Maplewood’s ‘Shed’ from wRiter to wRetailer

By mark-slade March 26, 2011

‘Shed’ Owner Decorates and Blogs Her Way Through Recession

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Cindy Potters went from writing about decorating to actually doing it.
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Cindy Potters went from writing about home decorating to decorating and selling home decor. She incorporates her writing into her business with a blog about the store and the homes she’s helped decorate.
For more than 10 years, Millburn-based writer Cindy Potters described the interiors of homes for newspapers and magazines, getting a chance to see and write about some of the most beautiful, interesting or unusual decorating the area has to offer.
But, like a lot of writers, there came a time when she was no longer satisfied with writing about what others were doing; she wanted to get out and do something herself.
About that time,  she saw a tiny, empty storefront on Baker Street in Maplewood for rent. It didn’t look like much, and it sat on the market for awhile.
“I must have driven by it for about six months before I decided to check into it,” she said.
Every day that she drove by, she said,  it made her think about what she thought was the logical next step – opening a home decorating store.
So she took the leap – right in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression – she opened Shed, the Eclectic Home.
“I know; not the smartest time to open a store,” she said. “But we’re hanging in there.”
Part of what’s kept her store afloat in this economy as been her writing and decorating skills. She blogs about the store and about decorating – still venturing into people’s homes, taking pictures and writing about them, highlighting decorating tips and items you can buy in her store.
In addition, she said, she is finally putting all that decorating she learned while writing about to good use – contracting out services in Millburn, Short Hills, Maplewood and South Orange.
“It seemed like a natural progression,” she said. “If I hadn’t written about it all those years, I wouldn’t have the store, and if I didn’t have store, (the decorating) would never happen.”
It’s all coming together, she said.
“I’m getting into a groove where I know what my customers want and I buy with that in mind,” she said. “Sure, there are days when I worry about the economy and about the world and about it all, but that’s what I do. I worry.”
But most days, she’s just happy to open the store, greet customers and blog in the back during her down time.
Her little shop is crammed from floor to ceiling with eclectic modern and vintage  home furnishings and knick knacks – from glazed ostrich eggs to cowhide rugs to hand-stitched pillows and hand carved footstools from Africa.
It’s become a place where some of her customers and friends like to hang out with a cup of tea or coffee.
“I love it. I wake up in the morning and can’t get here fast enough,” she said. “I love working with my customers and finding what something special that works in their home that they love.”
Patricia Bell, a South Orange art collector and regular Shed customer, stopped by this week for a chat and wound up buying the ostrich eggs, a tin peace sign light and a purple throw pillow.
“It’s my all-time favorite store,” Bell said. “It’s as if it opened up just for me.”