Let's be honest, since the pandemic began we have all been looking for different ways to redesign our living spaces with so much time on our hands. But why use HGTV when you have “The Sisters” coming at you in real life? Julie McNabb and Katie Heinz took over the interior design studio family business from their mother and created JK Gift Shop to give guests a memorable, fun and welcoming experience when visiting their store.
The interior design studio was created in 1999 by the sisters’ mother, Amy. The sisters originally had no intention of joining the family business and went on to get degrees in different fields; Katie in fashion merchandising and Julie in business. Over time, they found their way back to the Interior Design Studio family business and then developed the idea of opening a gift shop.
“The gift shop was kind of our brainchild,” says Julie. “The one idea we had was, Let's try to utilize our floor space a little bit better. How can we bring people into the store? What reason could we give them to walk through the store? We were trying to think of how we could be more welcoming and then Katie and I had the idea of a gift shop.”
The sisters love being business owners because of all the different hats they get to wear – literally and figuratively. Will the day be full of unpacking shipment and stacking the shelves or will they be meeting with clients and city officials? Is it a “tennis shoes day” or a “heels day?”
“As business owners, there are always new opportunities that await you if you are willing to put in the hard work. It is an empowering feeling to control your own destiny,” says Katie. “You can decide when you are going to jump into another new venture or maybe set it aside for later. That is one of the wonderful things about owning your own business, you can physically make things happen.”
Even though the pandemic had a negative impact on countless businesses this year, the sisters worked harder than ever before: “The pandemic forced us to do things that we probably wouldn’t have or would’ve put off for a while. In turn, when everybody was shut down and had to stay at home – being a business owner, you can’t stop. It was double time for us, and I’ve never worked harder in my life. There was no time off for us,” Katie says.
Julie followed up in saying, “When you own your own business there is no ‘staying home.’ Katie and I were here every day doing what we could to figure out new sales, to keep things in production, to keep it moving.”
So what makes JK Gift Shop and Interior Design Studio different from other gift shops and design studios? Their primary goal is to create and build relationships with their clients and to offer them guidance towards making the right choices when they are designing their homes.
“It’s a lot about the experience in both of our businesses. It’s something more than just a product or an end factor. It’s more the experience of going through the design process with Katie or another designer, and then even the experience of shopping in our store,” says Julie.
The sisters want guests to have fun in their store and they want it to be more than just walking in, grabbing a card or small gift and then walking out. They want guests to enjoy themselves, laugh and spend time in the store exploring all the different merchandise.
JK Gifts and Interior Design Studio is located at 207 South Court St, Medina, OH 44256.