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Whidbey women team up for business
For strong examples of women in business, you don’t need to look very hard in Oak Harbor.
Brenda Pike and Sandy Merriman opened Wild Magnolia on Pioneer Way three years ago. Because of their diverse backgrounds, they said they thought their different skill sets would complement each other.
“We use the whole brain theory,” Pike said.
“Between the two of us, we make a whole brain.”
Merriman has a background in finance and management, while Pike’s former careers include sales and marketing. Both are artistic and love displaying their products in creative ways.
“We have totally different approaches, but we always end up with the same outcome,” Merriman said.
Pike said they both love changing store displays as the seasons change too.
“We like to play to our artistic sides,” Pike said. “You can only redecorate your house so many times.”
Merriman grew up in Oak Harbor and loves having a business in her hometown. Their store features an array of items, such as scarves, jewelry, candles, tea and much more.
“We both wanted to make the most beautiful store we could, with prices everyone can afford,” Pike said.
Pike moved to the area nine years ago from the Bay area. Both Pike and her husband wanted to leave their careers behind and focus on art. He works with clay, and she is a photographer. She enjoys taking pictures of flowers.
Both Pike and Merriman said they enjoy running their own business for many different reasons
“Like a puzzle, it’s about finding the right product at the right time for the right price,” Merriman said.
With their two distinct personalities, Merriman said its fun to incorporate them into one store and work together.
As a business owner, Pike loves interacting with the community. She’s able to meet soldiers and their families, community members and tourists. It gives her an opportunity to interact with others she normally wouldn’t have conversations with.
“The people are really what make this a great experience,” Merriman said.
Besides the visitors who come to the area, they enjoy the support from their community too.
“We have a core group of local customers who we love dearly,” Merriman said.
Both Merriman and Pike said they are happy to be downtown and want to see it continue to grow and gain more local followers.
For anyone looking to start their own business, Pike did offer a few words of advice.
“Don’t be afraid to take a chance,” Pike said.
“There’s risk in everything, and I’m glad I did this.”