There’s a new artisan boutique in Mt. Juliet, offering original work by local artists, custom hand-painted furniture and more. Cottage 222 opened in mid-June, on Lebanon Road.
Co-owner, Jamie Wotherspoon opened the shop with business partner, Gina Stoudt, after quitting her job. Stoudt resides in Wotherspoon’s hometown of Ottawa, Illinois, where she operates an antique mall. Wotherspoon knew that she didn’t want to go back into the traditional workplace, in order to spend more time with her family. So, she proposed a business plan with Stoudt. “We really didn’t know what it was going to be, it turned into this adorable little place because of the building,” Wotherspoon said.
Wotherspoon grew up in an artistic household and has been creating art her whole life. “My dad is the driving force of all of this,” Wotherspoon said, “he’s a rodeo cowboy, pipe-fitter by trade , Vietnam vet, who was an artist.”
He used to hand-paint signs and billboards, before they started using vinyl coverings. He also hand-painted the pinstripes on muscle cars in the 1950’s – 1970’s. “I watched him do that my whole life and my artist signature on my canvasses is the same as his always was,” Wotherspoon said.
Family is very important to Wotherspoon, it was even the inspiration for the name of the store. “My grandparents lived at 222 Armstrong Street. They were farmers and my grandfather and his two brothers had a trucking company called Anderson Trucking, where they hauled livestock into the Chicago Stockyards,” Wotherspoon said.
As a child, she would play secretary for the company, answering the telephone and running the adding machines. This sparked her interest in business ownership at a young age. “They were very instrumental in my life,” she said.
Wotherspoon’s mission is more than just running a thriving business. She wanted to create a space for other like-minded artists to get their work out into the community. “In order for local artists to sell our work, we have to pack it all up, take it to an art crawl and pay to be there,” Wotherspoon said.
Every product in the shop is created by a local artist. One of the companies featured in the store is Devereux Bedding, which just celebrated eight years in business. “Those sheets are a dangerous purchase, because they are an addiction,” Wotherspoon joked. Owners Chris and Susannah Devereux donate a majority of their profits every year to Operation Stand Down, which supports Nashville Veterans. “I’m the daughter of a Vietnam veteran so that’s really important to me,” Wotherspoon said.
Nashville Jam Company also has a home at Cottage 222. “The owners Courtney and Gary are fun, lively, positive energy people who built a fabulous business for themselves with the jams, so I’m happy to have them in here,” Wotherspoon said.
Wotherspoon’s daughter who attends UK, is double-majoring in fashion merchandising and textiles, plus sales and marketing. She started her own company called Goodnight Lamb and is one of the vendors at Cottage 222. Goodnight Lamb features hand-made baby products. Her items are in several stores throughout IL, KY and TN.
Wotherspoon is a self-proclaimed perfectionist and doesn’t want her customers to leave with a product until she feels that it is at the highest quality. She attributes this work ethic to her dad, whose famous line was, “If you quit before it’s right, then you can’t call it done.” She will even take products back off the sales floor to add finishing touches, if she doesn’t feel they are completed to their best potential. “My goal is to gain the respect of the community, for them to know that we have nice things,” Wotherspoon said. “They will get a good hand-crafted or repurposed product, for a legitimate price.”
The only constructive criticism that she has received about her shop is that the prices could be too low. “I’m not here to become wealthy, I don’t want to be worth a million dollars,” Wotherspoon said. “I want to work with my hands everyday for the rest of my life, to allow myself the freedom to go see my children when I need to.”
Everyone in the community has been very welcoming and supportive of Wotherspoon and Cottage 222. This has inspired her to also use the space as a venue. Plans include author book-signing events, book club meetings, and artist spotlights, featuring live entertainment, food and drinks. “I’m open to any member of the community of Wilson County that has something to offer but they don’t need to rent a space for it, or they don’t know where to go.”
Cottage 222 is located at 13670 Lebanon Road. For more information visit facebook.com/cottage222nashville or 615-939-9409.