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Some four years ago when the housing industry crashed, Araya Jensen was laid off from her job as a kitchen and bath designer. During her downtime, she put together gift baskets for her friends to give to clients and in the process found herself searching for colorful wooden spoons to complete the package.
Nothing she found was quite right, so she decided to customize wooden spoons herself, dipping the ends in brightly colored rubber to give them a comfortable, non-slip grip as well as a pop of color.
“With kitchen and bath design, function comes first,” Jensen says, “and if it can be pretty on top of that, it’s a bonus.”
The spoons were a hit, and she quickly expanded into making bowls and other home goods, officially launching the Wind & Willow brand and taking wholesale orders in 2012.
Recently, Jensen was looking for a new studio workspace when she found a cute brick storefront in Minneapolis’ Tangletown neighborhood. Boasting big windows, plentiful natural light, and tall ceilings, it was the perfect space to showcase her product line.
The new retail space has the added benefit of giving Jensen a direct line to her customers.
“The great part about retail is it offers a chance to gauge people’s reactions,” she says. “It’s a great learning experience.”
The showroom also has launched her new line of soft goods, and shoppers have been especially receptive to the kaleidoscopic, hand-dyed throw pillows. Much like her spoons gave her erstwhile gift baskets their finishing touch, Jensen’s pillows offer the perfect punctuation mark to a room.
Wind & Willow
319 W. 48th St., Mpls.