By: Teresa Bond-Mason | Category: Gifts & Decor | Issue: January 2018
If you only had two words to describe Kayla Norris’ new venture, it would be “entrepreneurial fairytale.” That’s how Kayla regards her endeavor, Gardenia Mercantile. The business, which makes and sells metal art décor, has only been in existence for four months, but has already made a big impression on Tulsa consumers.
While Kayla worked in advertising, one of her clients and now business partner, Brent Nicholson, mentioned to her that his metal shop had taken a hit with the oil/gas bust. The more he described all the machinery in his shop, the more Kayla’s curiosity grew. “He kept talking about a plasma table that was taking up space and at first I wondered what this thing would do,” adds Kayla. After a few more conversations, they decided to partner together to make Kayla’s vision of handcrafted metal pieces for the home a reality.
Now Kayla and Brent, along with their metal artisans Robert Brown, Alexis Gammon and Paul LaBoube make pieces that as Kayla puts it are, “inspirational pieces designed with love in mind.” Kayla is passionate about home and her goal is to create items that will make your space cozy and unique with a dash of inspiration.
The company’s name is just as distinctive as the products. “I spent a lot of time with my great grandmothers, Francis and Nezzie. Both women were so inspirational. And, they both loved gardenias,” says Kayla, adding that “this is my homage to their legacy and hopefully create one of my own.”
Gardenia Mercantile sells mostly metal artwork, but they do plan on venturing out into other artistic avenues, the first one being jewelry. But, Kayla insists this will be jewelry with a cause. Oklahoma Heart Gallery, which is an organization that helps place foster children, is one of Kayla’s passions. In the works is a specially designed piece of jewelry where proceeds will go back to Oklahoma Heart Gallery. “One of the things I love about local business is that it keeps the money in the community, and that means some of it is given back to those who need it,” stresses Kayla.
Everything about Gardenia Mercantile is done in Tulsa from the design and execution of the product to the company she uses to help manage social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest – all where Gardenia can be found.
“It was scary to take that leap into small business, but I’m glad I overcame the fear. People’s reactions to our products has been so well received,” stressing that her plans for the future will be constantly evolving to meet the needs of their customers.
Now that the holidays are over, Kayla and her staff are busy planning items for Valentine’s Day, including a “Man Cave” line, which is the perfect addition to the “BossBabe” collection.
Wedding gifts, housewarming gifts and photo props have also become popular with Tulsa customers. But, anything you can imagine, Gardenia Mercantile can create. Custom orders are usually complete in about two weeks. Be sure to check out their social media for pictures of their latest designs.
Teresa Bond-Mason is an Oklahoma native and a graduate from the University of Tulsa with a degree in communication. Teresa has written a wide range of articles from insurance journals to book reviews and of course her latest work for Value News! In her spare time, Teresa enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, reading and scrapbooking.
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