Kristin Miller is the owner of “a charming and cozy shoppe for rustic treasures” right in the heart of Old Town Monrovia. Her shop feels right at home nestled on the quaint main street of the town, and shoppers who have browsed among her home decorating accesories rave about going back.
Visitors to her shop would probably find this hard to believe, but Charlie’s House is actually Miller’s first venture into retail. Surprisingly, Miller has a history in office management, having worked as an clerical supervisor for a corporate company for over 20 years. However, she makes the transition from a corporate office environment to retail look easy, and her store is doing well for only being open for a little over a year-and-a-half.
Even though she felt entrepreneurial and knew she always wanted to open her own store, Charlie’s House came about in an unexpected way. As previously mentioned, Miller’s roots were deep in the corporate world and she had been comfortably working the same job for years; that is, until her company was bought out. After the buyout, there was a major shake-up among the management and her fellow employees as the new parent company replaced about 90% of the people she had worked with for years.
Partially because of the sudden job insecurity, and partially because of the disrespect to her fellow co-workers, Miller started thinking about other options. However, it wasn’t until she heard through a fellow employee that the new management had posted a job listing for her job that she started to plan her “out”. In a sense, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, but in a good way. Seeing her job posted without being told about it made her realized that she didn’t really love what she was doing anymore and it was time for something else.
Enter Charlie’s House. As a side hobby, Miller had enjoyed going yardsale-ing and finding treasures to fix up and decorate with since she was 15 year old. The house she lives in now was a fix-it-up project she and her husband tackled over the course of 10 years and it’s decorated with pieces that Miller had to get creative with. Trying to balance budgets while fixing up a house and raising a family made her realize what she really enjoyed doing: finding creative house furnishings and ways to decorate.
Early on in life, Miller had learned “that you have to look outside the box all the time” while being creative with resources, and this mentality really helped her as she prepared to leave the corporate workplace that she was familiar with and launch her own venture. At first, her plan was to find a job at another retail store to gain some knowledge and experience, but because of the down economy at that time, nobody was hiring so she decided to jump head first into Charlie’s House.
As you could probably guess, opening a retail store was an entirely new experience to Miller and she had a lot to learn. In fact, she recounts with a smile that she had to learn
“everything! I didn’t know how to do anything. I had to learn how to use quickbooks. Figure out how I wanted to inventory and price and market.”
And so much more! However, her ability to “think outside the box” helped her figure everything out, despite her lack of experience in a retail.
If you visit Charlie’s House, it’s easy to see Miller’s passion for her work now. She is a true testament that if you don’t like the job you’re doing now, it can pay off to take a risk and jump head first into entrepreneurship. Then you, like Miller, will be able to say,
“And I think that’s when I really started to realize that that’s what I really enjoyed doing.”
You can visit Charlie’s House, located at 430 S. Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia, CA 91016 Tuesday – Sunday from 11am-6pm. Charlie’s House is closed on Mondays.