Sisters Heather Grube and Julia Boyd don’t see the beauty in perfection.
For them, the most beautiful things in this world are those that are flawed, unfinished and even broken, they said.
An old, discarded piece of furniture, rusty keys that open nothing, tarnished or bent silverware, an unused rake head, scraps of wood from a torn down barn, even spent rifle shell casings and bits of fishing lures.
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Grube and Boyd have refinished or repurposed all of these items and more into beautiful and unique creations from personalized signs and home decor to make-a-statement jewelry.
With help and support from their families and friends, the two have expanded their interests and talents into a new store in downtown Seymour.
Located at 114 N. Chestnut St. next to Java Joint coffee shop, Beautiful Chaos has created a lot of buzz in town and is attracting people from communities near and far.
But the business, which opened in early February, has taken a turn in a different direction. The store has evolved from an outlet to showcase and sell Grube and Boyd’s own imaginings, into a more made-to-order, personalized and customizable service where people bring in their own ideas for what they want.
And that’s perfectly fine by them.
“We thought we were going to be more like a boutique where people come in and shop off of our shelves, and we would be in here crafting all day long,” Grube said.
“But the demand has really been for custom work.”
Most people are coming in with requests for specialty signs that require hand painting and stenciling, she said. One of the shop’s bestsellers is a sign that says “Because Someone We Love Is In Heaven, There’s a Little Bit of Heaven In Our Home.” The message is stenciled and painted onto old wood, and there is a metal clip that allows for a picture of the loved one to be displayed.
Grube said they like being able to make shopping a more fun and convenient experience for their customers.
“A woman came in here and said, you’re telling me that I don’t have to go searching all these stores to find something I like, that I can come here and know what I like and you can make it for me,” Grube said. “And we were like yeah. And she was like that’s easy.”
The store’s pricing isn’t much different from bigger chains like Hobby Lobby, Target or TJ Maxx, Grube said.
“But at those places, it’s not handmade, and you can’t walk in and ask them to make you something,” she said. “A lot of people will come in and want our help. They know what they want, but might not know exactly how they want it to look.”
The idea for Beautiful Chaos started with Grube, who moved back to Seymour after spending 12 years in Nashville, Tennessee. While in Tennessee, she picked up an interest in refinishing furniture and making and selling things with a friend.
The two started making items for a craft market just to bring in a little extra money around the holidays. Soon though, their work started catching the eyes of more and more people, and they started getting more orders, especially for signs.
They also were getting orders from Grube’s friends and family back in Seymour.
Because Grube wanted to do more with the business, while her friend saw it more as a hobby, she talked to Boyd about it, who said she would be happy to help.
Last fall, Grube and Boyd set up a sale in Grube’s front yard in Seymour with items they had made. The sale generated a lot of interest from people and led to them signing up for several area craft shows.
“People were coming up to us all the time or getting a hold of us through Facebook, asking if we could make them this or if we could make them that,” Grube said.
The decision to open a store downtown was a leap of faith, both women agreed.
But they couldn’t imagine being anywhere else, Grube said.
“Downtown is the only place I would have wanted to be,” she said. “And that’s because I know the potential of Seymour.”
Although their business wouldn’t be unique in places like Brown County or Madison, for Seymour, it’s something different, Grube added.
They are not trying to compete with any stores in town.
“I feel like we’re a complement to every business downtown,” she said.
Grube, Boyd and their mother, Theresa Schwartz, also are beginning to plan some workshops and classes to teach do-it-yourselfers different crafting techniques such as decoupage, stenciling and creating textures with paint.
“It’s really become kind of an Etsy or Pinterest shop,” Boyd said of the business. Etsy and Pinterest are social websites that focus on handmade or vintage items and supplies and allow people to share ideas and instructions on how to make different arts and crafts projects.
Besides furniture, signs and jewelry, Beautiful Chaos also sells etched wine glasses, hats and scarves, decorative pillows, table-runners, towels and other sewn and crocheted crafts.
All the sewing and crocheting is done by Schwartz.
“We won’t always have the same things in the store, because we are constantly making new things,” Boyd added.
Just recently, the store became a vendor of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, a product that Boyd and Grube use in most of their projects. All three attended a workshop in New Orleans to learn more about the product and to get ideas to bring back to their customers.
A couple of the classes they plan to offer include an introduction to the paint and how it can be used.
Grube said she wants a platform to be able to give people the tools and encouragement they need to try projects on their own.
“We’re always going to have customers that want us to make it for them, but there are a lot of people who would like to learn how to do this,” Grube said. “And we want to show them.”
What: Beautiful Chaos
Location: 114 N. Chestnut St. in downtown Seymour, next to Java Joint coffee shop
Owners: Sisters Heather Grube and Julia Boyd and their mother, Theresa Schwartz
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays
Specializes in customized signs, jewelry, refinished vintage furniture and crocheted and sewn items