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Christy Stone

Published:

Christy Stone

The Strawberry Patch
In 2003, I left my job with the Tennessee state prison system to become a stay-at-home mom. This decision proved necessary to help me tap into my creative side, which had been buried deep inside my soul. Though I loved being a stay-at-home mom, the desire to have an alternative purpose was strong. At night after the kids went to sleep, I learned to sew and make a lot of my children’s clothes. Eventually, I sold my creations in local boutiques and home good stores in Middle Tennessee. The connections I made from this experience led me to realize there was a pool of creatives who needed a unique venue to sell antique, handmade and repurposed goods.

Shortly after, I and about eight other creatives gathered around my kitchen table to discuss my vision of a barn sale. Collectively, we decided it would be wise to start small since it was a brand new concept to the area; the only other barn sale I had heard of was the Barn House Market (BHM) in Washington State. Along with Gina Bishop from Homegirl, they were my ultimate inspirations. Both were way ahead of the game and inspired me to bring the now overly saturated barn sale trend to the Southeast.

Christy Stone

When I first started my event, I was living in Lafayette, Tennessee, which is about fifteen miles from Hartsville. I had a building in my backyard that was transformed into a makeshift barn for the weekend. Vetted artists brought their goods to me to style and stage, and I turned the “barn” into a cozy shopping experience like none other in the area; think twinkle lights, vintage sheets, antique furniture, candles, fresh flowers, art, sewn goodies, soaps, lamps and upholstered furniture, all tucked inside my small makeshift “barn”. I had zero expectations for my first event. I’ll admit I was green and had absolutely no idea what I was doing nor did I have a coattail to ride. I did so much so wrong because I only knew how to do it my way. The one smart thing I did was to start small. “Go big or go home” has never been my philosophy. Maybe it’s insecurity or my extreme fear of failure, but I have found I work best by being forced into the next level rather than forcing it.

“Just be you.”

– Anonymous

In 2011, after one year of hosting barn events in my backyard, I was fortunate enough to travel to Washington State to experience BHM and all of its glory. It was nothing short of amazing, and I came home knowing I was ready to step my barn sale up a notch or two. I wanted my shoppers to leave my sale with the same euphoric feeling I had after leaving BHM, but I knew my backyard “barn” limited my vision.

Christy Stone

In 2012, it became real that I had outgrown my backyard, and it was time to move the event to a real barn, a real farm, a real home, a place where I could recreate some of the magic I felt at BHM. Starlite Farm (my parent’s farm in Hartsville, Tennessee) was the logical answer. Starlite is composed of approximately 250 acres, nestled on the rolling hills of Trousdale County right on the Cumberland River. It is one of the most beautiful farms I have ever seen, and I feel at peace when I’m there. The Strawberry Patch has now become the main event on this farm and in my life.

I put my heart and soul into each event, and I strive to find creative artisans with a unique style who are passionate about what they do. We have been going strong for nine years now only because I have vowed to stay small and unique while limiting the number of market goods. Staying unique and being different is a constant struggle because most competitors not only copy a concept (like I did), but they will also emulate props, designs, ideas—everything—which forces you to recreate yourself every event. I guess it’s a necessary evil to prevent stagnancy. I’m very grateful to have a talented team of creative friends that help me style and stage each event to bring fresh ideas each and every time.

I once heard an interview with Norah Jones, and she talked about how she never had the desire to be mainstream. She mentioned she was completely fine being an artist you did not hear on the radio. She also chose to be quietly adventurous. I can totally relate to Norah. I have an introverted spirit and have always preferred to give the spotlight to someone else. I realize it’s important to be the face of your brand and actively promote yourself, but this doesn’t come easy for me and perhaps is my biggest roadblock. With changes in social media and the demand to smear one’s face all over Instagram stories, documenting every single thing you do, I feel I have fallen behind. I have watched other show promoters surpass me because they are professional posters and speakers and are so good at making strangers feel like their best friend. This is a real struggle for me, and one that I must admit I have no desire to work on, which scares me when it comes to promoting my events. I am more of a workhorse and not so much the one to stand out front and look pretty, which Gina Bishop advised me early on I needed to do. I have never wanted my event to be about me and my face, but more so about the vendors who work their fannies off to help me turn Starlite Farm into a magical wonderland. And, they do it with ease, and they deserve most of the credit! There would be no Strawberry Patch without my vendors.

Christy Stone

The Strawberry Patch
In 2003, I left my job with the Tennessee state prison system to become a stay-at-home mom. This decision proved necessary to help me tap into my creative side, which had been buried deep inside my soul. Though I loved being a stay-at-home mom, the desire to have an alternative purpose was strong. At night after the kids went to sleep, I learned to sew and make a lot of my children’s clothes. Eventually, I sold my creations in local boutiques and home good stores in Middle Tennessee. The connections I made from this experience led me to realize there was a pool of creatives who needed a unique venue to sell antique, handmade and repurposed goods.

Shortly after, I and about eight other creatives gathered around my kitchen table to discuss my vision of a barn sale. Collectively, we decided it would be wise to start small since it was a brand new concept to the area; the only other barn sale I had heard of was the Barn House Market (BHM) in Washington State. Along with Gina Bishop from Homegirl, they were my ultimate inspirations. Both were way ahead of the game and inspired me to bring the now overly saturated barn sale trend to the Southeast.

Christy Stone

When I first started my event, I was living in Lafayette, Tennessee, which is about fifteen miles from Hartsville. I had a building in my backyard that was transformed into a makeshift barn for the weekend. Vetted artists brought their goods to me to style and stage, and I turned the “barn” into a cozy shopping experience like none other in the area; think twinkle lights, vintage sheets, antique furniture, candles, fresh flowers, art, sewn goodies, soaps, lamps and upholstered furniture, all tucked inside my small makeshift “barn”. I had zero expectations for my first event. I’ll admit I was green and had absolutely no idea what I was doing nor did I have a coattail to ride. I did so much so wrong because I only knew how to do it my way. The one smart thing I did was to start small. “Go big or go home” has never been my philosophy. Maybe it’s insecurity or my extreme fear of failure, but I have found I work best by being forced into the next level rather than forcing it.

“Just be you.”

– Anonymous

In 2011, after one year of hosting barn events in my backyard, I was fortunate enough to travel to Washington State to experience BHM and all of its glory. It was nothing short of amazing, and I came home knowing I was ready to step my barn sale up a notch or two. I wanted my shoppers to leave my sale with the same euphoric feeling I had after leaving BHM, but I knew my backyard “barn” limited my vision.

Christy Stone

In 2012, it became real that I had outgrown my backyard, and it was time to move the event to a real barn, a real farm, a real home, a place where I could recreate some of the magic I felt at BHM. Starlite Farm (my parent’s farm in Hartsville, Tennessee) was the logical answer. Starlite is composed of approximately 250 acres, nestled on the rolling hills of Trousdale County right on the Cumberland River. It is one of the most beautiful farms I have ever seen, and I feel at peace when I’m there. The Strawberry Patch has now become the main event on this farm and in my life.

I put my heart and soul into each event, and I strive to find creative artisans with a unique style who are passionate about what they do. We have been going strong for nine years now only because I have vowed to stay small and unique while limiting the number of market goods. Staying unique and being different is a constant struggle because most competitors not only copy a concept (like I did), but they will also emulate props, designs, ideas—everything—which forces you to recreate yourself every event. I guess it’s a necessary evil to prevent stagnancy. I’m very grateful to have a talented team of creative friends that help me style and stage each event to bring fresh ideas each and every time.

I once heard an interview with Norah Jones, and she talked about how she never had the desire to be mainstream. She mentioned she was completely fine being an artist you did not hear on the radio. She also chose to be quietly adventurous. I can totally relate to Norah. I have an introverted spirit and have always preferred to give the spotlight to someone else. I realize it’s important to be the face of your brand and actively promote yourself, but this doesn’t come easy for me and perhaps is my biggest roadblock. With changes in social media and the demand to smear one’s face all over Instagram stories, documenting every single thing you do, I feel I have fallen behind. I have watched other show promoters surpass me because they are professional posters and speakers and are so good at making strangers feel like their best friend. This is a real struggle for me, and one that I must admit I have no desire to work on, which scares me when it comes to promoting my events. I am more of a workhorse and not so much the one to stand out front and look pretty, which Gina Bishop advised me early on I needed to do. I have never wanted my event to be about me and my face, but more so about the vendors who work their fannies off to help me turn Starlite Farm into a magical wonderland. And, they do it with ease, and they deserve most of the credit! There would be no Strawberry Patch without my vendors.