Independents Week: Riffraff

We started our Independents Week coverage on Friday with one of Fayetteville’s favorite restaurants, Hugo’s.

But even Hugo’s had to start somewhere, and Fayetteville also has it’s share of new businesses that are making a name for themselves in the hopes of becoming brand new Fayetteville traditions.

One of Fayetteville’s newest treasures is Riffraff, located on East Mission Blvd.

Kirsten Blowers opened the store in February while she was wrapping up her final eighteen hours as an interior design major at the U of A.

From the front door you are immediately awakened by the bright colors and artistic pieces of furniture that have been refurbished, recycled, and given a new life. Everything from the store’s space to its contents has been completely renovated.

Cool stuff.

At one point, the magnificent kitchen table you find at Riffraff may have been an old door tossed to the curb just waiting for legs.

“The term riffraff means rubbish. My parents are British. It’s a play on words, refurbish other people’s junk, is someone else’s treasure” Blowers said.

At just 22 Blowers is already fulfilling her lifelong dream of being a storeowner in Fayetteville. With a $1,000 budget, her fingers crossed and some help from her boyfriend, Blowers turned her mother’s former day care into Riffraff.

Blowers credits her store’s success to the people of Fayetteville.

“I’ve always known that I wanted to have a space in Fayetteville. The community is a little more quirky than Springdale or Rogers,” Blowers said, “Fayetteville is the only place it would really take off because it is a free spirited town.”

Blowers hopes that one day Riffraff will become a Fayetteville hot spot, one that anyone who comes to town has to visit.

Awesome Razorback stuff.

For inspiration Blowers goes through about 50 interior design magazines a month and rips out pages that inspire her. Then when she is looking at pieces for the store she looks for structural components and character. But other times it just speaks to her.

As an independent business owner Blowers said the most important thing to her is staying true to herself and remembering why she started Riffraff in the first place.

Every month Riffraff focuses on a different local non-profit to help get the information to its customers on how they can help. One Saturday a month the store donates 20 percent of all sales to the non-profit.

“I believe that to be happy you have to give back to who has given to you,” Blowers said.

Even new independent businesses in Fayetteville rock!

To support Riffraff visit the store at 1905 E. Mission Blvd, check out their website, or drop them a line at [email protected]

Meredith Brown is a guest contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. Meredith is a recent graduate from the University of Arkansas. She majored in Advertising and Public Relations, and she also really loves Fayetteville.