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Meet Heather Feden-McCarty

Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Feden-McCarty.

Hi Heather, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
Becoming a mother changed it all for me. The corporate world isn’t always kind to women wanting to provide for their families while having the flexibility to be a part of their children’s growth and development. It was challenging asking for time off to take my children to their doctor’s appointments or attend field day activities. Let’s also not forget the rising cost of childcare and its impact on working families. With the majority of my paycheck going to childcare, I decided to stay home with my young children, who at that time were 2 and 3 months old. While I loved being able to be there for them, I also longed for the ability to financially contribute to our household as well as tap into my creative side. My dreams didn’t stop because I became a mother, I just had to format them differently. This is where it all began. I started repurposing furniture in my garage during nap times and selling it on the internet. Eventually, that led to me becoming a vendor in a few local consignment shops. While this was satisfying my heart wanted more. My family was driving by the Greenwood Antique District on the way home from my mother-in-law’s celebration of life service and to our surprise in one of the building’s windows, there was a for rent sign. My husband took this as a sign from his mother to go for it; I had reservations. Would this put my family in a financial bind? Would I lose that precious time and flexibility with the children I fought so hard to create? With only a few thousand dollars in our savings account, we leaped and opened The Porch Swing.

The Porch Swing started in a one-room building that was 1000sqft. We were located in the heart of an antique district but we didn’t offer antiques. It was challenging building a customer base who appreciated repurposed furniture and home decor, but I kept at it. I took to social media and surrounded myself with the best kinds of people and to my surprise, the store started to grow. The more I let people get to know me, the more the shop grew. Eventually, it would grow to 7000sft, a second location in Kansas, and an event space! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be able to own a business that gives me flexibility, feeds my creative side, and provides for my family. The best part, it provides for other families too! The Porch Swing is home to over 80 other small businesses! It helps parents pay for their kid’s college, it supplements their retirement income, it helps stay-at-home mothers earn extra money and it has helped other people leave their corporate jobs behind and follow their dreams of owning a creative business!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I’ve shed tears, I’ve wanted to throw in the towel. I am sure every small businesses owner has experienced this at one time or another in their journey. I am grateful for how blessed The Porch Swing has been. Our biggest obstacle has been navigating business during the Covid19 pandemic. Having to shutter your doors at no fault of your own was scary. The fear sank in that we may never be able to open our doors again. When that fear took over, my Porch Swing tribe stepped up. We were able to take our brick and mortar online and that made all the difference. We were able to keep our loyal customers safe, while I was able to still help support all the small businesses that call The Porch Swing home.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
The Porch Swing is a modern boutique with vintage charm. We specialize in unique and repurposed furniture, home decor, clothing, KC apparel, jewelry, gifts and so much more. The shops are made up of 80 other small businesses and their styles come together to give the stores that fun and eclectic vibe. We are most known for our beautiful displays and ever-changing designs. I am proudest of the people I work with. None of this would be possible without their talent, passion, and creativity. They are a supportive group of creatives who love giving back to their community every chance they get. They are always willing to go the extra mile, give advice and show support. The businesses that call the shops home are more like a second family to me. I think what sets The Porch Swing’s apart is our ability to show authenticity through our social media outlets. We love interacting and getting to know those in the community, our customers, and other like-minded creatives!

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
I like to believe I am an open book sharing most of my family and life experiences with our customers however most people might not know that I have a Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. I am passionate about supporting other small businesses through coaching, teaching, and marketing. I am huge a supporter of anti-bullying programs and I love the Kansas City Chief’s, vanilla lattes, time at the lake, and Kansas City BBQ. My family recently purchased what I am calling a mini farm and not even my husband knows that it will soon be a haven for all the animals, especially donkeys!

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Image Credits
The Porch Swing

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