June 20, 2024
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The opening of KC Style Haus on the Plaza. // Courtesy of Deserae Minor

The Country Club Plaza hasn’t always been known for local names, but that is something one business is trying to change. With several vendors having trouble staying in stores and finding success over the past few years in the high-end area, a coalition of underdogs is attempting a hybrid approach.

With a unique set up, KC Style Haus is a new store on the Plaza owned by Deserae Minor that works to put local vendors all in one place. The store carries a collection of items including furniture, clothing, home decor, art, and accessories while allowing for a “one stop shop” experience.

“The previous business that was here housed some vendors that I had worked with, and they loved being here and really wanted to stay. So, I stepped in and thought, ‘Let me talk to the Plaza and see if I can make it work,’” says Minor. “Originally, I thought there was no way I would have a third store, but then I walked into this space and saw all the potential.”

While it is good press for the area to take on a store containing so many different local vendors, the Plaza didn’t come to Minor. Instead, she came to them.

Michele Upson, a vendor and owner of Michele Rene Candles, says, “I was about as shocked as Deserae was when she found this opportunity, and she asked me, ‘Do you think I can do this,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I think we all can do this together.’”  “That’s the thing about it, it’s all of these vendors together with their own companies and their own style, we’re all working together as a team and it’s so much fun to see what people bring to the table.”

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Scott Poore at his booth in KC Style Haus for his brand Mission Driven Goods. // Courtesy of Scott Poore.

Upson quit her day job to fully invest in her company, as did Scott Poore who runs Mission Driven Goods, a clothing brand that supports Poore’s efforts to rescue long-term shelter dogs who often don’t get adopted. Other brands like 913 Craftery, a home decor company owned by sisters Lindsay McCracken and Emilie Nikodym, have kept their business on the side and are forecasting for the future.

In total, KC Style Haus is home to over 40 local brands who also work to buy from other local brands when making their own products. Minor pushes for each brand to have creative control over their set up, how their products are displayed, and what items they carry.

“One amazing thing about working with Deserae is that she likes people to have their niche,” says Nikodym. “You’re not going to have ten different sign makers, so we’re really able to have our own place and create a beautiful booth. It was amazing to see that we were able to do it and take everything that we’ve learned and put it into that space.”

As we explored the shop and spoke to the owners, it was clear that the operation was considered by everyone to be a group effort. The store has a sophisticated open concept still feels cohesive while each booth has its own unique qualities.

“A lot of people say, ‘Oh, my god your store is beautiful,’ but this isn’t my store, it’s our store,” says Minor. “There’s no way that I could do this without all of them. They’re the ones that set up their booths. I just tried to put people together that had similar ideas, so it flowed.”

As more people around the area seek out locally made products, many of the vendors hope this will spur the motivation for others take their brands to new areas in need of more representation.

“I desperately want more local business,” says Poore. “Hopefully this is inspiration for other small businesses to take a leap of faith and open a store. It’s another platform for me to not only sell clothing, but to educate people about the animals we’ve helped. It’s a platform for everybody to show off their brands as well.”

To learn more about KC Style Haus and the brands carried you can find the information here.


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