By Ginger DeShaney
When Colleen Howard was starting out with her business, Camden Hydes, she was welcomed by other women-owned small businesses in South Boston, the holiday pop-ups being a particular favorite.
Now, she’s returning the favor. “It’s nice to do the same for other women-owned small businesses,” she said.
Colleen has organized several pop-ups this year but has had to get creative because of COVID-19. “I’m trying to make the best of a difficult situation,” she said. “Normally, we’d have so many opportunities for people to shop in person at local pop-ups.”
The group couldn’t plan on the usual indoor pop-ups as in years past inside local restaurants or function spaces, so Colleen had to think outside the box.
She reached out to the owners of Roza Lyons and The Playwright. “They are always really great; they were both so quick to give back to the community.”
Roza Lyons offered its outdoor dining space on East Broadway and The Playwright set up the pop-ups in the outdoor winter lodge it built behind the restaurant. These venues allowed participants to be outside and socially distanced.
“They know how tough it is right now,” Colleen said of the two restaurants. “They support small businesses. We are grateful for the businesses who have supported us.”
People have really enjoyed the pop-ups, asking when the next ones will be. “People want to see and touch things,” Colleen said. “It’s nice to have a physical presence. It gets people in the spirit.”
And these pop-ups promote shopping locally, which is more important than ever in the era of COVID-19.
Colleen said these women business owners have formed a great community. At the shopping events, they’ll help each other set up or cover each other’s booths if someone has to step away.
“A lot of us don’t have big teams; it’s like an extension of our own brands to be able to join together. It’s a sisterhood of sorts, supporting each other.”
The Black Friday event at Roza Lyons featured Camden Hydes, Wolfie’s All Natural Treats, Lazy Jack, 4103 Designs, Southie’s Own, Deirfiur Home, and Habit.
The Playwright pop-up during the first night of the South Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Thursday Holiday Shopping Spree featured Camden Hydes, Caroline Elizabeth, Christina Caren, Deirfiur Home, Fleur to Door, Lazy Jack, Ma Plume Calligraphy, Sky Candle Co., Wolfie’s All Natural Treats, and 4103 Designs.
“It’s a great community,” Colleen said. “I love being able to put together these events, to bring everyone together.
“It’s a great group of women; it’s like our holiday family.”
About Camden Hydes
Colleen, who was born and raised in the Boston area, is an interior designer by trade. She started her own interior design firm when she was living out of state, but when she moved back to the Boston area nearly six years ago, she changed her focus from strictly interior design to better suit her life as a mother with young children.
So instead of a traditional interior design firm, she created Camden Hydes, a furniture and accessory company inspired by and named for her two boys, Cameron, 6, and Alden, 8. “It started with designing one-of-a-kind custom furniture pieces for customers and has been a fun and interesting journey to get where I am today, making hats, bags, and now even masks.”
Colleen’s boys help her out. “They love to take part in the pop-ups. They model hats for me and give me feedback and they never hold back when it comes to their opinion.”
Colleen reminds them that the company is named after them. “It’s a family business. It’s cool for them to see, firsthand, Mom creating a business and what goes into it.”
According to her website, “Camden Hydes is all about impeccably designed, luxuriously unique, and perfectly practical conversation pieces. From fine furnishings that inject elevated style into any living space to stunning accessories (totes, clutches, wallets) that become the fashionable focal point of any ensemble, each piece is as singular as the hide that covers it.”
Colleen uses her interior design background to design/curate all of the pieces that she creates or locally sources and sells. Many of the pieces that Camden Hydes sells are fun because they are one-of-a-kind. For example, the patch beanie has a removable and interchangeable patch. Customers can order personalized patches or get the very popular SOUTHIE or 02127 versions. Similarly, the Camden Hydes winter hats have interchangeable pom poms that snap on and off.
Colleen has an office at home where all her pieces are organized. She’s basically a one-woman show, with help from the kids. She also does some interior design work on the side.
The South Boston women-owned shop Love Child carries select products from the Camden Hydes brand. Colleen also relies on social media, word of mouth, and of course, her personal favorite, the pop-ups.
“It’s a hustle with small businesses,” Colleen said. “A lot of work goes into it. The goods people are selling are more unique. Each has a story behind it.”