Have you ever been driving along a road with shops and then you see one that stands out? One that you are immediately drawn to; you just need to see what is inside? That was All Its Own for me. "There's this store I want to go to. I don't know the name but its by that bridal store- it looks really cool and we've never been in it". Tyler had no idea what I was talking about but he played along.
We entered the small shop on Colfax and were immediately thankful we made the stop in. The walls were covered with greenery and paintings. Succulents and air plants of different shapes and textures lined the shelves. There were homemade jams and bath salts...and pots of all sizes made of concrete. After moving into our home, I made it priority to have plants. Sadly, I do not posses a green thumb, so succulents and air plants are what I have started with...Oh! and a Ginseng tree. I have managed to keep that alive too.
The succulents we had purchased some weeks back were starting to develop and we knew that new pots would be needed soon. After visiting William's shop we knew exactly where we would purchase them from. He had tall cement pots, round ones, ones dipped in water colors, others molded by juice bottles, some with sea glass with a variety of colors and others with only green. At the time, what Tyler and I had envisioned was not readily available. Despite this, William happily obliged to make custom pots which would be ready in two weeks or less. Let me tell you, it is one thing to find a beautiful gift of a store, its something completely different to then have the owner personally create exactly what you were looking for. I left an incredibly happy camper.
Our custom pots.
I sat down with William in his cozy shop on a Friday afternoon. He had an oil diffuser rolling and the lights turned off, allowing the natural sunlight to fill the room. I asked him to tell me about himself and asked the question that most, if not all Coloradans will ask you. Are you a Native?
William: I'm from California. Los Angeles area.
Nandi: I bet people ask you all the time why you left!
William: I needed a change. I graduated from college and needed something new.
He went on to tell me about the friendship he had made in college with a girl who was originally from Colorado. After graduating they decided to come back to Colorado, choosing Fort Collins as their landing. Having a degree in business William's first job post-grad was a position at Wells Fargo bank. Needless to say, this was not the right fit. After a year here he ended up working for a patron of Wells, selling air plants. He moved to Denver for a more diverse scene and spent some time working for Rikki's Tropicals and 5 Green Boxes, home goods stores downtown. Over time he worked some of his cement pots into Rikki's. While the change from Wells Fargo was great, he knew he wanted something more.
Nandi: How did you come up with the name All Its Own?
William: I picked it in college when I was setting up an Etsy store. All Its Own... being unique, one of a kind, recycled materials, new life, useful and beautiful.
Nandi: What did you want to do when you were younger?
(I have a deep curiosity to know how many people follow the inner child into adulthood. Personally, I feel as though we reach maximum happiness this way)
William: I was home-schooled. I liked being creative and working with my hands. I built a tree house with my father and worked in the garden with my mother. My mom is creative and my dad is an up-cycler.
Nandi: What was it like being home-schooled? Did you like it?
William: Yeah. You have to teach yourself and be able to learn for yourself. It allowed me to put time into my interests and pursue those things. Its given me the ability and confidence to keep doing those things and its nice to be able to share. I started making cement pots as a high school kid. I was always interested in plants and I played with succulents. Cement is always different. It lends itself to the imagination and if the plant dies, you still have the pot.
William had mentioned earlier that he had worked his personal products into the shop that he had worked at before. If you check out his site: all-its-own.com you will find that his products can be found outside of his personal shop. I wanted to know more about how he got going. If you do not currently have the funds or means to open your own stand alone store, William has some advice on where to get started...
William: I joined a group for handmade vendors on Facebook and got involved in shows. While there I would ask the people on my right and left what other shows they were involved in or knew about. The big ones can be expensive but you also get more traffic. While you're there other businesses will approach you. I started by doing wholesale (having his products sold at other locations). It's a good way to get customers. People see you elsewhere so you get more contact. Now, people will go into a store where I have products and will seek the shop out afterwards.
William's products can be found at the Denver Botanical Gardens as well as shops in Boulder and Arvada (check out the site for more information!)
Nandi: What sacrifices have you made since opening?
William: I don't have a regular income. I can't just go [and work an eight hour day] and get paid. I'm making stuff, selling it and making connections. I am responsible for if I get paid. There is always something to be doing [but] I have a busy personality so I never get bored.
Nandi: What advice do you have for someone looking to open up their own business?
William: Don't worry about all the little things. You don't have to know everything before you start. A lot of knowledge unfolds along the way. It takes a lot of hats, you have to be able to be disciplined...because you have to. Get help. Do research. Be persistent. Then you get the rewards.
All Its Own opened in Spring of 2017 and has showcased many local vendors an artists outside of William's own work. If you are a Colorado artist or vendor looking for a place to showcase your work or product, I encourage you to reach out! Before doing so, make sure to check out his site to ensure that your style and his will be a good fit.
With Fall and Winter just around the corner, All Its Own is a great place to find beautiful and unique gifts for just about anyone in your family. William has a lot of great knowledge about the plants that he has in his shop as well as how to care for them. Plants not your thing? All Its Own also offers handmade scarves and loofahs made by William's mother, as well as fragrant candles, moss balls (see photos below) and other exquisite handmade items created by Colorado locals.
Check him out!