Cultivated: A business and a dream

Cultivated's storefront. (Mikayla Whitehead / McDaniel Free Press).

When walking up to Cultivated’s storefront, customers are greeted by a welcome sign and plants. Once inside, they can instantly tell what the store is all about because of the colorful and unique displays. Cultivated sells clothes, jewelry, bath products, room decor, and stationary with a bohemian chic style.

In the ever-growing hip atmosphere of Westminster’s Main Street, a new small business opened in October of 2015. Tiombe Paige opened Cultivated, which was a dream she had starting in her early 20s to remedy the fact that Westminster had no real boutiques that were targeting the younger demographic.

Her goal with the store was to create an Anthropolgie-meets-Francesca’s vibe.

“I really wanted the ‘cool factor’ and to be the neighborhood place to go,” Paige said.

Her customers say she has met and exceeded this expectation.

Tiombe Page. (Mikayla Whitehead / McDaniel Free Press).

Tiombe Page. (Mikayla Whitehead / McDaniel Free Press).

“I get a homey and uplifting vibe from the store,” said Lauren Heineman, a visitor of Cultivated. “To make this atmosphere successfully, I think she had to carefully choose a color palette as well as arrange the layout to make it feel welcoming. [Paige] also had to select specific pieces to sell in the store that were in familiar styles to create a certain aesthetic.”

For Paige, a typical workday starts 2 hours before her store even opens, when she tackles her administrative tasks, finds new products, and develops advertising.

“Once the business opens, I work in my business, devoting time to customers – getting to know them, engaging in conversation, essentially just making friends,” Paige said. “Customer service is very important to having a successful company.”

Paige’s customers are well aware and grateful for the effort she and her employees put into customer service.

“They were very friendly and knew how to get the customers’ attention,” said customer Audrey McComas. “Good customer service is being able to help the customers even if it doesn’t lead to them buying the products. And good customer service makes me more willing to return.”

Overall, Paige’s dedication to her business outside of open hours and her exemplary customer service skills led to her success as an independent small business owner.

Her advice, however, to young entrepreneurs wanting to get a start on their business may seem contrary to common wisdom.

“The advice I normally give is not to open a business just to be your own boss. You work harder for yourself than you will for anyone else.”

Instead, Paige recommends starting a business if you have a deep passion for something and feel that it will make the world a better place.