Member Spotlight: Province

Posted by: Unknown on Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Flat Iron Arts Building has recently welcomed a new tennant & brought an aetheral Etsy store to the physical world, as well as its owner, Brad Waters, a space to consult as a professional Career Coach. Please give a warm welcome to Province.

Briefly describe your business and introduce yourself. 

Province Owner Brad

I’m the owner of Province, a new Wicker Park pop-up curiosities shop that sells original artwork, antiques & vintage, natural science specimens, and live plants. Our concept can be described as farm-to-modern home & garden.

Our shop is open three days a week, which allows me time to also focus on my role as professional career coach. I help people clarify their career path and find jobs or start their own businesses. Opening a space in the Flat Iron Arts Building has allowed me to not only launch my new retail concept, but has also given me a physical space where I can offer in-person meetings with local coaching clients outside of regular store hours. Until now I have solely offered phone-based coaching, so this is an exciting new way to offer my services locally. 

My studio is located at 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave. #315 in the Flat Iron Arts Building. Hours of operation: Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Where did you get the inspiration to open your business? 

Many coaching clients who hire me express the fear that they will have to give up on their dreams or interests in order to take a full time job. We discover, over the course of our work together, that there are creative ways to pursue a fulfilling life and career without giving up those parts that feel so important and meaningful.

In my case, it was a lifelong interest in art, antiques, and gardening. I was raised in the rural Upper Peninsula of Michigan where my mom established her career as an artist. When I moved to Chicago, she and I gradually developed the Province concept. It allowed me to connect with my rural northern roots in the farm-to-modern concept. Now I’m able to represent her artwork in the city in addition to showcasing my love of indoor gardening and vintage objects. And because I still offer career coaching, I didn’t have to choose one career vs. the other. I forged a creative solution to offer both.

My mom is inspiration for my creative approach to business, plus she’s very much a part of the Province brand. She creates art pieces and scouts vintage objects. We still sell many of the items on Etsy—where Province got its start—and we’ll continue our growth by launching the Province lifestyle brand/blog by the end of the year.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a business owner?

I’m an entrepreneur at heart. As early as middle school I was recycling metal for cash and collecting antiques for investment. I also founded a pet care company that is still in business years since I sold it. So for me a big part of being a business owner is connecting the business with your heart and your values. Having that kind of connection with your business will inspire you to work hard, maintain discipline, and fight for its success even when times are tough.

Shop Province Arts What are the places in Wicker Park Bucktown that you cannot live without?

I absolutely love the variety that Wicker Park and Bucktown offer. We have innovative floral shops like Asrai Garden (just down the block from me!) and an intriguing mix of galleries and businesses in the Flat Iron Building. Excellent coffee and people watching at Wormhole. Biscoff pockets at Stan’s Donuts. Vegetarian sandwiches at Jerry’s. Okay, clearly I love the food in WPB. Oh, and adjustments from Dr. Cohler at Division Chiropractic. She keeps me going…so I can eat more.

What can people expect when they walk in your front door?

Province is a small space with lots of variety. At its core it’s a curiosities shop, so my goal is to inspire wonder and provide natural beauty. There are two underlying themes that influence everything we do at Province: story and consciousness. We want each piece to be able to stand alone on its own merit. In other words, no matter how large or small, it must have an element of beauty, intrigue, provenance, or purpose. To that end, we don’t stock mass produced trinkets or things made of plastic (unless it’s vintage plastic) because those things don’t tell a story and they lack heart & soul. Each of our pieces is handpicked or handmade and therefore enhances the Province brand.Shop Province Elements

The consciousness piece refers to the careful way we curate and create our inventory. Many of our objects are repurposed, refinished, all natural, or otherwise have a durability that makes them a better choice than something from a big box store. From our daily store operations to the items we stock, our decisions consider our impact on the Earth and its future artists. Examples of our rotating stock include: live plant arrangements, vintage enamel kitchenware, antique iron farm gadgets, vintage cabinets and printer’s trays, original paintings, and natural science specimens such as rare minerals & crystals and skeleton assemblage.

Check out photos and connect with us @ProvinceJournal on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.


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