The news has slowly been trickling out during the Villagers transition, and now it's about time I introduce myself. Hello :) I’m Kendra Shillington. I hail from a big beautiful Polish family in Chicago. I have 57 first cousins! Naturally I am very extroverted, come in and say hi! I recently made Asheville my home in April of 2018. I bought 17 acres west of Asheville and have been a full time homesteader and dream weaver ever since. I moved here to live a more self-sufficient, empowered life. And to study herbs! I was in a car accident 12 years ago, and since I have taken my health into my own hands. I have overcome the odds using herbs, food, and lifestyle. I knew I needed to contribute to and belong to a local food ecology. Food is life, and means everything to me. Nowadays I work in my garden, kitchen, and pottery studio mostly. My background is civic innovation and supporting an entrepreneurial mindset. Although most of my clients are livestock and plants now, I remain dedicated to supporting individuals in their development of thriving, passion-based businesses and lifestyles. Supporting change through continuous learning, from and with others, is at the center of who I am. I believe that by making small changes in our own lives and by making choices everyday that support regenerative living, the world can and will be a better place.
When I first moved to Asheville a dear friend brought me to Villagers immediately. I was in love! I stocked up on bulk herbs and bought a beautiful pillow that Natalie picked out with her Mom in Italy. I looked through the books with indecision because I wanted to read them all! After that first visit, I would pop into the store from time to time, when I needed a boost of hope and a reminder of why I moved to Asheville, changed my life, and risked it all to achieve my dreams. Villagers has had a similar impact on so many of your lives. And, I would love to meet you! I have been in the shop the past few days listening to countless personal stories. Every story is unique and yet each shares the same message. Villagers is a more than a shop. Villagers is a symbol of inspiration to many. What that inspiration is varies from person to person. The message is about community, and the inspiration is a collective of bright light sourced from each and every beautiful person who contributes.
I am both nervous and incredibly excited to be the new Mama of Villagers. A funny coincidence, my name, Kendra, means “Mother of the Village” in Afrikaans! Please bear with me and the Villagers crew as we transition into our new role with grace and humility. I am adopting and committing to caring for something that is bigger than me, that feels important beyond my current understanding. It is important that I hear from you all and can grasp what I am vowing to uphold. This is my commitment, to you, the community.. Please come into the shop, say hello, share what you love about Villagers, how you hope we will grow and expand, and how you would like to contribute and join us.
Be sure to read the Q & A below for more answers to some questions you may have!
We would also love it if you would take a moment to share your thoughts by filling out this 4 question survey!
Why do you want to own Villagers?
I closed my eyes and leaped. I leaped into a rushing river and with no real plan, just a desire to live a life closer to nature and kindred spirits. Crazy? Maybe. I felt that my life could be better, if I only had the courage to listen to my heartsong. Villagers has been an inspiration and catalyst towards living my authentic life. For me, and for others, Villagers must remain a pillar of support and hope.
Everyone who has come into my life is a teacher along the way; activists, farmers, carpenters, business owners, mothers, healers, artists, friends… every one of you has shaped my story. I am grateful. Now I want to support people who are also looking to make the shift to a more sustainable, self empowered lifestyle, whatever that looks like person to person. I want to share the stories and wisdom of the inspiring people who live here. I want to share the culture of this Appalachian tribe. Our stories will inspire others to also act to follow their intended call towards purpose and fulfillment. I want to support the belief that it isn't our sole responsibility to only take care of ourselves, but to take care of eachother and the planet as well.
What will change and what will stay the same?
Villagers will evolve over time to meet the needs of the community. We will still carry similar products and also bring in new useful inventory. Some of the immediate changes will be a packageless grocery and vintage bike rental for Haywood Road! We also have flowery couches and will be serving tea if you would like to stay for awhile. The Villagers Crew will share more of our excitement of these new offerings soon!
Will I be able to get the same products?
Mostly, yes. I am currently reviewing what are the MOST sought after products. We will do our best to announce new product lines in the days, weeks, and months to come. Please visit the shop or fill out this survey to tell us what your favorite products are so we can be sure to keep them! In that, we want to hear from you about what new products/services you would like us to offer.
Are you open to adding new consignment goods?
Absolutely Positively YES! I intend to support local craft in all forms. Many of us make beautiful handmade goods and Villagers can be the vessel to get those goods to folks across the globe! So bring your baskets, and jewelry, handmade mugs, salves, knitwear, wooden spoons… bring your passion! Bring it to Villagers! Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org or come visit us in the shop!
Are you open to collaboration?
Yes! Of course! The old saying: “it takes a village” is so true! Villagers is a community collaboration. Send a message to email@example.com
Will you continue to offer workshops?
Learning is integral to who I am. I hope to expand the educational offerings in the classroom in the shop, and an outdoor classroom on my farm, and other farms with immersive and experiential offerings. I also hope to provide accommodations for out of town guests who want to experience farm life. Come stay in my airstream soon!
Will you keep the online store?
Yes. I will be selling products online and also offering curated membership boxes in collaboration with local artisans. Interested crafters and makers, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you hiring?
Absolutely! Villagers is hiring for several roles. We are seeking a team members for both a full-time Shop Manager and a Co-Manager position for approximately 20-24 hours per week starting in early April. We are seeking applicants with the ability to be committed long-term: an individual with a vested interest in the community of Asheville and Villagers' place in it. We are especially interested in applicants with retail management, merchandising and online store experience.
Join the Villager’s Crew!