That’s it, in my next life I’m going to start my own shop! And you’d better believe I’ll be taking cues from The Beehive. Because if anyone’s doing adorable shops the right way, it’s them. Chock full of cute details and quaint finds, we sat down with sweet Sandra recently and dished on all things business, and then some! Captured by Brooke Allison Photography, per usual, there’s lots more in the gallery. 

SMP: So we’re dying to know, what gave you the final push to open your own shop?
Working for myself has always been a dream! I was in the ad business for over a decade but between moving from Los Angeles to New York to Connecticut and getting married, the timing and opportunity had never lined up. When my husband and I moved to Fairfield, CT from the city it just felt like the perfect time and the perfect place. Months later (way sooner than I felt ready), the most perfect location opened up in our downtown I just knew it was time to commit!

SMP: Tell us a little about The Beehive!
The store concept was really born out of our own necessity! I always felt we were driving out of our community (which boasts the most darling downtown area perfect for strolling) to pick up treats for friends and family, myself and our home. I really wanted to visit a place where we could shop a more “gracious life”, which to me means placing emphasis and putting care towards the things that we value most! There’s always something in store to brighten a friends’ day, bring something special to a dinner gathering or breathe new life in to your home space.

We work with over 70 lines and my favorites vary weekly (sometimes daily!)! We carry everything from large and small home goods, baby gifts, a super selection of barware, women’s jewelry and accessories and the cutest darn desk and paper goods we can get our hands on! What all of our lines carry in common is commitment to quality and design, which I try to carry through the entire store from category to category!

SMP: What do you look for when sourcing items from your shop?
I am a blog addict, first and foremost. I start each day combing my favorite blogs for trending colors and new lines on the scene. From there I start diving deep! Can we tell a story in store about the line or item? Is it designed or made in America (always a plus)? Does it have a great history and inspiration story? Am I passionate about it? Would I want it for myself? In an age where you can buy just about anything on the Internet, our major point of difference is that we curate products together in a way that just isn’t attainable sitting behind a computer screen.

SMP: One thing about running your own business that you didn’t anticipate?
When I imagined running the shop, all I pictured was endless buying trips surrounded by beautiful products all while doing super special craft projects to merchandise the store! And while that definitely happens (and is my favorite part), I didn’t really grasp the amount of attention and paperwork the business end would require! This is where I am so so grateful for my decade of experience in advertising- it taught me to balance the creative, business and client service sides of a job all while staying insanely organized.

SMP: One piece of advice you’d give to someone who’s hoping to follow in your footsteps?
I had a 100-page list of all the reasons why I shouldn’t open a shop and a 1-line list of why I should. It was my dream. What made me go for it was the support of my husband in quitting my “real” job. After that, the safety net was totally gone and I didn’t have any more excuses. And you know what? I figured it out. So my advice is to stop waiting and do it- the “perfect” time just doesn’t exist! That, and use your network. We were brand new to our community but I just dug in and tapped acquaintances, friends of friends and even people on the street for information and help. People genuinely want to see you succeed and pass on their own knowledge and experience, so ask for the help!

SMP: One thing every style savvy homeowner should have?
We New Englanders take our entertaining quite seriously, particularly in the winter when there’s not much else to do, so a well stocked bar cart tops our list! We customize ours with a curated selection of decanters and glassware (the bubble champagne glasses from Acme Party box are to die for!)+ cocktail napkins (we’re currently loving embroidered linens from August Morgan for their unexpected cheekiness!). We also like to have simple syrup and club soda on hand at all times for our house signature drink- a rosemary gin fizz!

SMP: Two awesome, unexpected hostess gift ideas?
We love a hostess gift that is both useful for now and beautiful for later! Topping our list right now is a pretty ice bucket filled with White Whale cocktail mixers and a Mason Shaker or special mugs and a creamer paired with a coordinating hand towel and her favorite coffee. As a guest, it’s also a special touch to remember the kids of the house (whether 2 or 4 legged) when you visit with a small toy or a tin of yummy dog treats from Bocce’s Bakery in Brooklyn.

SMP: Three things everyone should always have on hand?
- A seasonal scented candle. We like to burn one scent throughout our home, it becomes your signature like a perfume!
- A set of notecards and gift tags for any occasion. With the shop we’re always prepared with a sweet gift or card, but before we opened I was never without those two items.
-A special throw blanket. Changing a throw has the ability to change the look of any room, it’s my go to trick for updating the house when the seasons change.

SMP: Four tips for stocking your stationery bar?
There is nothing better than giving or receiving a handwritten note! It felt like a dying art for a while there and I love to see the amazing creativity and talent of stationery designers today!
1. A great stationery bar starts with a great base, and we’re obsessed with the acrylic desk accessories from Russel + Hazel. Seeing office supplies so neatly organized just gives me a thrill!
2. Signature cards. Whether it’s your monogram or custom letterpress, pick one look for you and stick with it! Rifle Paper Co. just released monogramed stationery featuring initials that is beyond adorable- a custom look without the price tag!
3. A variety of notes and pads to keep you organized! We like to keep a journal with our ongoing projects, a note pad for quick reminders, and then our planner for more permanent items.
4. Washi tape is a must! It’s utilitarian like regular tape but makes regular chores a joy! Sealing a special note with coordinating washi just looks adorable! We also use it to tack inspirational images right to the wall. Everything is better with washi!

Photography: Brooke Allison Photography | Store: The Beehive