A few weeks ago they were household engineers, domestic divas, family managers. Many days were fairly busy and mostly fulfilling, but boredom was often along for the ride. Other days, especially with the kids’ return to school, their thoughts would go to careers they once had — or might have again.
Melissa Puppos, a onetime color and trim designer for the two of the Big 3 automakers, called them the “twiddle-your-thumbs” days.
Now, those days are gone. Puppos, two of her close friends, and a handful of other moms who opted out of careers as marketers, designers, legal secretaries and graphic artists have found business bliss by putting their skills to use at Adore Eclectic Interiors, a new home consignment store in Grosse Pointe Woods.
“It’s perfect. I get to use my interior design background again. If the kids need me, I’m close. The women I work with are friends and we’re all busy moms. We work together on our hours at the store so that we can get the kids where they need to be and have a job we love, said Puppos, mom to a 13-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter. “It’s just such a perfect fit. I can’t say it enough.”
Adore, which combines style and affordability in its highly selective merchandise and advice from the design-loving women who work there, opened last month. Many of the consigned goods come from homes undergoing re-decorating or downsizing.
The store is arranged in vignettes that put the merchandise in room ready arrangements. It's a favorite job of the designing women, who are paid by the hour.
Lamps, vases, artwork, mirrors, light fixtures, dishes, bowls, large and small furniture fill the store and change often as consignees agree to share 50 percent of the sales price of the home goods they no longer need or want.
Prices can be as low as $4.99 for a painted box and $15.99 for a bottle with a metal bird stopper, to $749 for an antique Sherrill sofa and $849 for an antique pine school desk from Georgia.
Marleen Prater, Adore’s owner, has a team of creative women who know how to design a room and have the know-how to update, repurpose and stylize things people no longer want or need. On the team are women with interior design degrees, communications backgrounds, a furniture painter and a rug expert.
She started an affordable re-decorating business, Remixed Rooms, when her children were nearing the end of elementary school. That led to the opening of a consignment store in Canton, which she sold last spring when she moved to Grosse Pointe.
When she saw the lack of a high-end, affordable decorating store in the Pointes and realized she “was spending too much time making friends with the squirrel in the back yard,” she began to seek out moms, who like herself, love making homes beautiful and need to step off the domestic treadmill.
“I was really fortunate to get a hold of these creative people,” she says. “And they were so eager to work and do something they loved and get out of the house, they didn’t even ask how much the pay was.”
Puppos and her friends, Amy Hicks and Kathryn Salisbury, say they are both grateful and giddy over finding work they want to do in a job that’s flexible enough to let them still be head chef and chauffeur for the family and close to home.
“I thought it would be fabulous. I was looking to get into something creative,” Puppos said.
She left her job with General Motors Corp. a year ago. Before that she worked several years in color in trim design for Ford Motor Co.
“I needed to be home with my kids again. They needed me. It was tough balancing everything,” she said. “I was craving something, but I did not want to go back to anything full-time.”
Like Puppos Michelle Kiernan, mother of four, has found her work niche at Adore.
“Marleen is very empowering toward women,” says Kiernan, who was already building her own furniture painting business, Irish Girls Nest.
She started it few years ago and crossed paths with Prater at a garage sale in the summer. The meeting gave Kiernan, who works in a belowground studio in the Village retail district in Grosse Pointe, a retail outlet for the line of Shabby Paints she represents.
Working with Kiernan gave Prater the paints she wanted to offer to her customers without an investment of thousands of dollars. Adore customers can buy paint or send Kiernan paints or have her customize their purchases. Kiernan updates merchandise before it goes on the floor.
“It’s a tough job staying home with the kids. She gave me something more,” Kiernan said.
Kim North Shine is a Metro Detroit freelance writer.
Adore Eclectic Interiors
Where: 20725 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Woods
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
Call: (313) 649-2175