What’s Monkey Have To Do With It?

Serendipity has an agenda all of its own and we had no idea a year ago what to expect or how the journey was going unfold.

It’s not WHAT you know, It’s WHO you know. This has been a year spent learning where to buy and becoming friends with antiquity connoisseurs all over the country. While it has been the most exciting part of the journey, finding those amazing one-of-a-kind pieces is not as easy as it looks and certainly not as glamorous as it may appear. Real old stuff  paired with reproduction pieces that vibe the look of 1924, with a bargain lover’s price, is our mantra. The hardest part of the journey is not keeping everything we find for ourselves!

People ask us all the time what our personal style is and the only way we can describe it is a mix of old, (like was once ugly and is now a come-back kid) found, (something found in the strangest of places; and has a great story) grandma’s style (something with sentimental value or reminds you of a place and time; so not to forget) and new (you know, that new stuff that looks old, but is at bargain prices)…and a little kitsch (that something,…well, it’s hard to explain).

We don’t want to be Pottery Barn, One Kings Lane or Joss and Main, but you may be surprised to know we find our stuff where they do. In fact once this past year we were in a warehouse of a friend of ours and saw a stack of skids carrying some old snowshoes addressed to Pottery Barn. So if you bought a pair of those pricey snowshoes, you really should have called or come to see us, we probably had a pair (or two) at grandma’s price. At market we were so surprised to see a lady shopping at one of the same vendors we use and she was the buyer at One Kings Lane. That was quietly gratifying to know, despite having our own taste, we  play and buy with the “big dogs” of design.  We never imagined WE would be carrying the same dog biscuits (coming soon) as those featured in  a recent HGTV magazine.

Monkey Love. We feel so blessed that our customers (also affectionately known as F.O.M.s; Friends of the Monkey) have supported and become Monkey Ambassadors of our shop while spreading the love  to their friends. (just like an old recipe from grandma). Because our relationships have bloomed with many people spanning as far as California, it has urged us to expand, think outside the box and continue to surprise our favorite monkey followers.

We are very excited for 2014 with the introduction of our garden center in the spring, offering planters,  hanging baskets (and not those ready-made versions you can find at the big box stores) gardening containers, fountains, supplies and tools along with unusual plants and herbs of all kinds.

Monkey What? You asked, we listened. Monkey Paint™ is on the horizon offering an economical alternative to furniture antiquing paint. Due to a national shortage of the “scent” Marshmallow, we had a little delay and may have left you hanging ,not knowing if we are still doing it. Yes! We are. Watch Facebook for the launch of our paint. We think our paint is special. It  is made by and sold by us, and us alone.  Who does that anymore? Yeah, we do.

The first batch will have 8 colors. Every two to three months we will introduce a new color. That may leave you asking “what color is next?” The awesome part is you won’t have to conform to a set palette of colors because you (the FOMs) will vote for the next color. We will then have a contest for the naming of the paint. The winner gets the first jar of the new color! This is just the beginning, so stay tuned as we mix things up.

Monkey Studio? We will be offering free paint advice daily and studio classes routinely once we launch the paint. It’s hard to believe this idea spawned from the request of our customers almost immediately after we opened a year ago.

Get the Monkey off your back? Our fresh flower business is picking up. As we began our journey, we initially wanted to keep the flower business in the “back of the house” maintaining the clients from our family’s business.  As we conjure up one-of-a-kind creations, business continues to grow. We recently installed cooler allowing FOMs to see and grab stems from the cooler and offering inspiration for an arrangement suited for any occasion; weddings, funerals, birthdays or “just because”.

This will be our first Valentines Day in our new location. We are anticipating plenty of locals to snatch upour special featuring 16 tulips or 12 roses in our most popular lantern (that is converted to a vase for Valentine’s) and is packaged with a special candle for  $65.00.; a bargain compared to any competitor or “big box” flower shop.

Monkey See, Monkey Do We also have a few surprises in the works that will be shared once we complete the behind-the-scenes business planning. Have an idea? Want to see something new at The Marshmallow Monkey? Do tell!  You never know what we may be up to next. We certainly aren’t done with our monkey business.

The Marshmallow Monkey is located at 436 E. Jefferson in Franklin, Indiana. Home to vintage-inspired décor, furniture and fresh flowers. You can grab a piece of history, flowers, a one-of-a-kind gift for a friend, and  great garden stuff  (with a pinch of kitsch). Marshmallow Monkey is not just a shop, it’s a way of being.  Tell someone, shop and visit often. #FOM

Nicole and Brandon

Owners and Monkey Makers

When Monkeys Fly

What’s the number one question we get every day at The Marshmallow Monkey? “How did you come up with the name?” Well…here you go:

About three years ago, Brandon and I had the dream of owning our own business. We both imagined a small community business, with a purpose of giving back to the community. At that time, the reality was that we REALLY weren’t going to drop everything at that very moment and “do it”. The dream included a great name that our future customers would come to love and had to have a deep meaning to us.  Between the idea of a toy store, a cupcake shop, a town bakery and maybe even a home décor business, we didn’t know precisely what this lofty dream was going to be.

Brandon and I are like legacy -keepers; we don’t think of today, but instead we are dreaming up what life will be like for our kids when it’s their turn to make a mark in the community. One of the most important aspects was (on a list a mile long) to make the name a good one. We have two kids, Blaise who is 11 and Olivia, 9. As they were growing up, Olivia was nicknamed affectionately as “monkey” and Blaise would be found with a pocket full of marshmallows (that’s when they weren’t pressed on the ends of his fingers like a bear claw).  While Brandon was at the firehouse 3 days a week, I had the awesome blessing of being able to travel all around the country as a healthcare consultant; visiting little unique shops from town to town. All of them were named the most random things like “Pink Olive”, “Orange Poppy”, “The Owl’s Nest” (but hard to get out of your mind when you hopped a jet to the next town).  We wanted our name to stick (Like the inside of a marshmallow).

marshmallow

Randomly, it was a Wednesday night sometime in 2010. I just got off an airplane from somewhere in Middle America. Imagine the kids running around that table (complete chaos all around), cell phone ringing with the latest nano-crisis from a hospital blowing up and that box of packing peanuts that were neatly nestled in that FedEx box just delivered had been annihilated into micro-sized pieces with static cling to everything including both children and the dog.  Brandon is a great wordsmith and I am a fine artist who was hijacked for 18 years in healthcare. Together we have a quirky style and often charter a path less taken.

I begin telling Brandon of these adorable shops that were in Dallas from my latest trip.  We basically sat for two hours brainstorming what the name of our undisclosed business-to-be would be named. We both agreed we wanted something that would create a great story for the kids to tell (in the event they end up running this business someday) and something people will grow to love and never forget.

We begin with Monkey. (That was after Brandon had to ask Olivia 6 times to stop hanging on his leg to get our attention) While we both thought it was a great start, we weren’t sure it was going to be “the one”.  Literally a few days went by and a bag or two of marshmallows eaten, Brandon says “what about adding Marshmallow to the Monkey”? I thought “that may be an awesome name; a little of both kids metaphorically woven into the fabric of our company?” YES! The Marshmallow Monkey became a more vivid reality.

We won’t lie; it was after exploration of many interesting adjectives to slide in front of that “Monkey” before we landed on The Marshmallow Monkey. There is a smidge of science behind it, which is really boring to iron out too, like what website URLs and Twitter handles are available that will literally cut your list of names down to one or two. That made the decision really easy! We just knew, whether it was cupcakes, toys or flowers, Marshmallow Monkey could work.

The next couple of weeks were filled with lengthy processes to register the name, grab the URL and ensure we had a name ready…. not knowing in just three short years we would be here.

Yep, it took three years to get all the ducks (Not monkeys) in a row, but we are so excited about our new shop, and being able to carry on our family’s 75 year legacy and we look forward to the day that Olivia and Blaise get to tell their story with pockets full of marshmallows and a new spin on the monkey biz.

 

 

 

 

Our Story

Screen Shot 2013-03-29 at 5.02.38 PMIf you know us, it’s likely you had no idea we come from generations of gardening and flower gurus. It started more than 75 years ago when my grandpa came to America from Germany with his parents in the hopes of a better life. As many locals know, Bluff Road was a haven to German immigrants who made their living growing produce and flowers in greenhouses, so much so they became known as greenhouse growers. At the early age of six, grandpa had his hands in the dirt growing crops with his uncle. Grandpa, Adolph Becker, (pictured here in 1920, age six, with his uncle), helped harvest tomatoes and with the help of his handy wagon, picked cucumbers.

Eventually, he acquired the family business, Becker Brothers, and grew bib lettuce and tomatoes for the farmers market in downtown Indianapolis. I couldn’t tell you if your wine is paired well with your fancy duck—but thanks to grandpa I darn well know a good tomato. It’s in my blood. Those ten greenhouses were like magic kingdoms to me as a kid. As a child, I walked hand-in-hand with grandpa into the warm, 90 degree heat in the middle of winter, stomping the snow off my boots to find a tree yielding delicious oranges. I was so lucky to have this time. The moments gardening with grandpa are woven into my being.

When I was 10, my grandpa suffered a severe heart attack that forced him to give up hothouse gardening. The greenhouses withered away and ultimately the property was sold.

A generation later, my mom followed in the family footsteps and grew her own floral design business on the same property where Becker Brothers planted its first seed. As a teenager, I didn’t appreciate all the times I had to help “behind the scenes”, but who knew, decades later, it was invaluable job training.  Proms and beautiful corsages; a wedding dripping with florals fit for Martha; and a couple baby showers draped in pink and blue later, I have embraced the calling of gardening and floral design, with a little twist.

You see my husband, Brandon, and I, love the hunt for beautiful treasures at old fashioned prices. About a year ago, we discovered a circle of people in the industry who refinish and buy worn (but not worn out) furniture. What started as a hobby grew into a business. So if you mix one part graphic designer, a heavy handed shot of years of experience in marketing, a dash of love of stationary and event planning, and garnish with a family history of business know-how—you’ve got yourself a Marshmallow Monkey.

We’ve taken over the family floral business and recently acquired a quaint spot in Franklin, Indiana.  Soon we will open the doors to rooms filled with distinctive treasures looking to be cherished. Once we have the shop arranged and tied with a bow, we can’t wait to welcome you in. Until then, we’ve got our hands in the dirt nurturing this dream. We’d love if you would follow us here to see what we are discovering, refinishing and filling grandpa’s wagon with.