SHELL ROCK – Fifty times, Brandy Lyda talked herself out of the idea.
Fifty-one times, she talked herself into it. That’s when she finally took a leap of faith and opened She’ll Rock Collective, a new consignment business featuring the work of 44 — and climbing — artists and makers from throughout the area.
Located in her home at 304 W. Main St., the front porch, living room and dining room have been devoted to retail space brimming with paintings, metal sculptures, jewelry, pottery, homemade soap and candles, hand-woven rugs, decorative and seasonal objects, and other unique items.
“I wanted to bring something like this to Shell Rock and feature local products. We have businesses, but no shops. There are a lot of artists and makers who create some awesome things and need a place to sell them,” said Lyda, a 1997 Waterloo West High School graduate.
The grand opening at She’ll Rock Collective continues today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Lyda and her husband Andy and their two children, two dogs, and cat moved to Shell Rock about a year ago from Wisconsin. The shop marks her first foray into retail sales. “My day job is as an MRI technologist. I started going to art shows like Waverly Art Walk and Charles City Art & Heritage Festival and talking to artists. I posted on Facebook, and interest grew word-of-mouth. I also stopped and knocked on people’s doors,” she said, smiling.
She also sought advice from the UNI Small Business Development Center in Cedar Falls. “They provided helpful information. I’ve learned about business models and business practices, and I’ve also had fun and challenged myself. The Shell Rock community has been encouraging and excited about the shop, too.”
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Rural Denver artist Lauren Brettman was among the first to bring her artwork to Lyda’s shop. Many of her paintings are rendered on old, reclaimed cabinet doors. “There’s a plethora of old stuff around the farm where I live. I like bringing these old pieces back to life,” said Brettman, who earned her fine arts degree at the University of Northern Iowa.
The artist paints farm critters and other images, including seasonal pieces like a witch riding a cow. “I thought ‘so what do witches do the rest of the year after Halloween?’” she said, laughing. She also appreciates the importance of customers viewing the artwork in person rather than on a computer screen.
Lyda’s criteria for consignment sales are good quality and variety.
Featured artists also include Marty Wurth, woven rugs; Tiffanie Garcia, tie-dyes and knitted goods; Jan Rowray, bags, sewing, crochet; and Uncle Stinky, maple syrup and metal work; Sue and Sonya Buls, bags, bibs and gnomes, all of Waterloo; Dalean van Broklin of Jesup, pebble art; Berniece Ticknor of Cedar Falls, scroll-saw signs; Angela Jursik, vintage clothing, and Rain King soap, both in Hudson; and Bruce Litterer of Cedar Falls, colored pencil drawings. Artists and makers from Indianaola, Dumont and Sheffield, among other Iowa communities, also are represented.
Lyda’s husband is supportive of the She’ll Rock Collective. “He runs the shop when I’m not here and helps with cleaning and dusting. When I was thinking about it, he said ‘Go for it.’ If it doesn’t work out, at least I tried,” Lyda said.
If the business succeeds, she’d like to move into a storefront and add a coffee shop and maker’s space for hosting events and creative workshops.
“I want it to be fun for customers, but also for the artists. I can see the joy on their faces when they bring their stuff into the shop. That means everything to me,” she said.
New artists and craftspeople are being sought. Contact Brandy Lyda at (608) 345-2924, or Facebook@localartistsrock.