Last September, Wit & Whimzy filled a vacant storefront in downtown Marietta. Located at 152 Front Street, this new small business in Marietta has paved the way for a younger consumer to make their mark on the local economy. Owner Laura Pytlik set out to be a business owner with a dedicated focus to the millennial customer and the local maker, artist, and creator.
Laura's history in Marietta is long and winding - having worked at Marietta College for nearly two decades , managing a personal Etsy shop and launching the Marietta Marketplace downtown, she took a giant leap of faith in transitioning from one full-time job to the next. Like any small business owner, Laura took a big risk. Celebrating one year of business is a great accomplishment, and we look forward to many more years of growth!
Q: The first year in business is a roller coaster ride. Looking back, what were some of your favorite moments?
A: My very favorite had to be the moment I unlocked the door and flipped the sign to say “OPEN” that very first day. I was full of nervous anticipation and ready to greet my first customer after months of planning and getting the shop ready.
Q: There are a variety of locations in Marietta that a new business owner can choose to open up shop. Why did you choose downtown?
A: Downtown was my only choice for a shop - if I hadn’t found the space I did, I was planning to wait until the right space became vacant. Our downtown is so walker-friendly, so charming and welcoming, that I wanted to be part of this community.
Q: Reflecting on the shopping trends of those who have come into your store this first year, what would you say your top-selling merchandise has been?
A: The top three items are probably tshirts, greeting cards and jewelry. And those 3 items represent 3 traits many of my items have—home town or home state pride, quirky humor, and hand crafted quality.
Q: If I haven't yet heard about your shop, how would you describe what you offer to potential new shoppers?
A: I offer unique products that are artisan crafted or small batch produced both locally and throughout the USA. From jewelry and accessories to tshirts to home décor, there are many items at great price points to give or treat yourself.
Q: The ability to participate in downtown events is a great benefit to the downtown business owner. What would you say some of your favorite events have been thus far?
A: I really enjoy First Fridays! Each month has a different theme, so each month has a different “personality”. It’s very satisfying to see so many people downtown enjoying the shops and all that downtown offers. I love it when the sun goes down, and my shop is lit up and full of people just enjoying the evening.
Q: With one year of experience behind you, what advice do you have today for your one-year-ago self, first stepping out into the world of owning a business in downtown Marietta?
A: I knew going into this that I would be working long hours for little or no pay. But until you experience it, especially if you’ve had a previous job with benefits and vacation time, you’re not prepared for just how tired you will be. So plan to let your personal life “slide” a bit while you devote all your time to the business.
Q: What words of wisdom would you share with aspiring business owners, interested in opening a business downtown?
A: Do your homework and be sure to write a thorough business plan. It will force you to consider issues that you may not have considered. And if you plan to start a business similar to existing businesses, determine how yours will be different. What will make it stand out? What will you offer that’s new or different?
Q: Is there anything you wish the Marietta community knew about your shop, about downtown, and/or about owning a local business?
A: To the people who live in the area but haven’t shopped downtown in a long time – why not visit us? The merchants and small business owners work hard to create a vibrant city that makes Marietta a great place to live and work. Can you imagine the city of Marietta without its attractive, thriving downtown? If you’re supporting these businesses, we thank you. If you haven’t been downtown for a while, we invite you to stop by and see what you’ve been missing!
Q: Would you like to add anything else?
A: I am so grateful for the business community that has shown me support and friendship, and the customers that have supported my little shop. It has been a great first year of learning, of trial and error, and growth. I am looking forward to my second year, and hopefully many after that. Opening Wit & Whimzy was a huge leap of faith, and I’m so glad I took that leap!