Those of us over here at Shop Small Fort Worth are all about preserving our community’s character through local businesses. We care about their stories, their trials, and their successes. We love the concept of creating for and buying from one another, and we love to support others seeking to do the same. So that is what this blog series is all about — championing local businesses. Telling their stories, and maybe, encouraging others to start one of their own!
Interview with Angela Wyatt of Bear Goods
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your shop?
We’re a husband and wife duo that just can’t say ‘no’ to unique and amazing finds. We have two wild and hilarious little boys with a baby on the way, nine chickens, and a big rescue dog, and we love living on the East Side of Fort Worth in our 1920’s craftsman. Bear Goods is a curated housewares and accessories shop with found heirloom-quality and on-trend goods. We carefully collect the things for our shop so you can carefully select things for your home. Everything we sell, we would gladly put in our own home (but hoarding isn’t our cup o’ tea). Beautiful design does not have to be expensive, and we work hard to keep Bear Goods approachable and affordable.
What made you want to start your shop?
Here's our (very short version) story. A few years ago, we had been living in Manhattan/Brooklyn for just under a decade and our second baby boy was freshly two months old. We got word from Bryson's work (a tech company in the city) that we'd need to move to Portland to stay with the company. Long story short, he resigned and we didn't have a plan. We knew we didn't want to leave our beloved Brooklyn or our community, so we fought to stay. Rent was high in our 650 sq ft apt (where our baby slept in the bathtub), and though we had a healthy severance, we were basically rubbing dimes together. I’ve had a dream of owning a shop for some time, and it kept floating around in my brain as something that would be fun to do, but not actually attainable. We talked it though and eventually thought, what do we have to lose? Bryson led the charge for us to do what we naturally gravitate towards -- find amazing deals by scouring thrift stores, stoop sales, and upstate NY estate sales. We then put our wares up in an Instagram shop (I honestly didn't even know that was a thing). Since we were fighting for our family to stay in our home and with the community that had become family, we wanted our shop name to be a mile marker of our life at the time. The simplest thing was to use an acronym of our names -- Bryson, Ezra, Angela, Ransom. Our name helps us remember why we started this journey in the first place. Eventually, Bryson’s work brought us to Texas and this past August, we were able to open Bear Goods back up again with a clearer focus and direction.
What have been your biggest struggles so far in owning your own business?
The business side of things! We don’t love tax codes and the piles of receipts to sift through and the financial side of the business. We are very romantic about the whole thing, and it’s hard to focus on those incredibly important details when all we want to do is drive around and find stuff. Also, with Bryson working full time, and me (Angela) being at home with our boys, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for focusing on growing/managing/social media-ing the business. We try really hard to maintain balance and are very protective of our family time. It often overrides our to-do lists.
Thinking about the past year, what has been one of your big successes?
It’s our biggest success and also our craziest business decision, but starting our shop back up (a month after we moved into our home) was a big deal! We also incorporated vintage, handmade rugs into our shop, which has become one of the driving forces of our business. We also had a shout out in 76107 Magazine from the Shop Small Fort Worth Holiday Market article -- aka my toes were famous!
When you aren’t busy with your business, what do you like to do?
We love adventuring around with our kids, going on walks in parks, enjoying our new home, having meals around our table with friends and family, having after-dinner dance parties, gardening, watching our oldest play soccer, and honestly….find stuff (for our home AND the shop).
Where do you draw your creativity from?
We draw creativity from a deep appreciation of the work of people’s hands. Most things we gravitate towards are made from artisans, craftsmen, and skilled workers. We love learning about the cultures our wares come from and appreciate deeply the skills that it takes to create beautiful things. We love the stories behind things we find and try to learn as much as we can about each item. We love a good story. We’re also inspired by natural elements -- woods, stone, metals, unrefined textiles dyed naturally, green things...etc.
What do you like most about being part of a community of small shops in Fort Worth?
Oh, man! The Fort Worth small business community is such a supportive place to be an entrepreneur! There are so many talented people who are welcoming and helpful and kind. People celebrate each other’s businesses, and it feels like a big family. We’re honored to be amongst this community.
You can find Bear Goods and other businesses like theirs at the Shop Small Fort Worth Spring Market on March 25th and 26th, 2017. It’s coming up soon, and we could not be more excited! This two-day event will feature amazing local artists, small businesses, and craftsman, as well as including live music, food trucks, yard games and a cash bar. Tickets are available here, and part of our proceeds will be going to Pure Adventure.
Written by Stacy Aguilar of Janie Bird & Co.