After dedicating much of her life to creating original works of art and home décor, Cynthia Hines felt the time was right to open her shop up to the public on Saturday.
While the Mitchell artist has been operating her small business, Original Cyn, largely through a digital platform over the past decade, Hines will enter a new journey with her art and home decor shop that sits behind her home. As a proud small business owner, Hines chose to have the soft opening over the weekend on Small Business Saturday, staying true to her roots.
“We have a lot of corporate stores in town that don’t have any handmade art, so I’m proud that we are bringing more of that local art culture to the community,” Hines said. “The goal with this shop is to be a place that has one-of-a-kind pieces that you won’t ever see at a corporate store. It's exciting to take this next step with the business.”
From unique handmade signs to decorative furniture and mugs, Hines creates a wide variety of functional art pieces that are commonly used as home décor.
Although Hines has turned her love of art into a profitable business, the Wessington Springs native said her passion for the process of crafting art is what continues to fuel her journey as an artist and entrepreneur.
“I’ve been doing craft shows since I was a kid, and it’s always been my passion. As I became an adult, I wanted to follow that passion and do what I love, which led me to opening the business,” Hines said. “I’m fortunate to have a family and husband who support my love for art.”
Prior to opening her shop, Hines built a customer base by tapping into the digital marketing side of things. She’s used Facebook as a source to display and sell her work, which has allowed Hines to take custom orders and develop a niche for her business.
Hines also showcases her work at craft shows and pop up shops throughout the state. While those means of operating her business have led to success, she said opening up a physical location will help expose her art and take things to another level.
“I’ve been able to use social media and other platforms to get my work out there, but opening the shop will help every type of customer we see have an opportunity to shop here and see what we have to offer,” Hines said.
Instead of opening a brick-and-mortar storefront in Mitchell, Hines said transforming the loft behind her home was more fitting for the type of atmosphere she wants to create for shoppers. Considering the products she creates and sells are primarily used for home décor, Hines' shop gives customers a chance to see what it looks like inside of a space that mimics a real home or room.
Another interesting component to Hines' shop is the ability for customers to arrange appointment-shopping, which entails opening the store for an allotted period of time for customers to have the store to themselves or their group of shoppers.
“I don’t think my shop would really fit in the downtown area, and having a store with a 9 am. to 5 p.m. schedule isn’t really necessary for the type of customers we have,” Hines said. “Our customer base consists of a lot of working people who are busy during the day, so giving customers the option to set up appointments to shop here works better for them. It’s neat because we can make the shopping experience fit their wants by playing music and having food available.”
Through the years, Hines has developed close friendships with other local artists who share her same passion. To help expose her friends’ work, Hines sells their art pieces inside her shop.
Speckled along the walls of her store are original paintings and multimedia portraits created by a well-known local artist, Lacey Eidem, along with jewelry that’s locally made.
“It’s awesome to see how Cyndi (Hines) has turned this into a unique shop, and it gives the community a chance to see real art that’s made by local artists,” Eidem said. “Helping each other, collectively, has been an awesome thing to be a part of and it’s made all the difference in being able to do this for a living.”
Sher Mueller, of Mitchell, is one of the local jewelers whose work is on display inside Hines’ shop. Mueller said Hines' shop will expose the community to works of art that can't be found anywhere else in Mitchell.
“It’s awesome to have a shop that you can go to that has all of these neat and unique items that you just don’t see in your traditional stores,” Mueller said. “Cynthia (Hines) is very talented, and it’s great to see her follow her passion.”