Summer 2015
Welcome Home: Monica Potter Home strives to make guests feel comfortable By Julie McCallum

Monica Potter at her store Monica Potter Home near Cleveland. Photo: Monica Potter Home
Monica Potter at her store Monica Potter Home near Cleveland. Photo: Monica Potter Home

Meeting Monica Potter at her store is like seeing an old friend. A friend who has been busy creating her own line of handcrafted home and beauty products. A friend who decided to open a store a few months ago and is super excited to show it to you. A friend who is exhausted because she’s been prepping for a big store event — one that is supposed to take place the next day but the local newspaper accidentally announced it was today. So after dealing with that minor crisis, your friend is so glad to be able to sit down with a cup of tea and chat.

Monica Potter Home is the mission and vision of actress Monica Potter. Born and raised in Cleveland, Potter found success in Hollywood as a film and television actress, most recently on the NBC series “Parenthood.” Her heart, though, has always been in Ohio, and it was a dream of hers to start her own line of home and beauty products.

She began her line of home goods in 2012. “I have always dreamed of some day making my own goods that celebrate a simple, honest and beautiful approach to homemaking. Each product is developed and naturally made by artisans in the Ohio Valley,” she said.

Prior to February, her products could only be purchased through her website, But after a grand opening in sub-zero temperatures, her flagship store was officially open. Located 4 miles outside of downtown Garrettsville and less than an hour from Cleveland, the store is not only a destination for her fans but a well-merchandised gift shop with a variety of country-inspired home décor products. The antique furniture displays and crystal chandeliers set the perfect vintage chic vibe. In addition to her signature line of home and beauty products, the inventory mix includes paper and stationery, kitchen textiles, children’s gifts, wall art, jewelry and hair accessories.

When she is in Ohio, which is often, she’s hustling around the store, adjusting merchandise, greeting customers and suggesting items for the perfect gift. But she doesn’t just say hello and pose for a pic. She asks about how you and your family are and where you are from. And if you’re hungry she’ll recommend a great place to eat just down the road in Garrettsville.

Her store has been a saving grace to the town of Garrettsville, where a downtown fire last year took out an entire block of businesses. Prior to the fire, Potter had a partnership with a storeowner in Garrettsville to make her candles. That business, owned by Stephanie Dietelbach, and all of Potter’s candle-making supplies were lost in the fire. Dietelbach decided not to rebuild her former store, but instead go into business with Potter. If they had to start over with the candle-making supplies, why not set up a flagship store, too. They found the perfect location in an old antique store just north of town — one that had room in the back for a workshop to produce the products and room to grow. Plans are underway to expand the production space even more, Potter said.

This growth in Garrettsville and in the Ohio Valley is what Monica Potter is all about. When she launched Monica Potter Home in 2012, she began working with local artisans and craftspeople to produce a line that celebrated a simple, honest and beautiful approach to homemaking.

“It is very near and dear to my heart for many reasons, especially because it allows me to return to the community that gave me so much,” she said. “Each product is developed and naturally made by the hardworking people of the Ohio Valley, bringing jobs to the place I still call home.”

We sat down with Potter at her store and talked about her product line, the store and her mission to support local artisans.

GS: How do you want customers to feel when they walk in your store?

MP: Comfortable. I want them to feel at home.

Monica Potter Home is the mission and vision of actress Monica Potter. Photo: Leigh Jajuga
Monica Potter Home is the mission and vision of actress Monica Potter. Photo: Leigh Jajuga

GS: What is your favorite product right now?

MP: I love our textiles. The handcrafted textile collection has my new Japanese cut signature apron with oversized pockets and a special pocket in the front made out of eyelet fabric so you can hear your phone. High-tech!

GS: What are your plans for seasonal product lines?

MP: I’m really excited about our new Seasons in a Box, which we’ve trademarked. It is a subscription-based service where customers can get a box with all the essentials for that season delivered to their home to make it look very festive, comforting and inviting. The seasonal products are my favorite. These past couples of cycles we’ve had a really good run with the fall and winter products. I’m really excited about this coming year.

GS: What are your plans for wholesale and licensing?

MP: I want to start out in Ohio, it’s important to me, and branch out from there. We just spoke with Ritzman Pharmacy, a 26-store pharmacy chain in Ohio and we’ve had asks from other stores. As far as licensing, I want to maintain the integrity of the brand. I don’t want to hurt the quality of the product. The way the consumers buy it now, to sell on a larger scale might change that. I want to take very good care of the product and make sure that stays intact.

GS: Do you go to any trade shows?

MP: Yes! We’ve been to several: Las Vegas, two in California, a few local gift shows. We’ll probably be at some in late summer or early fall. They are so much fun. I learn so much from the other business owners. There is so much more to learn.

GS: How do you pick the products from other artisans that you sell in your store?

MP: We’re very picky about who we team up with, but very open to anyone. I love people who take pride in their work. For some people that’s their only source of income. To me, that’s true to who we are. It’s exciting to team up with them.

Julie McCallum

Julie McCallum is publisher of Gift Shop Magazine. She is formerly the editor-in-chief of the publication, as well as editor of Museums & More, and she has more than 25 years experience in publishing.

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