Small Business Spotlight: Relish, Madison
by Stephen McDill
Published: July 4,2010
Relish, secretaries of the interior
If there’s a need to re-decorate your old house or just decorate a new house, this is the place
Relish, a furniture dealer and gift shop located on U.S. 51 between Madison and Gluckstadt, may be off the beaten path, but co-owners Kathy Cotten and her daughter Kayce Saik are already in their third year of business giving customers a place where they can buy something to cherish and treasure, something to relish.
“I guess we really felt like this area was where everything was going,” Cotten said. “There were already several businesses like ours in Madison and we just felt like, you know, Madison can’t go anywhere but this direction.”
One thing that sets Relish a part is that Cotten and Saik sport extensive backgrounds in interior design. Both women, while forgoing traditional academic degrees in the field, have built solid reputations and earned respect in their community for their gifts and abilities. While checking out one customer, Cotten trades hometown news while giving an impromptu consultation, telling the young mother to rip out anything in a magazine that she might like for her remodeled bedroom.
Whatever it is, from new constructions to old homes, Cotten said Saik could tackle it. “My daughter has a very good natural eye for decor,” she said. Interior design services they provide range from changing paint colors in rooms to homemade feng shui where they select or rearrange furniture for a home.
Relish is a good front for Saik’s interior design business, and clients wanting to spruce up their homes frequently use the store for much on their shopping list. The signature selling items at Relish are its collection of “distressed” furniture- armoires, tables and china cabinets that are aged using paint and reclaimed raw materials, giving them a nostalgic “lived in and comfortable look” that Cotten said is very popular.
“The distress look is our look,” she said. “You don’t come here for real, refined, polished furniture. We wanted something that if you bought a nice piece and your grandkid ran into it, you could just touch it up. People think it’s good for the economy; they’re not cutting any new trees down plus it’s got a little bit of history to it.”
Cotten gets down from a chair where she was nailing giant metal alphabet letters to the wall, letters, she said, that were handcrafted from reclaimed tin. She motions to a large mirror sitting at the foot of the checkout desk, adding that it was made from an old, front porch railing, railing that could have come from an antebellum home anywhere in the country. A nearby table for sale was crafted out of a beam found in a forgotten barnyard in Missouri.
For customers wanting something smaller and more intimate, Relish also has an assortment of gifts that appeal to all of the senses from confectionary scented soy candles to decorative wine stoppers. Cotten proudly points out the crafts that are made in Mississippi including paintings from Ridgeland and brightly colored ceramics and faux finishings from Brookhaven.
While Cotten believes word-of-mouth is still the best advertisement strategy, Relish has attempted a few other promotional endeavors. Cotten said the store has participated in Handworks Arts & Crafts, an event held each fall at the Mississippi Trademart in Jackson, as well as other avenues.
Cotten gives credit to their regular clientele for keeping them going in spite of the economic downturn. “They come back and they send their friends, and little by little we’re kind of getting our name out there,” she said. “There’s been slow times, but I guess we really haven’t felt it like obviously a lot of other businesses. I guess the good Lord is keeping us above water.”
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