Walk into Collected Thread in Oklahoma City’s up-and-coming Plaza District, and you just might be greeted by a tiny, unofficial staff member named Noah.
Noah is the almost-2-year-old son of the owner of the shop, Lindsay Zodrow, who relishes the opportunity to present locally-made goods and show her son how much fun it is to own a business at the same time. The Plaza District has come to life with restaurants and retail shops since Collected Thread opened there six years ago.
Located just off of N. Blackwelder and N.W. 16th, the handmade boutique is known for its collection of unique styles and selections. From jewelry and home decorations to clothing and baby items, Zodrow said she likes to collect a little bit of everything.
Collected Thread was the first retail establishment in the historic area. Zodrow said the location cultivates an artistic appeal to local artists and retail shops. It is this merger of creativity and business that pulled her to the area.
“I chose the Plaza District because it was such a blank slate, and I wanted to see it become an art district for young, unestablished artists,” Zodrow said. “We wanted to help improve the area and make it a place others wanted to visit and see.”
Collected Thread derives its name from birds that collect material to build a nest. Like its feathery friends, the shop looks to new and exciting creators to liven up the space.
“My husband came up with the name. Like the birds collect twigs, we collect artists from around the area,” Zodrow said. “It’s a very codependent relationship.”
In its sixth year, Zodrow said Collected Thread is the realization of one of her childhood hobbies, crafting. It was this passion that motivated her to take the leap and start her new business. She met a seamstress and other artists who also shared her love of creating unique items, and they started a traveling art show. The venture was so popular, she decided to take another jump into the business world.
As a studio art major at Oklahoma State University, she knew the difficulties artists have making a living from their work. She opened Collected Thread to showcase her own creations and the work of artists around Oklahoma City.
Currently, Zodrow features more than a hundred items in her store, created by about 65 artists. She said more than 50 percent of the items are created by local artists.
“We are crazy about our city, creating and encouraging community around us and finding well-made handmade items. One of our favorite things is when makers use an old trade to create something modern and unique. It is thrilling. We love getting to support and encourage other makers, artists and designers. It is something that we truly treasure,” Zodrow said.
Even though the shop has been very successful, Zodrow admitted it wasn’t easy in the beginning.
“I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing. I was an art major in college and had no business experience,” she said. “It has been a real learning experience trying to figure out what I am doing and doing it well.”
Zodrow’s commitment to helping a variety of local artists has benefited the shop’s inventory pool. While the store has seen many unique items, the most popular items currently at the store are images created in wood by local artist Jackie Miller, who creates portraits of women and other scenes using wood burning techniques. She then highlights it with watercolor and acrylic paints.
Another popular selection new to Collected Thread is the baby gift registry. Like other stores, guests can choose the handmade items they would like receive. What’s more, if guests don’t receive the items they want on their list, Zodrow gives them a 10 percent discount toward those items. Popular registry items include teething rings and handmade leather baby moccasins. Collected Thread also sells hair bows, onesies, organic cotton baby dolls and a rattle shaped liked Oklahoma. While business is going great, Zodrow said she still has big dreams and goals for her store.
“I really want to collaborate with local artists more. Six years ago when I first opened, I was in my mid-twenties and the store reflected my taste,” she said. “Now I’m older and my tastes are redefining the feel of the store.”
However, Zodrow said she wants to stay small and local. She has no plans to expand to another location or open any more stores at this time. Instead, she focuses more on her relationships and family. Zodrow said one of the best aspects of owning the store is the ability to raise her son, Noah, in an environment that she loves and can instill that passion in him as well.
“He greets the customers and loves to show them the toys he’s playing with,” Zodrow said. “Getting to raise my son in an environment where he gets to see these people who are passionate about things they are pursuing is just as important to me as the store itself. I’m really excited to see what that is going to instill in him when he’s older.”