The Kid is Alright
Ten years ago this month, Cedar & Hyde opened its doors, filling a gap in downtown Boulder that many of us residents didn't know desperately needed filling. A lot has changed since 2013: men's apparel is gone (so long ago! Stop asking!!); a Home goods store has sprung beautifully into existence next door, along with a bustling online presence; and people woven into the fabric of this business have moved on physically but are 4ever in our hearts.
Without one Christie Lambert, Cedar & Hyde would have gone the way of many small businesses long ago. Through ups and downs, one international pandemic and many other changes, her instincts, love and hard work have kept the shop not just surviving but thriving, and if you know Christie as a friend, customer or both, you will agree that it's special to be part of. She absolutely hates the spotlight, but she was nice enough to pry open the cupboard door a little and share some answers about the evolution of this place we all love. 💗
What has changed the most since Cedar & Hyde opened its doors in 2013?
Oh goodness…so many things. What stands out the most when I first hear the question is the fact that we have two more “store fronts.” We now have a separate Home store, as well as an online store. When we first opened Cedar & Hyde, we had everything under one roof at 2015 10th Street - literally everything. Ha! At the time, we sold men’s apparel, baby apparel, and we had some small food items. We wanted it to feel like a true mercantile, just like old times. We quickly learned that food items were not a good idea when we had a customer bring us back their moldy holiday marshmallow treats.
It took us a little bit longer to really hone in on what we called “items that were earning their rent.” Being in only 1200 square feet, we needed to make sure that everything on the sales floor was earning its maximum selling capability. With that equation being our mantra, it ended up being the ladies and home goods that deserved that coveted square footage.
In 2016 we opened our online store, and that has grown quite a bit over the past seven years. In 2018, we had the opportunity to take the space on the corner at 2019 10th Street. At that point we separated out the Home store from the Apparel store, which also gave us the opportunity to run our online stop in the basement of the Home store. The growth of all of it is the biggest change. What once felt more simple no longer does, but I wouldn’t change any of it for anything. It’s a wild life, and I love it!
What was a big "pinch me" moment in the shop's early days?
The “pinch me” moment is to see a dream become a reality. We had dreamed of having a store for so many years before actually becoming insane enough to go for it. The dream circled around in our beings and looked a million different ways up until the day we opened. At one point, Poss (my ex biz partner/sister, and yes we are still sisters and still very close) was convinced that the mercantile was going to be selling coffee. Other than that, Poss and I mostly saw eye to eye on everything.
The “pinch me” moments have been many over the years, and I still get them. But I’ll never forget that first month that we were open in October 2013, and we had customers immediately. I thought it would take longer. The response from our community was positive right out of the gate. Thank you! To work so hard for so long and to put everything you have on the line, and then to have it well received is the most satisfying “pinch me” moment there is (well, other than watching a child grow into adulthood and liking who that person turned out to be - that’s the ultimate “pinch me” moment). I’m grateful.
Do you have any regrets (that you're willing to share)?
As Frank Sinatra said, “regrets…I have a few.” This might be getting too personal, but I regret that when my father died of Covid that I didn’t close the shop early to go home and say goodbye. The morning of March 22nd, 2021, my mother called me to say that she felt like it was going to be dad’s last day, and that she wanted me to come home to say goodbye.
That same morning we got notice at the shop that there was an active shooter at the King’s Soopers in South Boulder. We were asked by the city to lock our doors and shelter in place. At that point in time bad news felt like the norm, and I was becoming numb to having what felt like darts coming at us everyday. It was definitely a debilitating feeling that made my normal reaction time more slow.
I happened to be running the Apparel store alone that day, so I felt like leaving to get to pops wasn’t an option. I’ve found myself so crazy dedicated to holding the exact shop hours I've committed to that I wish I would have been more flexible with myself that day. I booked a flight to leave after the shop closed. When I got to dad, he had just passed a few hours earlier. Had I just closed the shop early that day, I would have been able to hold dad’s hand one more time. I’ve since learned to be a little more flexible with myself. We now have the shop closed on Sundays, and it has been a very welcome change for my soul.
What has been the biggest surprise for you as the gal behind the shop?
Before opening, I had one big concern. I had been so mobile for so much of my adult life that I was very concerned about committing to be in one location for so many hours of the day and so many days of the year. I was truly worried that I was going to regret the decision and want to leave the business. The irony is that it wasn’t me that ended up feeling that way, it was my partner. Well…sort of, she ended up leaving for other reasons, but I was definitely surprised it was her and not me feeling the need for change. I’ve been surprised that I can honestly say that 99.9% of my days, I can’t wait to get to the shop.
What's your favorite part of this work? What is it that has driven you to be here six to seven days a week, every week (and mentally here the rest of the time) for 10 years?
There are too many to name, but one thing in particular that stands out to me is what I call the full circle satisfaction loop. Every February I go to New York to buy for fall, and every September I go to New York to buy for spring. As I’m looking at all the beautiful offerings, I can feel a lot of my customers there with me. I see certain pieces that I know certain people are going to love, and I literally feel a buzz.
Those things arrive at the shop about six months later, and then that particular person comes waltzing through the store. I see them pick up that piece that I envisioned them in six months prior; seeing their face see that item for the first time and for them to have the reaction to that item that I thought they were going to have IS MAGIC! This inspires me over and over and over again. It’s my own special kind of high. I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older that it is so much more fun to give than to receive. Especially when you are giving something that is so spot on for that person. There is hardly a better feeling.
Who inspires you?
I've always been and continue to be inspired by women who are not afraid to forge their own path, speak their mind, work hard, and who have a huge capacity to get shit done. I was raised in a religious household where women were encouraged to "be good girls," meaning listen to all the men in your life more than you listen to yourself. I was at odds with this environment from day one. As I got older and started listening to my own music, I found refuge and inspiration in women who sang about being free and what freedom means to them.
These songs sung by these women gave me a lot of strength: Dolly Parton's "Wildflowers," Nina Simone's "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free," and Sinead O'Connor's "Thank You For Hearing Me." In college, I studied Comparative Religions in the Philosophy department, as well as Women's Studies. I read a lot about Gloria Steinem, and her powerful influence in pushing the ball forward for women's standing in the world. So many women artists influence me as well: Frida Kahlo, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Louise Bourgeois to name just a few. The theme here is that I admire women who have an inner strength to live life as their authentic self no matter what is standing in their way.
What are you most looking forward to in the next 10 years?
I’m excited to see what can happen with the experience of 10 years in business behind me. The past 10 years have blown me away with what is possible, and I’m truly looking forward to another 10. Our focus of growth in the past few years has been in the online space, and I’m excited about the potential I see there.
This year I made it official with a new business partner, Michelle Tippmann. Michelle started working for us about seven years ago. She came on as a freelance photographer as we were getting our online business going, and the relationship has snowballed into something really beautiful. She became an official partner in May of this year, and I couldn’t be more excited to take on these next 10 years with her by my side.
When are you opening Cedar & Hyde ___ (insert city here)?
Hahaha, NEVER! Oops, every time I say never it doesn’t usually work out that way. I have no current plans for another brick and mortar, but I guess you never know now do you?