I am so excited to share with you one of my favorite places to shop, The Loaded Trunk. Today feels like an really special day to let you in on one of my best sources for global treasures as I am celebrating my one year anniversary of WanderShopper. My gift to each of you is the debuting of a new feature, WanderShop, showcasing the boutiques and artisans I like to shop with online so you can explore their offerings and start ordering finds with them, too. The more we all support independent, women business owners the more successful they will be and they will then be able to expand their lines even further giving us even more shopping options. It’s a win-win-win for everyone.
I know many of my posts have featured artisans and shops I find while traveling, and that will still be an important part of WanderShopper. But let’s face it, most of our time is spent at home, and not on the road, so I wanted to help you identify great businesses that embrace global items or artistic traditions that also have an accessible, easy-to-shop-with website. And I think you will be as delighted as I am by our premier boutique, The Loaded Trunk.
I first discovered The Loaded Trunk a couple years ago while shopping on One Kings Lane. I loved the items I purchased from them so much that I sought them out individually and started what is sure to be a long and happy shopping affair. Founder Roni Jaco travels the world to source unique pieces for us WanderShoppers to buy. I have been an enthusiastic shopper since I wandered over to her site and the pictures I am posting feature items I have purchased from The Loaded Trunk.
I want you to learn more about The Loaded Trunk from Roni Jaco herself, following are her answers to questions I recently posed. I find Roni fascinating, not just for all the wonderful treasures she regularly tempts me with at her website, but as a woman entrepreneur who has built a successful business during some tough economic times. Roni is someone I really admire and I know you will, too. So with out further ado, let me introduce you to Roni, in her own words.
WS: What is the mission of The Loaded Trunk?
TLT: To bring beautiful items to your home and more important to give cultural exposure through our collections. I am passionate about bringing a view of the world outside of most peoples. Working as often as possible with local artisans of each country providing a fair platform to sell their craft.
WS: How long has The Loaded Trunk been open?
WS: What motivated you to start The Loaded Trunk?
TLT: I grew up a traveler all over the world, moving to a different country and a different school every year or two. I thought this was normal until I landed in the Midwest married… soon after, I was divorced with 2 little ones to raise. I stayed in Kansas City, raised my kids, had a wonderful career in the wine business then restlessness set in. I have been told enough times, I have a natural aesthetic for curating so I started to believe it. After a trip to S.E. Asia I returned and was showing some old pieces I purchased to a friend, who is a designer, and he fell in love and said he can’t believe I don’t buy for galleries.
WS: How did you choose The Loaded Trunk as a name?
TLT: I made it simple, I sat down with a pad of paper and started writing. I tried to come up with phrases that envisioned my world. I then circled my ideas to a handful of loved ones and The Loaded Trunk was born.
WS: How do you choose what items to offer at The Loaded Trunk?
TLT: That depends where I go to be honest. And what I am drawn to when I’m there. I am basically a one woman show, with a passion for cultural immersion and learning. I know I need to be able to pack it in suitcases, find someone’s container to share, or shop it inexpensively and hope things reach me.
I buy what I like, I don’t really look at trends, sometimes I am ahead of them but usually behind them.
WS: What is your favorite way to find items for The Loaded Trunk?
TLT: I like hunting, hitting up local markets, talking with the local artisans, learning. I am not at all a garage sale person. I never have been which is weird when I think about my love for going to another country and hunting. It is easier and far more adventure laden to go someplace I have dreamed of going to hunt, dig into the culture, etc…
WS: What do you wish people knew about The Loaded Trunk?
TLT: I wish I could convey the story and really all my wonderful adventures better. In the world of social media it is very difficult to compete on a level playing field. Although I would like to more, I don’t spend too much time talking about the social consciousness involved in the hunt and sourcing I do. As you know, there are many ways to play the game. But grass roots is how I work, which makes things difficult at times when everyone wants the newest and shiniest “it” thing, and they want it cheap. They don’t realize or understand that for every $5 t-shirt you buy, someone suffers.
WS: How would you introduce yourself to people who have not met you yet?
TLT: I am a hunter, a picker, a global chameleon, who through my passion for travel and collecting have put together a curated collection of one-of-a-kind timeless treasure trove of home decor.
WS: What is your title at The Loaded Trunk?
TLT: I am a one woman show, a woman entrepreneur. I found something I am good at and something I enjoy and now I’m trying to run with it. For my title, I am jack-of-all-trades, owner, buyer, photographer, writer, programmer, saleswoman, shopping clerk, marketing director, bookkeeper, webmaster, hunter/buyer, and planner.
WS: What aspects of being a business owner appeal to you the most? What appeals to you the least?
TLT: I like that I have learned so much as a single entrepreneur…hands down but my hunter/buyer/curating skills and cultivating current and new supplier/vendor relationships throughout the world is what I am best at. The easy part for me is to travel to some obscure place alone and find my way to weaving villages and markets.
The day to day business appeals to me the least. I am a creative person and I have to work so hard to stay on task with the day to day running of the business.
WS: How does being a woman business owner help you or add a challenge for you? Locally? Around the world?
TLT: I don’t think about that part too much. If I did, I would probably not have begun this. I buy in many countries that women are rarely seen in commerce. It is important to me to research and understand the nuances of a culture before I head to that spot, so usually I am prepared. Women aren’t seen in a lot of the countries I go to. It is a thrill to connect with them and their crafts while there and help them shine.
WS: What surprised you most after you opened The Loaded Trunk?
TLT: How much work it would be. Working from home is a constant struggle separating work life from personal life. Difficult to have boundaries. I work all of the time unless I am on the road and this part I don’t consider work! It’s challenging not to be engulfed in The Loaded Trunk every minute of every day.
WS: How would you describe your personal sense of style?
TLT: Simply click on The Loaded Trunk. In my home, I enjoy mixing modern contemporary furniture pieces with The Loaded Trunk collection to decorate and use.
WS: What influences your personal interior design choices?
TLT: My mother, and having the opportunity to grow up all over the world.
WS: What color scheme excites you the most at the moment?
TLT: I am always made for indigo.
WS: When you want to redecorate a space in your home, where do you usually begin? A color, item, furniture, textile?
TLT: I always being with a chest….I have a number of old Korean, Indian, Chinese, and Japanese chests that are my dressers, liquor cabinet, etc., so these rule me.
WS: What was the first global treasure you remember really caught your eye when you were a child?
TLT: A Korean blanket chest.
WS: Which destination inspires you most currently?
TLT: I’ve always been drawn to an Asian aesthetic but traveling to Mexico, Guatemala, Turkey & Morocco helps bring a great culturally eclectic style.
WS: Where would you like to travel next? What do you hope to do while you are there?
TLT: The next destination is back to Mexico and Guatemala, while I’m there I will be doing what I do best…interacting with locals, hunting, picking, sourcing, and enjoying the delicious food and culture.
WS: Describe your perfect vacation.
TLT: Everywhere can be a perfect vacation, it’s what you make of it and who you share it with. Now a days, sometimes my perfect vacation is just getting away from all computers, phones…impossible, right?!
WS: When you travel, what do you always make sure to pack?
TLT: Pashmina. A pashmina is so versatile and feels good in warm and cool weather. Also, wax earplugs and a handful of Burt’s Bees Lip Balm with color.
WS: If a WanderShopper could only take one vacation for the rest of their lives, where should they go>
TLT: I haven’t been everywhere. Turkey and Thailand. Wonderful people, beautiful scenery and they just feel like a second home to me. Both have history and amazing big cities with fantastic food, culture and modern/ancient edges.
WS: What tips could you share for shopping around the world?
TLT: For the personal shopper, haggling get’s way too much attention. If you find something you love, remember it if you feel it is a fair price.
WS: What’s on your shopping list to give as gifts this holiday season?
TLT: My friends and family also get something from The Loaded Trunk, that;s the blessing for owning a store. There is something for everyone and everyone in my world seems to always love the treasures I give them.
WS: What item at The Loaded Trunk makes a perfect gift?
TLT: You can never go wrong with textiles and pillows, but for the special person something unique from our objet d’art are great gifts.
WS: What item do men seem to be really drawn to at The Loaded Trunk?
TLT: I don’t pay attention to the shopper. Many shoppers are buying for a number of reasons but always for something they love or they think someone else will love. I think anything at The Loaded Trunk could be for a male shopper, well our wearables category is very women’s accessory focused.
WS: Do you keep any collections? If so, what?
TLT: Many, puppet heads and Nat’s from Burma, rugs, African textiles, Mexican ceramics….
WS: Where do you call home?
TLT: I landed in Kansas City after growing up around the world. I had never been to the Midwest. 2 kids and x years later, I am still here. My spirit is always where my next trip plan is! I really fell like my home is wherever I am at the moment.
WS: Where is you favorite place to escape when you aren’t on the road?
TLT: On a massage table.
WS: Where do you see The Loaded Trunk in 5 years? What are your dreams?
TLT: I don’t know where I’ll be in 5 years. It’s been a whirlwind so far and I hope it continues. I know I’d like to spread the word that I’m available for interior designers and people of the trade to help be a product finder and/or take advantage of my current products but that’s about as far as I have gotten. Just keep selling and keep bringing beautiful pieces to the States to share with everyone.
I’m sure you can tell by now, that I am a huge fan of Roni and The Loaded Trunk. If I were to have a globally chic store, I would want it to be just like The Loaded Trunk. Roni travels to the places I love to visit and sources artisan creations that I love to give as gifts and use in my home. Set aside some time today and head over to The Loaded Trunk and do a little shopping for yourself. I’m confident that you will find something that is perfect for you and you can help Roni unload another one of her trunks!
Until we shop again,