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March 12, 2020
Spotlight: MEET MEGHAN CONNER TIMMERMAN, the small business owner and creative mind behind Menagerie on Laurens Street. The path to opening her own shop began back in 2015 when she wanted to learn how to take her own work as a photographer and put it on things, like a full dinner service collection.
“I set out to educate myself,” Meghan said. “I locked myself in my studio and within three months, The Aiken Creative Company was born. I used my seventeen years of experience as an animal health pharmaceutical sales rep to help me plan and promote my business. We started in a little location on Laurens Street and 18 months later, my shop moved to ‘the big top’ and became Menagerie. Defined as an eclectic collection of things, the name could not be more appropriate. My process lends itself to things from gifts, apparel, home décor, and more. The addition of one of Aiken’s most beloved stars, Betsy Wilson Mahoney, just finished the shop’s presence in the most perfect of ways.”
Menagerie is a shop full of unique gifts and customizable items, both of which fly off the shelves.
“Hands down, no matter what I put South Boundary on, it is a big hit,” Meghan said. “My serving trays are my most popular item, as are custom ornaments and custom tiles. The custom items are just so popular, and the artwork by Betsy ties for first as well.”
It’s easy to customize an item at Menagerie. The process begins with selecting an item and finding just the right way to customize it. Both are things that Meghan helps her customers with.
“When customers are brand new, it takes a bit of time for the custom aspect of the store to sink in,” Meghan said. “They are looking at a lot of posh items and it takes them a few minutes to visualize their own images or designs on all of the items in the shop. Often what happens next is the customer leaves after their initial visit, and then later in the evening or the next day, I start receiving texts or emails containing images asking how I think it would look on this or that. It is so fun to watch customers tap into their own creativity that results in something so personal and timeless. Most everyone is shocked by the ease of doing something custom and how quickly it gets done.”
After a couple of years in business, Meghan and her team are thrilled to be a part of Aiken’s thriving downtown community, and love to see other small businesses doing well alongside Menagerie.
“Laurens Street is the heartbeat of Aiken,” Meghan said. “Aiken’s best shopping, eating, and celebrating is all done on Laurens or nearby. Small businesses, in turn, are the pulse of Aiken. I am proud of Aiken and what we are. We have an excellent group of merchants in Aiken that care for each other as well as the growth of our town. Our Aiken Downtown Association is so passionate about making opportunities, and our City Hall is so welcoming and easy to work with. Aiken’s viability depends on its locals as well as our tourists. So we hope that everyone will always shop local and small every chance that they get!”