Local Buy: Covet Atelier
Covet Atelier became an official physical shop on July 14th in one of Charlotte's more artisan neighborhoods, Central. Owned and ran by Kim Pace, it's one of the first shops in my neighborhood that caters to the demographic interested in home decor with local personal touches. In other words, San Francisco has General Store and Charlotte has Covet Atelier.
MW: Tell me a little bit about yourself; where/why did you start this career path?
KP: I'm a North Carolina native, born and raised in the Piedmont. I've always been intrigued by stories, which incited my love of learning and books as a child, but even more so, the history/story behind objects and their significance to those who use them, make them, and share them is what I love the most.
In a way, I think I've always wanted to "create a story" with a collective of sorts, but it took some time for me to figure out what I wanted that to look/feel like and say.
I've spent the last 11 years teaching English/Literature – again stories & story re-tellings – but within the past 3 years, Covet started to come into view.
I knew I wanted to focus on Carolinian-made products, and I knew I wanted to share the stories of the makers who devote their time & livelihoods to making; from there, Covet Atelier was born.
MW: How would you describe Covet Atelier to someone who has never heard of it before?
KP: I always tell people that the shop is a collective of makers and artisans from the Carolinas, and that I focus on curating "heritage crafts" done in a more modern way or for a modern audience. I try to represent all mediums of making – textiles, ceramics, wood working, metal smithing, apothecary, etc. – and strive to have something for everyone.
MW: Embracing local makers is important to you, why is that?
KP: Because I truly believe that makers & artists are the modern story tellers of our time. Instead of using words in a traditional story-telling manner, they use their hands, their skills, and their knowledge to carry on the heritage and tradition of making that runs deep in the veins of the Carolinas. I also feel strongly about providing sustainability and income to small businesses and entrepreneurs.
MW: If you were to have your own in-house brand, what would you start with?
KP: That's a hard question because I feel like I curate & choose the items in the shop so carefully and with Covet's brand/customer always in mind, but I absolutely LOVE ceramics, especially tableware. Customizing a tableware line of Carolina-made ceramics for Covet Atelier would be delightful and dreamy.
MW: 5 things you're currently into right now:
KP: I've been listening to Jessie Ware and the new Urban Flora EP a lot lately.
I can't seem to drink enough Hex Coffee; I'm seriously in love with everything they do!
This summer I've been loving beautifully photographed cookbooks – just got Toast and Pørridge.
I've also been loving fresh, interesting takes on a gin + tonic, with herbs and local fruit or homemade shrubs, and the humidity we have here in the summer makes a good excuse to drink them a lot!
MW: Why did you chose Charlotte, NC as the home of your first brick and mortar?
KP: It was important to me to create a space like Covet Atelier in the city I've made my home for the last 11 years. Also, Charlotte and this region is rich with artists and makers, but I don't think Charlotte is "known" for that like other cities are. I hope in a small way Covet Atelier can help bring that artisanal knowledge and support to Charlotte.
MW: If you could give another fellow lady a piece of career advice, what would it be?
KP: Trust yourself and give yourself lots of space to dream, plan, fail, and then do it all over again. No one gets anywhere overnight (not matter how it looks from the outside), and I think the process – the long story – is most important in making up who you are.
Covet Atelier is located right off Central Ave ( 909 Central Ave, Suite 1) conveniently next to an ice-cream shop and across the street from a coffee house. If you're in town on Friday 8/25, Morgan from Two Fold Clothing (who I've interviewed for MW before too) is hosting her Fall/Winter launch party at Covet Atelier starting at 6pm!
The shop features many artists and Kim is growing her collection of makers almost weekly, so here are just a few that she has in store now:
Shibui South - linen indigo hand towels | Windblown Jewelry - handmade jewelry made in Raleigh, NC (I got a knot stackable ring that I haven't taken off since I got it) | Geoflora Jewelry - handmade jewelry made in Charlotte, NC | Peppertrain - handmade bead jewelry | Meraki - artisan weaving | Beautiful Idiot Clothing - clothing and accessories handmade in Charlotte NC (Kimonos and ties @ Covet Atelier) | Andrea Watson - minimalist jewelry handcrafted in Wilmington, NC | Weird Empire - based out of Charlotte, NC (pencil set and pins @ Covet Atelier) | Batch - chocolate bars | Lina Lav - ceramic planters, plates and mugs | Matt Hallyburton - handmade ceramics from Durham, NC (tbh I have my eyes on a set of ceramic plates from MH) | Spoon and Hook - handmade wooden wares from Asheville, NC | Torches Ceremonial - sage and sustainable smokes | Lllilll Stitches - Hand embroidered home decor | Gem Ceramics - table and home ceramics | Hommage Goods - Candles (I would like to say that I bought their Snoqualmie candle and have burned it almost everyday since I got it! I'm a huge fan of candles [dear friends I love you but, please stop giving me candles for my birthday... it's predictable now] and this one is definitely in my top 5!)