Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
Opening a store called Folklore in Santa Fe, home of the International Folk Art Market, may seem like bringing coals to Newcastle. But proprietor Kelly Dye has a vision that transcended retail.
The native Californian wasn’t quite sure if her Garcia Street space was going to be a retail or event facility. On Mondays, a day that many restaurants and stores in town are closed, her boyfriend, Théo Burkhardt, taught meditation.
Enter coronavirus. Dye, has been forced by the crisis to pivot to a new strategy. She’s building her online presence and offering care packages. She’s not ready to throw in the towel (or the handwoven rug from India) on her dream of having a retail store in Santa Fe.
Dye and her boyfriend met in New York City in 2017. They discovered they were both headed to the same spiritual retreat in Rishikesh, India.
The store owner had spent 10 years in New York working in fashion and advertising, and was burnt out. Her boyfriend’s family had a second home in Santa Fe. After returning from India, they decided to move to Santa Fe permanently.
Folklore, which opened in December, has been met with a gracious welcome from the Santa Fe arts community, Dye said in an interview Tuesday.
Even though the coronavirus has forced her to close down Folklore because of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s emergency orders, Dye is still optimistic about the future of her store. Unlike many business proprietors, she speaks in the present tense about Folklore and sees the shutdown as temporary.
She also believes the collective pause the U.S. consumer economy is experiencing could help boost interest in all things handmade.
And she doesn’t see Folklore as a merely retail emporium.
“I love the idea of the creating community,” Dye said. “I also like the idea of Folklore being a destination for wellness, not just things you can buy.”
In the meantime, she’s upping her social media game.
“We’re setting up a Facebook shop that will let us sell on Instagram. We’re experimenting with small, scrappy ways to survive,” Dye said.
What exactly does that mean? According to Dye, it means coronavirus care packages with price points ranging from $50 to $1,000. There’s something for foodies and there’s another one for healing, she said.
“The idea is to bring the Folklore experience online,” Dye said.
Her website (www.shopfolklore.com) isn’t live yet, but her products will be available for local delivery starting this week.