Oklahoma City looks oh, so pretty and that is exactly why we are heading there for this month’s retailer spotlight. We love our thousands of retailers that have Mud Pie items on their shelves, but there is just something about two college sweethearts in OKC that we needed to know more about.
Close your eyes and try to picture this (well maybe keep them open so you can read, but just imagine)… When you walk in the door, you are greeted by a massive workshop. It’s raw, but inspiring. You walk straight into the smell of saw dust, the sight of people building, and the sound of heavy machines. There is truly nothing like it; that is, seeing your furniture being made up close and personal.
After getting over the excitement of the workshop, you find yourself staring at massive glass barn doors, allowing you to see into the store. The barn doors welcome you into an eclectic, chic and rustic store with beautiful one of a kind pieces. While you walk around the shop, you are still in sight of the workshop and furniture in the making. If this doesn’t scream Made in America, we don’t know what does! Now take a deep breath in. That is UFD’s signature candle that you can smell throughout the store. (Buy one here!) They’ll also have you dancing around with their loud country music.
Well ladies and gents, let us introduce you to Urban Farmhouse Designs, owned by Cherami and Jason Thomas.
UFD is approaching their second anniversary, but Cherami and Jason began crafting years before. They started creating and selling tables made from reclaimed pieces out of their garage four years ago, with no intentions of opening a retail store, which leads us to our first question.
What inspired the couple to dive into retail? Cherami and Jason never grew up with plans to open a retail store. It was something that never crossed their minds. Jason’s background was in building, and Cherami had a passion for design. In fact, the two loved the market so much that they began flipping houses when they were in college.
Jason was more than happy building the tables, which left Cherami tasked to find a new way you use her creativity. She jokes that she was born at the wrong time. She is inspired by vintage finds and old time architecture, like super markets.
She began accessorizing the pieces to show people how they would look in their home. She would stage them with chairs and tabletop décor. Buyers began asking if they could buy the décor pieces along with the table. When the interest grew larger, Cherami and Jason finally thought, we should open a retail store. And with that, UFD came about.
But it’s more than just tables in a garage. UFD’s slogan is “reclaimed furniture made by reclaimed people.” Their store is unique in that they give people a second chance at life, just like the reclaimed wood has a second chance and Cherami and Jason were given a second chance when the market crashed in 2008. The people who build the furniture are former inmates or are in a half-way house. Most of them struggle to find jobs, but UFD believes everyone should have a second chance. (Currently handing out tissues if you need one) Their inspiring builders and unique furniture made with reclaimed pieces are the two principles that have led to their success. Customers come here for that one of a kind piece with a special meaning behind it.
We already know how unique the furniture is, but there is an extra special touch. UFD can tell you the history of the reclaimed wood. They know what every piece of furniture is made out of, like old boxcar flooring, and exactly where it came from, like the International Harvester Building in Oklahoma City. It makes it more than a piece of furniture. UFD is currently working to include certificates with every piece of furniture, giving the entire background of the reclaimed wood used.
And their story is just beginning. Along with their three huge warehouses they are renovating, they are also in the process of building and renovating a farmers market in Dallas, TX, opening an Urban Apparel shop focused on fashion and helping with a tiny house project where they are building little cabinets and putting in wood floors.(They must have more than 24 hours in their day to make this all possible!!)
How does Cherami keep her brain in check with everything on her plate? She washes and details her own car. It’s a way for her to shut her brain down and reboot. “My brain works strangely. I don’t know where this stuff comes from,” she says.
With all on their plate, Cherami and Jason continue to give. They currently give back to two new charities a month – 24 different ones a year. You could say their favorite part of the business is having the honor and funds to help others. Their focus on giving to others keeps them working harder. Cherami hopes to one day build a shelter for single moms, providing them a place to live with their children.
Now enough business talk, let’s learn a bit more about this super woman!
What is your favorite room in the house? Closet (we agree, right ladies?) I spend a lot of time in my closet on the large ottoman. The reason I love my closet may be because my 8 year old daughter shares it with me. It is where we gather every morning and every night. It’s our girl time. I am not sure what I am going to do when we move into a house where my daughter will have her own closet.
What is one item you just can’t live without? There are two: my spray tan machine and any good hat. I believe a good spray tan allows you to go natural without makeup, and a good hat covers up your bad hair day. People actually call me hat girl because I have so many. I promise I will have my own hat line one day! The spray tan machine and a good hat make my life easier, and that’s what it’s all about.
What would be one secret tip you would give to customers styling their home? Finish the entire room with all the details. Basics aren’t enough. You have to layer and fully finish a room – add window treatments, rugs, picture frames, etc. The small details finish off the room and make it whole. Final details are like putting on your lipstick, they create a finished, polished look.
What was your dream job growing up? What I am doing – an interior designer. When I was a little girl, JCPenny’s had a huge catalog that they gave out. I would cut out pieces from the catalog and paste them to create my own house. I always loved colors and design, from day one.
And of course, the most important question of all:
Favorite Mud Pie collection? Circa is UFD’s absolute favorite collection. I love all the funny little sayings – guacamole bowl & dip sets and the forks and spoons for turkey & dressing. I think that it is those sayings that everyone thinks, but Circa actually says them out loud. It’s quirky, cute and eclectic.
You can win UFD bucks! Want to know how?!
2. Tag THREE people in the comment section of this post on Instagram (the picture below)
** Winner will be chosen February 6th! **
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