We had the good fortune of connecting with Kiley Handy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kiley, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Like the stories of artisans I tend to gravitate toward, my journey to opening Period Six was born out of things not going according to plan. I grew up in a small Colorado mountain town and was lucky enough to enjoy all it had to offer. But was especially lucky to have parents that encouraged me to see as much of the world as I could. The “plan” was to do theatre and I did, for a while. I have a BFA in Acting and after college discovered a love for stage management. During this time I also started working for an artist whom I admired and was surrounded by makers of things that made me feel alive. So, the plan morphed, aided by a lot of rejection (a word I now use fondly), a bevy of not getting called back, unpaid internships, and ‘industry’ jobs left me feeling unsatisfied. I worked in other charming boutiques and galleries that were great places to be but needed a bigger challenge. So I distilled down what I thought I “knew” and changed course. I knew that my theatre honed skills would never come across on a traditional resume and I knew that nothing made me happier than making sure artists have a place to thrive and tell their stories. The shape of Period Six began to form. As luck would have it, I had the perfect business partner in mind – my mom, Ann. She is a graphic-designer-non-profit-maven-knows-a-little-about-everything machine, and you know, we have history, we understand each other’s ideas before they’re even ready to workshop. We’ve been shopping together forever – on a constant quest to find unicorn experiences, totally unique to their location and people. Most importantly, we share a love for making people smile when they least expect to. We combine our powers to curate a store we’d go out of our way to visit.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The best part of owning a store is getting to support the artists and businesses you admire. You get to curate a collection of people and work that tell the world a little something about yourself, and if you’re lucky, you attract the customers that resonates with. This is what I set out to do after working in other people’s stores, in the event industry, and in theatre. Retail is hard and entrepreneurship can be lonely. You’re suddenly, especially in the beginning, wearing all these new hats. On any given day, you’re the buyer, web designer, sales associate, marketing guru, bookkeeper… even the janitor. Nothing prepares you for all of that. I do think I’m lucky though, doing theatre made me resilient and deliberate. When I’m feeling overwhelmed by this or that I think about what Jerome Robbins told actor Austin Pendleton when Fiddler on the Roof was struggling. A defeated Pendleton asked “what are we going to do?” and Robbins responded, “10 things a day.” I come back to this anecdote often as a reminder to break a problem into manageable chunks. Some days it’s not looking at where I want the business to go, but doing a handful of tasks that reflect how proud I am that we are where we are. Just show up and take one step, then another. I’m not sure you ever feel like you know all the choreography (hello imposter syndrome!), but you get a little more graceful with every challenge.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Red Rocks for a concert – a preshow dinner/ drink at Origin Hotel The Iron Skillet – for candied bacon that’s sweet and spicy and melts in your mouth Red Silo for coffee The Cheese Ranch for whatever the grilled cheese of the day may be New Terrain Brewery Walk along Clear Creek starting in downtown Golden See a play at Miner’s Alley
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
What a difficult question, because there are so many to mention. Of course, I could go on and on about the impact and support of my family and friends- I mean, I did go into business with my mom, and I’m lucky to have been shaped by many people. But someone I’d like to shout out is Deb Kneale. It seemed so inevitable to her that I should open a store and for that, I’ll always be thankful. She has 30+ years of experience owning and operating an artisan gallery and selling her own work. Working on a sales floor with her was like a master class in the world of American folk & craft galleries and her enthusiasm for the industry is infectious. She taught me about pricing, buying, and building relationships with artists. Her respect for makers and her ability to go out of her way to help anyone who needs it is inspiring.