inKindStore, a personalization shop that specializes in handcrafted jewelry and customized gifts, opened at the beginning of September in Prestonburg, Kentucky. The owners are a married couple named Kaitlyn and Nathan Wright who aim to connect with their community by creating long-lasting memories with custom creations.
Kaitlyn, who has a BFA in photography, explains that Nathan handles the business and makes the products for inKindStore, while she focuses on designing and photographing the products.
“We decided to marry our skills and marry each other,” Nathan remarks. The couple recently moved back to Prestonburg to start their business and be closer to family. One of their main goals is to inspire others in the community to start local businesses, rather than move away to find success.
Before starting the business with his wife, Nathan, who has an MBA and is an engineer by trade, was lead engineer for robotics engineering analysis for Universal Studios. He traveled all over the U.S. as well as to Japan and China to work on the animatronics and characters for certain installations. “That was a pretty fun job, but it was stressful,” says Nathan. “I thought that was about as good as I could do… but once I started doing this stuff, I was way more fulfilled with it.”
From customized jewelry featuring their clients’ loved ones’ handwriting to wooden maps of the area, Nathan and Kaitlyn continue to develop new ideas for keepsakes.
“We want to offer something unique,” Nathan states. “We don’t have a typical business where we order product and then we keep inventory of that product and we sell it to customers; the only inventory we have are raw materials.”
They started out with metal, but now they also work with wood, leather, and other materials. Nathan creates the jewelry with drills, a circular saw, a jigsaw, and a CO2 laser. “We make all the jewelry here, so after we engrave a pendant, we have to assemble it onto a necklace,” Nathan elaborates. “In terms of big equipment, everything is based around the laser.”
Kaitlyn and Nathan began selling their laser-created jewelry on Etsy last May. Nathan says that they worked out of their spare bedroom for those first few months. “At different events, like city markets in the area, people always asked us where our store was because they would like to come by and look at more of our jewelry later in the week,” Nathan explains. “We were always like, ‘Well we don’t have a store, but we have an online store.'” After enough times of giving that response, they decided to open a retail location.
“We were making everything out of our home, and we wanted more of an office space to make everything,” Kaitlyn adds. “We decided if we’re going to do that, then we might as well go ahead and get a retail store.”
According to the couple, customers can also now pick up orders made online, which saves on shipping. “People are really thrilled to have something like this in the area,” Nathan says. “Especially where we are, there is really not anything like this in a large radius.”
They say their hope is to get the community more involved and to promote people, instead of the mass-produced products culture. Kaitlyn tells A&E her favorite part about working in the personalization industry is the stories they get to hear from people. “We get to make such a difference in people’s lives,” she says.
“I don’t want to give the same answer, but that is mine too. Number two for me would be the creation aspect of it,” Nathan adds. “We can really create some very custom things for people and have one-of-a-kind gifts that don’t exist anywhere else in the world.”
The couple can be found working together to create custom pieces on the eastern edge of Kentucky at 202 Irene Street Suite 103, Prestonburg, Kentucky 41653.
A soft opening was held the second week of September. Kaitlyn and Nathan plan to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony and opening celebration after the shop has been open for about a month. “We want to get all the bugs worked out first,” Nathan says. Once the ribbon-cutting ceremony happens, the shop will be ready to take more orders.
For more information, visit inKindStore.com.