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Meet Kim Teirlynck of MOTTO in Harvard Square

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kim Teirlynck.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My background is in the arts and design with an emphasis on printed and woven textiles. After several years of producing and marketing a line of printed and painted clothing through various markets such as the American Craft Council shows, I became interested in selling and promoting the work of other artisans.

Has it been a smooth road?
One of the most difficult challenges for a small independent shop is to find a good location that is affordable, to bring together a good team with the best mix of skills to run the business and to have enough capital to manage the cash flow throughout the year.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the MOTTO story. Tell us more about the business.
MOTTO specializes in American made artisan jewelry as well as internationally sourced textiles, handbags, accessories and home accents. Many of the jewelers and designers we carry have been represented at MOTTO for a few decades. Our team has a background in the arts, with a broad knowledge of the techniques and materials used to produce the work that we offer.

We strive to create a welcoming, rich environment of the most beautiful well-designed products of varied styles, textures, colors, and materials. MOTTO has become a destination since 1988 for an unusual inventory mix, in a broad price range for our discerning clientele from the Cambridge and Boston area and beyond.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The future of independent, one of a kind, local shops rely upon their ability to be flexible and to continually gauge what their audience might appreciate and desire. E-commerce is essential in order to expand the reach of small brick and mortar shops and to help them survive during these challenging times. Shopkeepers need to adapt and broaden their skills in technology and social media.

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