“The best part of St. Louis is the diverse culture within a tight knit community.”
That is what Anni Jones believes, and there are many people in St. Louis that agree with her. Anni is an artist who creates her own clothes by recycling and redesigning old clothes. Anni’s shop, Mesa Home, is nestled right at the end of Cherokee Street, by the Jefferson Avenue crossroad. The store features her work, as well as some from other artists. Anni is also an avid supporter of the ‘Cherokee Street’ scene. Cherokee Street has an eclectic variety of shops and restaurants. When I asked Anni what drew her to this area, her answer summed it up perfectly: “The art of Cherokee Street is what drew me in initially, the street art in particular. The vibe around here is pro-art, pro- ‘you-do- you’ and pro-community.” The minute you interact with Anni, you can sense her passion for Mesa Home and the neighborhood, as well as her enthusiasm for the people who enter the store and the passers-by who wave through the window. Anni’s shop is quaint and welcoming. We talked a little bit about what it is like owning and running her own business, and a little bit more about her personal life:
What was the biggest challenge in starting your own business?
“The biggest challenge is marketing. Doing it on a budget means using lots of social media. It is difficult to keep up with posts and advertising on Instagram and Twitter. When you have a snug budget it’s hard to set aside money, time and effort to put into marketing strategies. In this community word of mouth is helpful, but I would definitely like to be better at social media too.”
What has been your proudest moment since you started Mesa Home?
“When somebody really likes my work. When they come into the store and pick out a piece I made and admire it. They don’t even have to buy it; I am just very proud when people enjoy my artwork.”
What piece of advice would you give to other women trying their entrepreneurial success?
“Be kind. Everybody has suffering. It’s our job to keep positivity going. I am more concerned about individual health and spreading compassion. Don’t let other people get you down. Also the ‘art world’ welcomes women. It is a very supportive community.”
What is your philosophy in life?
“Be Kind. Do unto others…Respect Mother earth. Recognize our place in all living things. Living full. And yeah, basically just don’t be a dick.”
Do you feel like the business aspect of your job takes away from the creative aspect?
“Not really. I have noticed that I’ve become more of a ‘business lady’ because I have to make sure things are in order and of course the bills. But I still feel like I have time to be creative. When I can hire some help I will be able to spend more time searching for good pieces which will help me create more clothing, but for now keeping up the shop allows me to be creative.”
What are your future goals for Mesa Home?
“I want to have somebody working in the store, as an employee and a mentee, so I can have more free time to find and put together pieces. They can also help me with my social media. I also want to look into partnering with some organizations that are for human liberation.”
At Revive, we highly value restoration, and Anni really encapsulates this through her work. Throughout our entire exchange, I could feel that Anni does not easily succumb to negativity. She has a free sense about her. She is a positive influence in the city. For this and many other reasons, we want to highlight her contribution to the local St. Louis community. What a boss!