Shopkeeper Spotlight: Furnish Bainbridge

Kim Shrout (mom/owner) and Alex Erps (daughter/manager)

Furnish Bainbridge

Where: Bainbridge Island, Washington

Supporting cast: bebe girl Max and her great grandma, Alice

Say hello to the fabulous mother and daughter team behind Furnish Bainbridge, a lifestyle boutique on Bainbridge Island, a small city in western Washington state connected to Seattle by ferry. With three other stores on the island, their family knows retail and cherishes how the Bainbridge community supports local.


Shopkeeper Spotlight, Furnish Bainbridge. Family photo.
Photo credit:  Anna Bernhard Carson

As a shop owner, what’s a great day look like?
The best days involve nurturing our client relationships, meeting new friends and hearing their stories, inspiring people with our space regardless of their intent to buy with us. And the BEST days are when we get to call someone to say, "your couch arrived!" 

Do you see any trends in furnishings that you’re already stocking/on the hunt for that you feel will go over well in the NW?
Pieces that pull double-duty but undercover. Is there a product that advertises it can do more than one thing BUT does both equally well? Usually no.. Two in one shampoo and conditioner? Ew. 
Our people are gravitating to pieces that not only look beautiful but perform impeccably. For example, a sofa bed doesn't need to be a clunky, loud, horrible, heavy piece of furniture. Our brands are creating beautiful pieces that do it all. 

Shopkeeper Spotlight, Furnish Bainbridge. View of inside the shop.

Photo credit:  Anna Bernhard Carson
 
General overview/history of Furnish Bainbridge (set the stage) and what the general vibe of the surroundings and clientele. 
I, Kim, worked here for 7 years before buying the store about a year ago. We just celebrated our first birthday since taking ownership! Furnish Bainbridge has been the go-to custom furniture store on the peninsula for over 12 years. We have a giant resource library for everything from wallpaper to fabric to wood stains. The vibe is easy going, laid back, sit down for a cup of coffee type. People wander in after the grocery or on a walk through town just to say "hi" and pickup a dog treat. We are in this business because we love design but more importantly we love people. Our locals in particular. When someone moves here and comes to us looking for furniture and special things to fill their home, thats the best. 

Shopkeeper Spotlight, Furnish Bainbridge

Photo credit:  Anna Bernhard Carson
 

How have you managed to keep it so much fun that generation after generation wants to be a part?
The store is our second home and we treat is as such. You can find us here early in the morning or late at night. Eating dinner at the back table and laying on the floor with our babies. Decorating the store Christmas tree as a family and napping on the couches after a long day. With all of that happening, family just shows up and stays. Now we are all co-workers. Thankfully everyone likes each other. 

Shopkeeper Spotlight, Furnish Bainbridge. View of inside the shop.

Photo credit:  Anna Bernhard Carson
 

How do you keep it fresh and not stuck in the ways things have always been done? Or does it work because of that? How do you entice the younger generation to come on board?
Do things that make you nervous and know that you inevitably will fail sometimes. Introducing new brands or concepts to the store can be a really scary process. You're investing a lot of money and time to represent a product you believe in to the people in your community. Sometimes even rearranging the store can be a really daunting task because everyone that walks in the door is a critic of your work. Thankfully we are small and flexible enough to pivot on a regular basis so we don't ever feel stuck for long. 

Shopkeeper Spotlight, Furnish Bainbridge. Owner with child.

Photo credit:  Anna Bernhard Carson
 

What do you want people to feel when they walk into FB? 
We want everyone to feel included. Furniture and design is sometimes very intimidating. Our hope is that no one ever leaves our store feeling inferior or excluded from the work we do. Finding the perfect piece of furniture is a team effort between us and our clients. Everyday we learn something new about the things we sell and the people that buy them. Hopefully they are learning from us too :)

Shopkeeper Spotlight, Furnish Bainbridge. View of inside the shop.

Photo credit:  Anna Bernhard Carson


 
What is your favorite thing about having a physical shop?
People and dogs 
 
You have so many choices and see so much product? Why Aloka?
Theres nothing like it, literally. When people open up every blanket in search of their perfect match, finally seeing "the one." It's like speed dating.. but with blankets.

Shopkeeper Spotlight, Furnish Bainbridge. Owner's toddler.

Photo credit:  Anna Bernhard Carson


 
How do you keep it fresh for customers and exciting for you too?
Our furniture brands are our mainstays. We might change up the upholstery on a classic piece or bring in a one-of-a-kind chair covered in a wild vintage fabric but for the most part people keep showing up because the styles we offer are consistently huge hits. We also sell found objects acquired during our travels and special vintage pieces. Keeping it fresh for clients means artwork, pillows, bedding, throws, lighting, and of course new furniture releases. Daily entertainment provided by shop dogs and babies on the floor. 
 
Shop soundtrack?
Depends on the weather and our moods.. On any given day you might hear, 
Eddie Higgins
Harry Styles
Big Thief
Coldplay
The National
Sylvan Esso
Random playlists made by my children
 
-Kim & Alex

Photo credit: Anna Bernhard Carson

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