We are featuring another amazing local Greensboro, NC business today! It has been so fun to get to know the creators and business owners behind various Greensboro favorites. Today, we’re chatting with Alexa of Antlers and Astronauts!
Alexa, thank you for joining our Small Business series on the blog! Tell us about yourself.
My name is Alexa Terry Wilde and I’m the owner of Antlers and Astronauts, a brick & mortar located in the heart of Downtown Greensboro that offers a highly curated collection of vintage clothing, antiques, and handmade goods from artists throughout the Southeastern United States. My husband, Colt, is a chiropractor from the mountains of North Carolina. Together, we have a son named Grey (who will be 3 in October) and a 70-pound Australian Shepherd mix named Loala. I graduated in 2010 from Elon University with a degree in Corporate Communications and have spent the better part of the last decade traveling up and down the East Coast, settling (albeit, very briefly) in Washington, D.C., Greenville, SC and Atlanta, GA. 2 years ago, our little family made the move back to my hometown of Reidsville, NC, where we’re happy to land for a bit. I’m a self-proclaimed coffee snob and feel most comfortable in a pair of overalls and slip-on Vans. I’m happiest when I’m working hard on something I’m passionate about, when I’m cleaning (I’m not kidding – a good deep clean is one of the greatest stress relievers for me!), and when I’m spending time with the ones I love.
How long have you been in business and how did Antlers & Astronauts come about?
Antlers and Astronauts will be celebrating its 2nd birthday in October (HOORAY!) but the concept for the brand has been around much longer – I knew as early as 8th grade that I wanted to be a small business owner but I wasn’t entirely sure what that looked like.
I grew up deeply entrenched in the world of performing arts. In high school, equipped with the training I had received from many years of thrifting with my grandma and inspired by my love of clothes from the stage, I began hunting for vintage dresses, jewelry, sewing patterns and photographs in my spare time – old goods with a story. Before I knew it, my hobby turned into an obsession and I realized that I had the potential to make some money on these pieces that I had begun collecting.
In college, I studied communications but supplemented with photography classes, design classes, and writing classes. At a pivotal moment, I had a professor that I deeply admired sit me down and tell me that I should really hone in on this idea of “storytelling” – it was one of those singular pieces of advice that really changes the way you look at things and molds you into the person that you become. I was already a storyteller, whether I realized it or not: in the clothes that I wore or designed, in the photographs I took, or in the songs that I sang.
I knew by the time I graduated college that I wanted to own a brick & mortar so I began working in retail and growing very quickly in management, developing skills in visual merchandising and display, event planning, and day-to-day operations. I was only able to take the plunge and open my own storefront when my family felt like we could make that financial commitment. By that point, I had logged nearly a decade of retail management experience.
What is your favorite part of owning and running your own brick & mortar?
I’ll always love interacting with the customers, face-to-face, but sourcing the product is my first true love. Sourcing the product is only fun if I know it’s going to delight, so when I get to pair a customer with a product that makes them happy, that’s really what makes it all worthwhile.
What has been the highlight of your experience in business so far?
There are so many little things I love about being a small business owner: walking into the space that I’ve curated every morning, putting on the music that I want to listen to, lighting our store’s signature candle (a scent that we created with the help of another local small business owner: Lindsay from Bloom Anthology), and sipping my coffee bathed in the natural light pouring in from our storefront windows. But none of that would be nearly as enjoyable if I didn’t have customers that could share in that with me – interacting with the members of our community (and even people who are just passing through) is probably the greatest highlight of my experience in business so far. It’s all about relationships and building one another up, which I get to do every single day, and it is truly an honor and privilege.
Photography by Emma Frances Logan