We discovered Calhoun & Co. a few months ago when we came across their "Good at Naps" throw and fell in love immediately. And once I found out that the owners were a duo, I adored the shop even more. I'm a total sucker for business partnerships and knew we needed to reach out for them to participate in our dynamic duos series.
Abby and Kerry grew up as next door neighbors on a cul-de-sac. They were born two weeks apart and have literally know each other since diapers. Growing up they went on all sorts of adventures, made up their own games, played dress up and with barbies for probably more hours than any other girls and dabbled into plenty of random creative little projects.
Abby says that Kerry was always her most artistic friend and she always envied her talent. But anytime they spent drawing and creating on their living room floors or driveways with chalk, Kerry always cheered Abby on — no matter how bad my take on bugs bunny or a simple flower was.
The two always knew somehow they would be able to put their noggins together and do something creative but just weren't sure what exactly it would be. It took them about 28 years, but here they are!
Calhoun & Co. is a home accessories brand that represents what Abby + Kerry would want in their own homes, inspired by their friendship and the street they grew up on, which, by the way — is Calhoun Ave.
How do you collaborate together?
Abby: Every way we can! My favorite time is the hours we spend talking through concepts and product ideas - being dreamers if you will. We spend most of our meetings at Kerry's kitchen table with her faithful companion (dog) Slug literally kissing our feet as we gab away on the creative elements as well as the numbers and goals. Our first assortment was a combination of a little humor, some positive nods and a dash of trends we are seeing out there. Based on the success of our first pieces we immediately started texting and emailing and chatting about new ideas and stories to tell. We set some goals for the year both personal and for the business and landed more established roles that make sense with our time we have outside of our other jobs. The best part of this all is just learning along the way and supporting each other every single step.
Kerry: We try and meet in person at least once a week. Sometimes that meeting consists of taking photos, and planning out social media, and new designs (which is super fun), and sometimes it means packing up orders, managing inventory, and planning — which, with a partner is ALSO super fun. I have a design background, and Abby has such great taste. So I like to show her a bunch of ideas I'm working on and she's great to bounce things off of and figure out the next thing. We're both about having fun together, keeping it lighthearted and positive. We love to laugh, and we figure why wouldn't we have that vibe in our brand.
Why did you decide to do what you do as a duo versus going solo?
Abby: Kerry really came to the table with a product she was inspired to create, which we ended up nixing, but lead us to what Calhoun & Co. is. The story and soul behind the brand is really about a partnership that started on Calhoun Avenue and without each other the brand and products wouldn't come alive.
Kerry: I mean — it's just so much more fun working with a friend on this stuff. Texting each other every time a new order comes in, talking about new ideas, planning photos. Two is better than 1. We keep each other motivated and inspired, and that just rocks.
What’s one challenge you have you faced in collaborating?
Abby: Just not having enough time! I currently have another job and getting the time after work and on the weekends never feels like enough. But I love every minute we spend together! Nothing is more motivating than working along side one of your best friends who is creative, has so much knowledge to share on building a brand, keeps it fun and is up for the challenge.
Kerry: Honestly scheduling has been difficult. We would both LOVE to be spending all of our time on Calhoun & Co., but we both still have jobs — so that can be really hard. Especially when we're trying to get something rolling, but just can't find a time that week to meet up in person and chat it out & look at designs and such. We've definitely MADE time to work on Calhoun & Co., but it's definitely not always as easy as we'd like. Sometimes it feels like it can hold things up a little, but we keep moving forward and that's all that matters.
What’s surprised you most about your partnership?
Abby: How easy it truly has been. You hear a lot about friends in business and how relationships can take a turn over a business. But we vowed that Calhoun and Co. is about keeping it positive, being supportive, having a sense of humor all while taking some risks and being creative and so far every moment has felt that way. I'm not really that surprised because that's how we have always been. Even the time when we were maybe 10 years old and we were attempting to build who knows what in the woods and I swung my hammer back and knocked Kerry in her front teeth. In between a few tears and me feeling like a complete you know what, Kerry was laughing and trying to brush off the accident. I don't think too many friends would take getting knocked in the teeth too lightly.
Kerry: Kind of that it's just taken off so fast. We just launched in September and we blew through our first rounds of production so much faster than we expected. It was kind of like- wow, OK....this is working.
Who’s your favorite dynamic duo? Fiction or nonfiction. Why?
Abby: Great question! Maybe Tommy and Richard from Tommy Boy. As opposite as Chris Farley's and David Spade's character were, besides the fact that they were hilarious, they were able to succeed by utilizing what each other them was good at, compromising and running with it! I think some of our fellow Calhoun Avenue pals would be proud to hear this duo listed :)
Kerry: This is tough.... I'm inspired by a lot of people & partnerships.... I really admire the girls from Show Me your Mumu... they seem to have such great personalities and have such a fun laid back vibe. I also appreciate that their brand is made in the US.
Also... Romy and Michelle from Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion..... they certainly know how to have a good time.