We had the good fortune of connecting with Cynthia Harris and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cynthia, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Sometimes right in the middle of your life it’s time for a re-do! Literally. After teaching middle school English and Art for twelve years, I knew I wanted to change career directions. Even though Art was my passion, I wasn’t sure what path to take. After a year of soul searching and prayer, I decided to open a little retail shop along-side a home redo business. In 2008 the DIY and home makeover world was exploding. I opened a shop to offer my clients home decor after redoing their home.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When I look back though the years, I can see amazing people God placed in my winding path, thru a beautiful, crazy and bumpy at times, art journey! Throughout most of my years of public school in a small, north Texas town called Whitesboro, we were not offered a formal Art class. I loved when our teachers would offer a craft or let us “get out” paint, markers, scissors, glue, etc!! I can still vividly remember so many of the projects. One year, around second grade, we had a part-time art teacher. It takes my breath away to remember the cafeteria/art room full of windows, sunshine streaming in, overlooking the hillside playground. She was beautiful, young and loved art too. She was my first taste of art! I hoped from that moment on to be an Art teacher. Thank you Sally Light and Lily White.
After graduation I found myself in a local junior college in a beginner paint class and from then on I knew my college education would involve a degree in Art.
I graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in education and a specialization in art.
Teaching Art and English was very fulfilling however, interestingly enough, I never painted or personally created art again until my children were grown and I had opened several retail shops. In 2017, I began to paint again and my daughter-in-law, Erin and I formed a little company called SassEcyta. She sold cards and embroidery and I sold my paintings. At this time, Nordstrom began doing pop-up markets and we, (to our surprise) were asked to be a part of it, inside of Nordstrom, Frisco. Erin and I continue our businesses and get to work together occasionally: Erin has a thriving embroidery online shop still called SassEcyta, and I sell my art at our original retail shop, Sunny Paige in Whitesboro, Texas, established in 2008.
We are excited to see where our companies will take us this year and continue to love what we get to do!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Whitesboro is full of little niches and rare finds! When stopping by Whitesboro, it’s a good idea to stop by the downtown shops. Sunny Paige is just behind the downtown the downtown & Blast and past gun shop parking lot. Many of the men drop off their wives at Sunny Paige and then drop by the gun shop. Hint hint! Sunny Paige offers clothing, shoes, gifts, art and home decor. The unique 2-store bungalow style home is full of character, charm and offers fun boutique shopping!
Lovejoy’s, Urban Junky, Tangled Cotton, Cook’s Mercantile and the Butter-field Stage are just a few to get started. Be sure to stop by the Kaleidoscope Quilt Shop and the Quixotic Yarn Shop too! A couple miles off of the main downtown strip there is a large feed and western store called Dennard’s.
When it’s time to take a break, there’s the 56 Deli or Lovejoy’s on Main serves lunch 3 days a week and offers an old time soda fountain!! Hard to beat either one and their home-cooking.
There are also several beautiful parks and playgrounds along with a walking park trail that serene and so beautiful.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The movie “You’ve Got Mail” changed the course of my life! Not because I met a man online or anything like that. No, I’ve been happily married for over 33 years. However, You’ve Got Mail” initially lit a fire in me the second I laid eyes on the fall scene -inside of the little “Shop Around the Corner” in You’ve Got Mail. Kathleen Kelly, (Meg Ryan) runs a little book store and Joe Fox, (Tom Hanks) puts in a mega book-store across the street. The charm, the warmth, the drive of this shop owner and her retail space just grabbed me. I remember thinking in my theatre seat, “That’s what I want to do. Open my own shop!”
This is the first of two big moments that made me rethink my career path and helped me pull-the-trigger when it came time to make a big change in careers.
The second was thru my sister-in-law Jan, who invited us to one of her favorite finds in her neck of the woods a few miles outside of Austin, Texas called Fredericksburg.
One day about fifteen years ago, we, (Jan, my niece, daughter and I) made a day trip to a hopping little spot called Fredericksburg, Texas. There was a shop downtown called “Henfeathers”. To say I was inspired doesn’t do it justice. One word: Incredible! This creative retail shop inspired me to blaze a path I never could have imagined!
Facebook: Sunny Paige Whitesboro