Mike and Kat Liebschwager both left their corporate jobs in 2004 to pursue new careers and do something they loved. Kat studied interior design and opened her own design firm, with Mike joining her shortly after. At the High Point market, the ‘must-see event in home furnishings’, they realized there were so many great things out that weren’t available in Richmond.
Why not open a store and bring those fun finds to RVA? With no retail experience, but a lot of energy and enthusiasm, Mike and Kat introduced Ruth & Ollie to RVA in 2006 in the Libbie & Grove area.
“We had absolutely no experience in running a retail store and quickly decided we should simply buy and stock things that we loved because if things did not go well…then all of the inventory was going to go in our house!”
Nearly 12 years later, they’re still buying things they love and that’s in part, what has made Ruth & Ollie so successful – along with the beautiful decor and warm smiles that greet you when you enter the store.
“One of the big reasons we have been successful is we have had some great employees who have chosen to work with us. We couldn’t run this business without them!”
Today, Ruth & Ollie is located in the heart of Carytown where the vibe is fun and energetic. “We love having our store here…it is simply a destination and an experience.”
Their 17 foot display windows are unexpected and changed out frequently, serving as their best advertisement. I don’t know about you but I’m personally loving the flamingos!
The store was named after their beloved grandmothers. Ruth was Mike’s grandmother and Ollie was Kat’s great-grandmother. It’s a perfect name for the store blending traditional (Ruth) with an eclectic, funky twist (Ollie). Ruth and Ollie are celebrated and honored in the store each year on their birthdays.
When they aren’t busy in the store (which is rare), Kat and Mike enjoy a quiet dinner out at one of their RVA favorites depending on what type of food they’re craving. Angela’s for Italian, Bandito’s for Mexican or Sabia for some great Thai. A relaxing afternoon at the VMFA topped off with a delicious meal and a beautiful view at Amuse, is another favorite way to spend time together. They love spending lazy Sunday afternoons with their dog Nick, or when time allows, sneaking away for a few days to the beach.
Ruth & Ollie is fresh and fun. The beautiful furniture, all of those amazing accessories, the colorful fabrics, and the wonderful people all make me feel at home as soon as I enter the door. It’s truly an wonderful experience.
“The best thing about running the store is helping people and having fun,” says Kat.
Have you shopped at Ruth & Ollie’s yet? Let us know your favorite finds!