Intentional is the right word to describe local boutique Driftwood Beach Home and Garden.
The average customer might not notice the detail owner Heather Rippy has poured into her shop but every inch is representative of who she is.
During the season, Rippy sells flowers grown in the back of the shop in honor of her love for botany. Driftwood also offers cooking and art classes in honor of her love for education. She features different international products because of her love for travel.
But mostly, Rippy puts forth her passion for supporting small businesses by creating a hub for local artists to sell their work.
Driftwood Beach Home and Garden features art from over 35 local artists and a few international artists as well. Rippy said that her mission with the shop is to carefully curate each item and bring awareness to unique artists and small businesses locally and from around the world.
“I do like people to understand the message of small businesses that support other small businesses,” said Rippy. “It's a harder business to run, but it's so much more meaningful, and I think it's better for so many people. You benefit so many people.”
Rippy said it was fairly easy to build a network of local artists using resources like social media and living in an artsy area.
Former dental hygienist Stephanie Troxler now sells her art, Little Blue Designs, full time at the shop. Driftwood’s top-selling artist, Barbara Schwan, didn’t start painting until her 60s during her treatment for breast cancer. She now makes jewelry boxes and other goods along with her watercolor paintings.
Peg Stanton teaches Rippy’s daughter oil painting along with selling her work in the shop. Rippy said there are almost 40 local artists and she can’t wait to continue to grow that network.
“It's just so fun to watch the artists grow since I met them,” said Rippy. “A lot of them are my neighbors or friends of friends. They started selling their art here as a hobby and they have creatively grown so much throughout that time.”
She tries her best to feature different types of art including paintings, pottery, fashion and artisan goods. Highlighting female artists and female-owned businesses is another mission Rippy holds dear to her heart when it comes to curating her shop.
“It's challenging to be an artist and sell your work yourself,” said Rippy. “It can be really hard. Where do they sell it? Do they have to go to a gallery? Do they have to set up at a farmers market every Saturday? Most artists just want to make. So being able to provide a home for them and it's just, to me, so much more meaningful. You're not just supporting my family, but like loads of little businesses all over. And then local artists too.”
Petra Rivera is the Longboat community reporter. She holds a bachelor’s degree of journalism with an emphasis on reporting and writing from the University of Missouri. Previously, she was a food and drink writer for Vox magazine as well as a reporter for the Columbia Missourian.