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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Vitae Viride To Open in Fort Thomas

Emily Little, owner of Vitae Viride, has signed a lease for her business at 118 N. Fort Thomas Avenue. She was painting the morning Fort Thomas Matters came to interview her. FTM file. 
Brown paper has lined the windows at 118 N. Fort Thomas Avenue since The Polished Pearl moved out of the space in January. The space, next to Fort Thomas Coffee and just down the road from the Fort Thomas city building, is a place that's been getting a lot of people talking.

Fort Thomas Matters was invited to peak into what's happening behind the paper and at the familiar face that will run the new retail shop.

The name of the new shop is Vitae Viride and is owned by Fort Thomas resident, Emily Little. She lives in Fort Thomas with her daughter, who goes to kindergarten at Woodfill Elementary. The shop will sell and manufacture all-natural personal care products and cosmetics like soaps, lotions, facial masks and deodorant.

Vitae Viride, which translates into "life" and "green", will open on April 8th.

Brown paper lined the storefront in the former Polished Pearl space. FTM file. 
Little has been operating a small business called Queen City Alchemy for the past eight years out of her home. If that name sounds recognizable, it's because she's been a part of Art Around Towne, Fort Thomas Central's Gifting Back Bazaar and previously the Fort Thomas Farmers' Market.

"I'm a maker at heart and I love to support other makers. This community specifically has really supported my small business so moving into a storefront space here really felt like a natural progression as I have really outgrown my current space," she said.

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Little said there would be a retail space in addition to her manufacturing space, where she'll ship her products to retailers across the country.

"Customers will have an opportunity to stop by and watch as we handcraft Queen City Alchemy products in-house and pick them up fresh right off the shelf," said Little.

She said that she'd been looking at space for over a year and had set her sights on a space in Over-The-Rhine in Cincinnati.

"I was committed to opening a shop in OTR and that's where I thought I was going to be, but God had other plans. Every door that I thought was open there slammed. Building owners thought my business plan was great, but I couldn't pay the rates they were getting and the places I could afford, the owners didn't necessarily want retail or they didn't have a workshop space. I had hit a wall," she said.

That's when she had an epiphany on a walk from her home to Fort Thomas Coffee with her daughter.

"We saw that the space at 118 N. Fort Thomas was available and wrote down the number to call. I had never considered opening in Fort Thomas. I don't really know why. The thought had just never crossed my mind or there was no space that I thought was viable," she said.

When she met with the building owner, she said it just fell into place.

"It just felt right. Hindsight is 20/20 so now I look back and I think 'why wouldn't I build into my community?' 

For Little, it's important to keep things as local as possible.

"The space will not only house day-to-day operations of Queen City Alchemy, but we really have visions of making this a space to build into our community and highlight quality, education, and transparency," she said. "We want to consciously move away from mass production to focus on well-made, considerate, and honest approaches in manufacturing."

Little said Vitae Viride will also carry a variety of other handcrafted and nature inspired items both from sellers in the area, like Kubik House in Dayton, Kentucky, as well as around the United States.

She said that in addition to her retail shop and workshop for Queen City Alchemy, she has a third component to her business place that includes a place for community making workshops.

"We also plan to host a number of workshops including soap making, calligraphy, Ayurveda, DIY Gifts, and cookie decorating. But really, we are open to hear from the community."

You can follow Vitae Viride on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to watch their progress and see some of the items they will be carrying in store.

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