsay Pace Daffron
From a llama tree, a candy tree, a classic red and green tree, to a millennial tree stuffed with pizza, tacos and coffee – Trendy Tree’s new storefront is rethinking Christmas while bringing new designing ideas to customers in Pontotoc.
When Carrie Martin’s mother Jeannie Pence approached her in 2007 to say she just bought Christmas ornaments and would resell them online, Martin was not immediately sold on the idea. In fact, she was rather concerned.
“‘I’m the only kid, we have to watch her,’” Martin said with a laugh, as she remembered a conversation she had with her husband. “It was just like, ‘She’s slipping.’”
Martin had no way of imagining what would come of her mother’s decision. Within a few years, this small business, Trendy Tree, would grow out of her mother and father’s home, and move into a warehouse. Now, this business has gone on to join Pontotoc’s downtown business scene. Martin and her husband David bought the business from her parents in 2014, and the two have since split the responsibilities. David runs the warehouse with three other workers, and Martin runs the storefront with two other employees, Rachel Wiygul and Ashleigh Huddleston.
The supplies in the store reflect what Trendy Tree carries online, but it also gives customers the chance to see some pieces in person, and to visualize new ways to decorate. For example, few may imagine a llama-themed Christmas tree on their own; but thanks to Martin’s idea and Wiygul’s design, customers in the store can see just that – a brightly colored llama tree.
“Carrie wanted to bring the inspiration to the local people with this (store),” Wiygul said.
The shop’s employees serve the team differently: Martin is the visionary, Wiygul is the designer, and Huddleston is the coordinator and website specialist. Martin will go to Market – a Christmas wholesale galore of three buildings, 20 floors each, packed with showrooms of various brands pitching their products for next year’s Christmas – where she will choose products she wants to retail online and in the store for next year’s Christmas. From there, she will bring products – like llamas – back to Wiygul, who will then create a design to reflect Martin’s idea. Huddleston will catalogue the products, and track Trendy Tree’s inventory. Martin said each of their styles differ, but they feed off each other by providing one another with fresh ideas.
While they keep the store stocked with plenty of designs so customers can gain inspiration, Trendy Tree also completes custom orders. Originally, Martin had other plans in mind for the store. She thought it would be a craft-supply store, where customers would purchase supplies and create the designs themselves – essentially just a storefront for the Trendy Tree warehouse. However, within the first week, customers changed Martin’s mind.
“(Rachel) made a wreath, you know just put a bow on it, stuck it on the door, and we sold it off our door four times,” she said. “So I was just like, ‘OK, just make the wreaths. Just go ahead.’”
All three women said they regularly have customers show different design inspirations from Pinterest and say, “This is what I want.” Martin even said customers bring their pottery to the store, and ask them to decorate it. In this case, whoever is in the store will ask the customer to pick a few ribbons they like, so they can know what color scheme the customer likes; then, Wiygul creates designs to fit the customer’s preferences.
The trio will even go into customers’ homes to decorate for Christmas, which takes about one day for each house. This is Wiygul’s favorite part, decorating Christmas trees. Martin and Huddleston joked that she has a tendency to adorn trees with decorations neither have considered before. From ribbons, picks and sprays, to grapevine, Wiygul spares no creative expense to get a tree just how she wants it.
“I see things very lined up and straight, and she comes in and she flips things … We don’t leave until something’s suspended from the ceiling,” Martin joked. “I’m telling you, small children, animals – anything that will be still and will react to (electrical) wire.”
Looking forward, this seasonal shop will have wreaths for every holiday and season, along with every-day items and décor perfect for any time of year. Until then, the three said they can be found “covered in glitter, from October to December.”