Inspired Changemakers

Karli Millspaugh

Owner, Curate Mercantile, Makers Market, Orchard Farmers Market and Unique Boutique craft fair

I couldn’t do it all without support from my amazing husband, Brent. Together we live in Parker with our almost-4-year-old son, Kade. We share a love for community and entertaining. From our annual Christmas cookie exchange to Sunday night dinners, it’s important for us to spend time in fellowship with people we care about.

How do you stretch yourself to reach for your goals? 

I spent 15+ years in public relations and marketing before quitting my job with the idea of following my dream. Now I spend my days working for the good of more than 150 small, creative vendors. We use our various stores, markets and craft fairs to showcase their work to shoppers who continually call us their “happy place” for gifts and local goods. But nothing has been as rewarding and fulfilling as owning these amazing stores and helping other “creatives” build their businesses.  I give all those people who dream of having a small shop the chance to achieve it. I do it because I wanted it so badly myself and I don’t want those same doubts and fears stop anyone else from realizing their dreams! I’m trying to remove those barriers (overhead, staffing, administrative work, etc.), so others can succeed through brick and mortar stores!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Trust your gut. I think we often try to set aside “red flags” we may be feeling because, on paper, everything seems fine. But I’ve learned that my instincts are right nine times out of 10.

What’s some great advice you could give another woman wanting to start something new?

We can’t all have the same calling in life. And just because someone else’s path or calling is different than yours, doesn’t mean either one is wrong. The comparison game that women tend to fall into will be the quickest killer of your dreams. I tell this to our creative vendors all the time, but if you truly believe in “community over competition,” you’ll be amazed at the positive energy your business will receive. I have to remind myself of this truth all the time. I’m not immune to the comparison game, but I also know that focusing on the “have and have-nots” doesn’t do anything to propel me forward.

Who do you admire most in your life?

My mom was the ultimate creative force in my life, teaching me what it looked like to make merchandise, set beautiful displays and run an awesome craft fair. She had me counting back money to shoppers when I was 10. My dad, on the other hand, taught me about working “smart” while being frugal and money-wise. 

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