Marigold Sol Owner Lori Julien sits down for a portrait and interview.

Marigold Sol: Revitalization through sustainability, function, and art

By Brynne Olsen for The Devil Strip

At Marigold Sol in Kenmore, it’s in with the old and out with the renewed. 

Owner Lori Julien recently joined other new business owners in working with Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance to revitalize the historic Kenmore Boulevard area. 

“We have enough furniture in the world, so I feel this is sustainability meets function meets art,” Lori says.

Marigold Sol specializes in painted furniture and home decor. The smell of patchouli and lace meander through the naturally lit store as I sit down on an antique sofa with Lori.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

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Brynne Olsen: What got you started in the antique and shabby chic look?

Lori Julien: I have loved this stuff since I was a little girl. I started painting furniture prior to 2010. I found a chalk style paint and it took off from there. I love it because I feel like any of the new furniture you buy today, it’s crap honestly. 

BO: What was it like opening in April during a pandemic?

LJ: I was a little worried, but I felt people are so focused on their homes. I’m a retailer for this great paint line, Wise Owl Paint, and I wanted to share it with everybody. I was doing custom work during the pandemic and painting for people and saw people rearranging their space to accommodate change and spending time fixing up their houses, so I thought it was a good time to open. 

BO: So on Kenmore Boulevard, there’s more businesses coming in, multiple have opened during the pandemic, and half of them are women owned. 

LJ: Yes. I was not planning at this point in time opening a shop, but it was on my radar for the future. I was doing custom work for people and my husband and I were down here in January and we’ve watched what Tina Boyes has done with Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance. She has kicked butt down here in revitalizing. We saw this space was available and it fits with what I’m trying to do with sustainability. I wanted to be part of the revitalization that was down here and I knew from when they did the Better Block what people wanted. 

So I reached out to Tina and she was super excited and supportive. She hooked me up with the landlord and the rest was history. It happened fast, but I was excited to be part of what’s going on here because it’s going to help all of us. 

BO: Can artists and creators sell items here?

LJ: Possibly, if I have space. I have some sellers in here now, like candles and jewelry. Some of the pieces up front are from a couple from Nashville who build their own furniture. They bought the entire gingerbread (trim) off of the front of a Victorian house that was going to be torn down and then they incorporate them into pieces. We also have items from This Found Object and she does a lot of repurposing out of old stuff as well. 

I’ve done this before all by myself and I didn’t want to do it by myself anymore. There’s lots of love here. From the minute I stepped in here it felt like good energy to me. 

BO: Besides the smaller businesses you work with, how else do you get your pieces? 

LJ: I go to flea markets, auctions, a lot of curbside picking. I used to embarrass my kids, but now when I tell them I’m pulling the car over, they’ll get out and help. My husband’s good with it as long as I don’t bring it home.

BO: How can people incorporate this style in their home?

LJ: I do a lot of custom work and work with some interior designers as well. We could go in and do whatever services they wanted. If they just wanted a rearrangement of the pieces that they have or they could purchase pieces. They could learn to paint or hire me to paint as well. There’s something for everyone and every budget. I have the product line ReDesign with Prima here as well. They have easy transfers and molds. You can also take a class or bring home a DIY kit.

Another thing we do here is Pinterest parties. People send me what they saw on Pinterest and I’ll figure out how to do it. Then I’ll put the price package together and then they just come with their friends and do the craft that they’ve chosen. Private events can happen here as well, and formal gift cards are coming soon. We’re going to have clothing coming soon. It’s going to be curated used clothing mixed with some new pieces. My vision is that this could be a one-stop shop. 

Marigold Sol is located at 962 Kenmore Blvd in Akron and can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and marigold-sol.com. Lori can be reached at (330) 803-0419 and marigoldsol@icloud.com

Brynne Olsen is a wanderer who enjoys eating dessert first, writing, photography and meeting the demands of her fur children.

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