Jennifer Cook and Jana Contardi grew up neighbors and quickly developed a friendship, but never in their wildest dreams did they think they would own their own boutique – that all changed in May 2012.
After being business partners for 10 years as interior designers, the two decided to start an online store called Peace, Love & Decorating. Four years later, they ran out of space and storage for their website and decided to open a store.
“It was truly an overnight decision for us to do this,”# says co-owner Contardi. But she says it”s really created an opportunity for them to have a showroom for their website, and to show off their unique things in a brick and mortar setting.
For the Duluth residents, choosing that brick and mortar setting was a no brainer. “We pretty much knew just because we were both from here that this is where we wanted to be. We wanted a building with history to it,”# explained Cook.
They certainly found that. The building has been there for over 100 years, creating the perfect backdrop for their unique, Old World style. “Our style is a very eclectic mixture of French & European with some vintage influence as well as some urban influence,”# said Cook. Contardi adds, “Customers come to us looking for particular items that are more boutique and exclusive to this type of shop.”#
Cook and Contardi work hard to ensure their items are original and desirable. “Primarily, we go to market, and we buy and we shop and we buy and we shop. It”s a very long process, and we put a lot of passion and feeling into making sure we have just the perfect thing here,”# said Contardi.
The perfect thing for not only their store, but also their friendship. So the old adage of best friends not being able to be business partners”well, it”s just not true for these two women.