What started as a way for a local mother and daughter duo to spend time together after Hurricane Ida has blossomed into something far beyond the imagination of two local women.
Destrehan resident Ellen Huguenel Windmann said she’s always loved and participated in art.
“With the storm and not having power or internet there was really nothing to do, but we had fence boards that were down in our yard so I picked some that we had and started painting them with my daughter,” Windmann said. “I made a couple for the neighbors just as little pick me up and one for a friend in St. Rose … it was like therapy.”
Windmann said she and her 9-year-old daughter Bailey had fun designing the boards together and delivering them to people. The duo turned their activity into a fundraiser for the community, where they eventually donated $700 of their proceeds to the River Region Drama Guild.
Vicki Johnson-Cain of Destrehan purchased several boards from the Windmanns and even had Ellen custom design pieces for her. What started as business transactions between the two blossomed into a friendship, and when Johnson-Cain learned her friend Beth Bowman was opening a pet boutique in Bay St. Louis, she knew just who to call.
“Vicki reached out to me and said, ’Hey, I have this friend who is going to open this boutique in January … Would you be interested in selling your art there?’” Windmann remembers. “The pieces just kind of fell together and brought me on this new journey I’m on.”
Johnson-Cain will also sell items through the store. She is a seller of DOG IS GOOD merchandise, which includes unique apparel and accessories for dogs and the people who love them.
“This is the first time my stuff will be in a store,” Johnson-Cain said. “I’ve just been doing craft shows and markets and pop-ups, so I have to set up and take down all the time and it’s just me so it’s a lot of work.”
Johnson-Cain said Three Sisters Pet Boutique is a woman-owned business that will exclusively feature other women-owned businesses. It is found on the third floor of The Shops of Century Hall, located at 112 Second Street in Bay St. Louis, MS.
“It’s a really cool building,” Johnson-Cain said, adding that in the future she hopes her collaboration with the boutique will lead to opportunities to partner with several animal charities. “It’s a really fun opportunity and a unique store.”
Windmann said she has no idea what to expect as her art goes into a boutique, but that she is happy she went with her gut instinct to step outside of her comfort zone and participate in the new business.
“It’s just a good feeling to create things that people are treasuring,” she said. “I always liked art, but it was something that kind of faded out when I became a mom because I started focusing more on my kids. It’s funny because it kind of died off due to my daughter and was kind of reborn thanks to my daughter. It’s exciting … it’s a fun journey to be on for sure.”
Windmann said without Johnson-Cain buying boards from her, she more than likely would have never ventured into selling art to more than family and friends.
“I would have never connected with Beth and this opportunity would have never happened,” Windmann said. “Vicki is a big piece of the puzzle for me.”