ANNA – The success of Gretchen and Logan Billing’s online business allowed them to open a brick and mortar store in their hometown of Anna, a venture that has provided numerous benefits during the past year.
The Billings are the owners of 937 Designs, which specializes in handcrafted, modern farmhouse home décor. Most of their production is done from start to finish at their shop in Anna with Gretchen Billing serving as the designer and maker.
“It doesn’t feel like we’re ever working,” Logan Billing said. “Used to watch the clock and now it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is to us anymore. We’re flexible, and we really like what we’re doing.”
The idea to start the business was sparked by the birth of the couple’s first child in 2014 and the desire to spend as much time as possible with her. Positive feedback on pieces made for local customers spurred them to open a shop on Etsy, an e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items and craft supplies, in 2015.
“It was keeping us busy enough to give me the freedom to quit my previous job,” Logan Billing said. “Doing that online allowed us to take the opportunity to open the brick and mortar shop.”
The Billings, both of whom are 2006 Anna High School graduates, opened their marketplace and studio in November 2018 at 311 W. Main St. in Anna. They operate the store with the help of Logan Billing’s parents, Lori and Tim Billing.
In the year since they opened for business in Anna, Logan Billing estimated that 60 percent of their sales are done online while the other 40 percent occur in their store.
“It’s been neat to have the support from the community, and it’s just nice to now finally see what people are taking a liking to,” he said.
Personalized height chart rulers are a popular item from 937 Designs, which also sells signs with quotes from books, movies and historical figures among other home décor items.
“A lot of what we end up doing is custom work so things that you see in here usually start out as a custom piece for somebody and then we end up reproducing it,” Logan Billing said.
The Billings are able to display their creations in their store, many of which aren’t listed online. And with the store, customers can see options of what’s available and have in-person consultations.
“It gives us the opportunity to stage some of the products and see how the products would look in the home,” Lori Billing said.
Along with being beneficial for customers, the shop also allows Gretchen and Logan Billing to spend as much time as possible with their 5-year-old daughter Pascale and their 2-year-old son Ludwin.
“It’s nice because we’ve got our workshop and everything is based here now,” Logan Billing said. “It gives them plenty of space to pick out their own little toy area, TV room and stuff where they can kind of do their own thing while we’re working here, too.”
The Billings want shoppers to have a unique experience each time they enter their store. So they’re planning to host major events each season.
“We do a full-blown restock of not only like our signs and stuff but inventory in general so that when people come they get a different experience each season so things don’t become stale,” Logan Billing said.
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, 937 Designs will host its second annual holiday market, which also will be a celebration of the store’s first anniversary.
“The store is going to be revamped into, like, a Christmas shop with holiday products and décor,” Lori Billing said.
During the holiday market, 937 Designs will offer 15 percent off purchases and will have giveaways. There also will be announcements about upcoming activities for adults and children.
937 Designs is open from 2 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.
For more information about 937 Designs, visit its website at 937designs.com, its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/937designs/, its Etsy page at www.etsy.com/shop/937Designs or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach the writer at email@example.com or 937-538-4824.