FARGO — Kelsey Rasco set two rules for herself while setting up Dash & White, her new midcentury modern home decor and dining entertainment store in The Shoppes at BLU Water Creek, 3265 45th St. S.:
- Don't star (or feature my family) in the store's promotional materials.
- Don't fall in love with the merchandise.
Rasco admits she's broken both.
She was initially reluctant to share photos or videos of her family on Dash & White's social media accounts, but customers told her they appreciated learning about her and her family. They respect that she's a mother of three who is working hard to maintain a home and a business.
"I got great feedback on that, so I slowly started introducing them. The social media response was crazy," she said.
Because Rasco handpicked every item in the store, she said it can be hard to part with certain pieces. For instance, she's already dreading the day someone buys the mustard-colored sofa near the front entrance.
"I’m so attached to all of this stuff that if someone is considering a piece or someone was to buy this sofa, I’d almost want to interview them to know it was going to the perfect home. Not a good home, the perfect home," she joked.
Dash & White offers a selection of midcentury modern furniture, rugs, candles, throw pillows, blankets, mirrors and more. The store is also an authorized dealer of Smeg, a line of high-end retro-looking appliances made in Italy.
"I feel like you've either been dreaming and obsessing about Smeg your whole life or have no idea they exist," Rasco said.
In addition to those she has in stock, Rasco can order in appliances in different colors and models.
Rasco said it's important her customers know it's OK to "break the rules."
"My whole interest in going into business was to be different. Anytime I was purchasing or making decisions I’d repeat to myself, 'Break the rules,'" she said. "I hear a lot of people who come in are nervous about bringing color in or are nervous about changing the look. I only encourage them to break the rules. If you fall in love with something, it’s OK. Treat yourself and break the rules. Live in the now."
A dream come true
Rasco can trace her dream of having her own store back to the tender age of 13 when she applied for a job at an art gallery in her hometown of Hutchinson, Minn.
She found her job application years later as she was preparing to move to Fargo for college and a job with Boerth's Gallery, a longtime downtown gallery owned by Doug Scraper. The application asked, "Why do you want to work at Stepping Stone Art Gallery?"
"In my terrible 13-year-old handwriting, I wrote, 'Because I want to own a gallery just like you,'" Rasco recalled. "So, this is a dream that's just been in my bones forever."
Rasco spent several years working for Boerth's after college and credits Scraper with teaching her the importance of customer service.
"Doug taught me to do everything for customers," she said, "and in this day and age you have to."
After Boerth's, Rasco moved to the West Coast, where she worked as a spa director and helped launch a new business.
That experience away from home also prepared her for owning her own business.
"Before, I just wasn't wise enough. I knew I wasn't wise enough. I didn't have experience and I didn't go through hardships that make you who you are," she said.
Now, she's ready to care for her business and her customers, whom she wants to come in as they are and ready to treat themselves.
"I'm not into pitchy sales. I'm not into any of that. Come in and let's have a conversation," she said.
Rasco will host grand opening events from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 13th and 14th. Shoppers will have the opportunity to partake in small sips and bites and to register for a Smeg hand-held mixer and accessories worth $179.95. Exclusive to the 13th, Floret and Foliage will be on hand with a flower bar where guests can purchase small bundles or single flowers.