After Evan Turner moved into her parents’ house in Washougal, she struggled with the fact that she no longer had a residence of her own, and felt guilty that her daughter was growing up in a “glorified attic.”
“Here I am, almost 30, living with my parents, a divorced single mom, and I felt like a loser most of the time,” she said.
One day, after her ex-husband stopped by and told Turner he admired the fact that she had made a home out of that attic, Turner reevaluated the meaning of the word “home.”
“Even though I don’t have my own home right now, I can make sure that my daughter doesn’t lack a home-type feel,” she said. “Now I’m saying that to other people, too. Just because you’re not in a perfect circumstance doesn’t mean you can’t make the best of it.”
Now, Turner hopes her new business, Mindful Renewal, will help other families create that same sense of home in their own living spaces.
Turner describes her products, sold online at mindfulrenewalhome.com, as handmade, affordable, one-of-a-kind home decor. She uses recycled materials from Pendleton Woolen Mills the basis of other designs — remnant fabric for throw pillows, blanket edges for wall hangings.
“They sell (recycled fabric) by the pound. Instead of dumping it into a landfill, they let people like me use it for whatever,” Turner said. “I do appreciate them as a company. The Pendleton brand speaks for itself. I like that they are socially and environmentally aware, and I like how they let people upcycle a lot of their stuff. The fact that they let me sell (my products) with their name on them is a cool thing, too. (My inspiration) depends on what’s available when I go down to the mill and what I have to work with at the moment.”
Jordan Stilllinger, owner of the Washougal-based Found and Forged NW and a close friend of Turner’s, said she believes Mindful Renewal “absolutely” has a chance to succeed.
“Evan’s taste level is really high,” Stillinger said. “She doesn’t buy fabric just because it’s there. She’s very picky about what she chooses. She has a really good eye for knowing what looks good together. She pays attention to quality and detail, and puts together complementary colors really well.”
The business evolved out of Turner’s previous venture, in which she offered secondhand name brand clothing at affordable prices through the online Poshmark marketplace.
“One day I re-upholstered a chair that (Stillinger) bought,” Turner said. “After I did that, I made a pillow out of the leftover fabric, and I liked how it turned out, so I just kept on going. It kind of happened organically.”
Earlier this year, Stillinger invited Turner to sell some of her items at Found and Forged NW’s “Sip and Shop at the Barn” virtual event.
“One of the wall hangings sold in 10 seconds. I was like, ‘You have something here,'” Stillinger said. “She said that it would be nice to have a landing spot for people, somewhere where she could sell from instead of waiting for the next event. I encouraged her to put herself out there and take the leap. It can be scary to put in time and work and money that you don’t have, so the fact that she’s doing this is huge. I’m very proud of her.”
“I’ve kind of had to push myself out of my comfort zone, try new things and (ignore) my feelings of self-doubt,” Turner added. “The fact that I’ve gotten this far is amazing. To have this time to figure out who I am, try different things and not be afraid to fail is huge. I would look at other peoples’ products and say, ‘I can’t compare to them.’ But now I’m allowing myself to be proud of my work, put it out there, and whatever happens, happens. At least I tried. That’s a big thing for me.”