Gail Silverstein, the owner and operator of Urban Cottage, reflected to Deep South Social the insights of owning her own small business with her daughter over the past eighteen years. The creative lifestyle boutique nestled in Virginia Highlands is know for offering a cozy atmosphere for selling unique homeware and gifts created by local artists and craftsmen.
What inspired you to start Urban Cottage? How did you decide on the name?
I have always loved home decor and making my surroundings comfortable. As far back as I can remember whether it was watching my mom make our house a home or sewing drapes in college, I was involved in making interior spaces "home". And when it came to choosing the name, it was easy. It was a cottage in the city. So, hence Urban Cottage.
What do you love about being a shop owner? Is there anything you don’t like?
What I like about owning a shop is I get to do what I like for the most part. And I love watching it grow. But the most gratifying part is developing long-standing relations with customers who come back over our 18 years and sometimes bring their children who are now building their homes. It is a good feeling to know they are loyal and appreciate our sincere efforts to maintain our integrity and give outstanding customer service. We are a family business and that is utmost importance to us.
What are your top five favorite product categories to pick out?
I truly love tabletop. Our categories have expanded since moving to Virginia Highlands so it has been fun to expand this area. Besides tabletop, furnishings and lighting is another favorite along with books. I enjoy perusing through the books before ordering and making sure the illustrations show well.
What do you want to share about Urban Cottage?
Urban Cottage is definitely a labor of love. Over the past 18 years we have weathered ups and downs. It has definitely evolved from our "little cottage" in Buckhead. Our items have expanded as well as our services; our interior design service has grown as well as our customer base. Urban Cottage's parent company uses old barn wood to create beautiful pieces of furniture as well as picture frames and other items. We have local carpenters and metal workers who create custom pieces.
What are the ‘goals’ for your brand and where do you see Urban Cottage in the next couple of years?
We have and will continue to increase our “Kids” section. We hope that more people will come to know that this family business is worthy of receiving their business.
Why do you carry southern made and designed goods? What is your favorite southern food, recipe, or town?
We love carrying southern made goods, because we support local and other small businesses. And we want to support these creators. Charleston, SC is my favorite southern spot. It offers so much history and culture. Plus it is by the water, a real love of mine.
Urban Cottage is a fantastic venue for not only selling one of a kind items, but also a place for other small-businesses to come together and find support. It is exciting to see mature businesses still evolving and planning for the future like Urban Cottage. It is no wonder Urban Cottage has become a staple in so many people's lives.