We were thrilled to have Amanda McClements visit our office for an inspiring interview led by Creative Strategist Alexi New.
Amanda is the owner and creative director of Salt & Sundry — a retail strategy client and District destination for homewares and accessories at Union Market and in Logan Circle — as well as its sister store, Little Leaf, a plant and paper shop. She is also a contributor to Food & Wine Magazine and a Board Member of DC Greens, a mission-driven organization supporting smarter food education, access, and policy.
Here’s what we took away from the interview (along with a lengthy wishlist for the coffee table):
Trust Your Gut…
Amanda shared that the best lesson she learned while building her brand was not to lean too heavily on others’ experiences. No experience is exactly the same, and while it’s important to learn as much as you can, it pays to follow your instincts.
…But You Can Lean On Your Community
Other small business owners in DC, much like its chefs and restaurateurs, foster an extremely supportive community. When Amanda first opened Salt & Sundry’s Union Market location, Gina from Buffalo & Bergen and Sarah and Carolyn from Righteous Cheese were just starting their businesses too, so they leaned on each other for support, popping out of their spaces to ask, “Did you guys know about this tax?”
Amanda curates the Salt & Sundry and Little Leaf stores based on what items she and the team gravitate toward. The inventory is ever-changing, and if someone sees something at a market that they have to have, they put it in the store. The appeal of some items — such as a ceramic mason jar that was a bestseller for years — can shift.
…But People Always Love Candles.
The Retail Landscape Is Changing…
And it’s a scary prospect as a small business owner.
…But Retail Therapy Is Real.
When people come into a physical space and are surrounded by things that are visually appealing, it’s a transportive experience — something Amanda feels the internet will never be able to replace.
Bonus: Rapid Fire Round
Favorite spot in DC?
2 Birds 1 Stone
Favorite ice cream flavor?
Game Of Thrones
Coffee or tea?
Usually coffee, but today was tea
Cocktail of choice?
Go-to birthday gift?
Last book you read?
All The Light We Cannot See
Favorite boy band?
Bell Biv Devoe