Jamie Butler went from running a kitchen and homewares business from a retro-inspired truck that became a well-known attraction at farmers’ markets, to owning a much-loved store that has community firmly in its heart.
by Michelle Hespe
Jamie Butler has always loved beautiful and useful pieces for the home and kitchen and built up a career as a homewares buyer. Then in 2013 she followed through on her dream of creating her own business and launched a mobile homewares store in a retro-inspired truck, fully stocked with kitchen tools, gadgets and cookware. The truck is emblazoned with a bold retro illustration of a woman in a full skirt and apron, whisk and cake stand in hand, like the ones featured in a House Beautiful magazine in the 1950s or ‘60s.
Soon her truck was a regular sight at the local farmers’ markets in her hometown of Escalon, California. A collaboration with a local gym and bootcamp further expanded the business, filling a niche gap in the healthy preparation and service of food for gym goers and the health-conscious.
In 2015, Jamie took the leap and opened a bricks and mortar store in an old butcher’s shop that she lovingly restored. Ensuring that the building’s former character was not lost, she retained the typical, white-tiled butchery walls, the old wooden floorboards and even a track on the ceiling where the butchers once used to hang and transport meat across the room.
Jamie also expanded the truck side of her business with a genius stroke—offering a mobile bridal shopping experience. Brides-to-be and their friends can decide on a location and then spend time together, testing and buying products from the truck. It’s a savvy way to take products to the people, while also providing a memorable, novel shopping experience that is most definitely social media worthy.
With a muted color palette of gentle creams, bright whites, pale blues, greens and pinks, The Butler’s Pantry store has a warm feel, adding to the welcoming, homey atmosphere that Jamie’s customers are drawn to. The space has become a buzzing community hub, and with free WiFi and coffee for guests to enjoy at their leisure, it’s not just a store but a much-loved place to relax while surrounded by beautiful products artfully, meticulously curated. The atmosphere and collaborative nature of the company also means that influencers flock to the store and continue to spread word of The Butler’s Pantry.
Three separate rooms, including a large kitchen and dining area at the back of the store, are used for events—everything from cooking lessons and wine and food pairing to wreath making, calligraphy courses and yoga sessions. The open plan space also encourages conversation with others at the events, adding to the supportive community feel.
The gia expert jurors praised The Butler’s Pantry for being a “passion-driven, heart-and-soul store with unique and creative merchandising.” They also commented that the presentation of products is “beautiful and thoughtful, with the owner’s personal touches and taste shining through in all of the little details.”
The judges also noted that Jamie’s displays are always “cheerful, fun and playful—turning every gathering into a celebration,” making it a destination for people seeking positivity in their lives.
Social media plays a large part in The Butler Pantry’s success, and all posts have the same style and feel of the truck and the store—pastel, retro-inspired palettes and the presentation of every product is thoroughly considered and created to inspire. The posts offer advice and guidance on how to use products and ideas for gifting.
Jamie also works with local bloggers in the community to expand her reach, giving them products to try and in return they tag her in their posts and stories. She also encourages local personalities to visit the store to create live Instagram stories. Jamie sees an immediate response to these collaborations, with people coming to the store looking for the products they saw featured on social media.
There is no end to Jamie’s innovation and the dream has continued to grow with two new stores and soon the expansion of the current store to allow for more products to be displayed in separate sections.
In the coming months Jamie is opening a restaurant a few doors down from The Butler’s Pantry. This will give her regular customers, many of them who have travelled far from out of town, a special space where they can relax, dine and of course, see, feel and taste products from The Butler’s Pantry.
Jamie has also opened Poppy On Main, which is a pretty-as-a-picture gift store aimed squarely at a younger crowd (think pre-teens and up) because she felt there was nowhere for this demographic to go, hang out and buy products that are sourced specifically with their interests and budgets in mind. Prices are lower than those at The Butler’s Pantry, and Jamie describes the color palette as more vibrant and whimsical with a 1970s feel.
Jamie has excelled at creating places and spaces where people can go to meet others, be inspired by homewares, food and cooking, and most importantly, feel a part of a community and something truly special.
To learn more about The Butler’s Pantry, visit https://shopthebutlerspantry.com.
Sponsored and organized by The Inspired Home Show and the International Housewares Association (IHA), gia (IHA Global Innovation Awards) is the world’s leading awards program honoring overall excellence, business innovation and creative merchandising in homegoods retailing. For more information about the gia retail program, the co-sponsors or participating in gia, contact Piritta Törrö at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information on gia is also available online at TheInspiredHomeShow.com/Awards/gia-Retailing.
For more information about The Inspired Home Show and to pre-register for the 2023 Show, taking place in Chicago on 4-7 March 2023, please visit TheInspiredHomeShow.com.