Check out this cute, curated Humboldt, Iowa brick and mortar home decor boutique! The owner has a special connection to South Africa (her husband!) and enjoys the “buy local” movement sweeping the nation and the community connection it provides.
Where are you located? Tell me a bit about your journey owning a brick and mortar business.
I’ve lived in Humboldt for almost 4 years now and opened my business, The Protea Collective in Humboldt in September 2023.
What does your family look like? Humans and not.
My little family includes my husband, Wernich, better known as “Van” and our fur babies including two very energetic puppies, Stella and Rueben and our sweet cat Lily.
Iowa State Cyclones or Iowa Hawkeyes? (Or favorite team?)
Loyal Forever True, it is my alma mater after all!
What made you decide to start this business?
I always knew I wanted to have a shop of my own. What that would look like has evolved over the years but I finally decided to take the leap, knowing if I didn’t it would always be something I regretted.
Why has this been a good fit for you?
This has allowed me to combine my loves of working with people and tapping into my creativity.
If you could choose one treat what would it be?
For anyone who knows me I think that’s an easy one–ice cream. I don’t know if it’s coincidence that I’m located so close to dairy queen. 😉
What have been some struggles with starting this business?
Knowing how much and what to buy. I’m still learning more about what my customers are looking for and what there is a demand for. As I’m getting to know my customers better it is always fun when I see something and think this customer would love this!
What has been the most rewarding part of your business?
Hands down the customers! Getting to know more people in the community has been so fun! I love helping customers coming in to look for a gift or hearing how much they loved their recent purchase. Total day maker! Giving back is also something that is very important to me and being able to give back to the community has been incredibly rewarding!
Beach or mountain? Why?
After the recent cold front my mind is going straight to the beach. Put me by the water and I’m a happy gal!
How do you do what you do with your business? How does it work?
Like most businesses starting out, I’m wearing most of the hats! I’m slowly learning to ask for help but I like to have my hands in all the projects.
What hasn’t worked?
I initially struggled to find a space for my business but once the old Caribbean Coffeehouse space became available it all started falling into place.
What else are you doing that is awesome?
In December I hosted some classes at the shop including a candle making class with Candle Creek Farms, charcuterie board class with Monse Charcuterie & Boards and crafts and cocktails with the Humboldt Area Arts Council.
These were so fun to host and have also given me the opportunity to work with other small business owners and organizations to help showcase there talents. I have a few classes planned for Spring so far, including a cake decorating class with Sweet Snax on February 10th and a Spring Dish Garden Class with Iowa Family Gardening Homestead on March 23rd.
What have you learned now that you didn’t know before?
Oh gosh, the list could go on and on. I’m learning something new every day–probably the most learning has been in regards to social media. That is not my comfort zone so when I made my first reel I was pretty proud. Baby steps! haha
Favorite thing to do in your free time?
Spending time with family (fur babies included) & friends, cooking and antiquing.
What piece of advice would you give to yourself when you started this business?
Do it scared! We were at the shop until 2 am the night before opening and I remember asking my husband–am I crazy? What have I done? Anything worth it in life is scary! You got this!
What is the next thing you are wanting to pursue?
I just want to focus on getting my footing here and continuing to make it better as I learn along the way!
Favorite thing to make for dinner?
We make lots of curry at our house, but I also love a good stuffed manicotti!
What is something unique about The Protea Collective?
Shopping local and shopping small have really been catching on. I try to do the same as I’m selecting products and companies to carry. My husband is from South Africa and so having the shop has also given me the opportunity to introduce some South African products that we love to the community.
How do we find out more about you? Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Etsy. Give me all of the ways to see your business/products!
Other Local Entrepreneurs & Homestead Information from the Iowa Family Gardening Homestead
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Listen to, and follow God’s instructions for YOUR life.
This is the start of something GOOD! (I can tell!)