Hey y’all, it’s KJ! And, oh my gosh, am I excited to be able to say “y’all” again, now that I’m officially back to being a Southerner! Yep, you heard that right; I’m officially back in the South, and I couldn’t be happier! Apparently, all it took was a pandemic to make it happen, but more on that later. I grew up in Virginia, so I’ve got the South in my veins, but I’ve spent the last 15+ years living all over the place from Kansas City, Alabama, Texas to New York. It’s been an amazing opportunity to experience so many places, but it’s been a dream in my heart for the last 15 years to call Charlotte, the Queen City, my home.
If you’ve been following me as the HotMESSageMomma, or any of my social media over the last few years, you know I’m a massive dreamer, and I keep it real. I’ve wanted to have my own boutique since I was a little girl. It’s one of my earliest memories of “what I want to do someday”. Honestly, it's emotional to even think about the fact that it’s here! And the funny part is, up until a few months ago, I still thought it was a “someday” dream...But God. He has a very unique way of making things happen very quickly, and every inch of this dream is Him!
I have a huge heart for women. My dream has always been to have a place for women to feel loved-on, special, beautiful, empowered, and confident. I have struggled with body image and insecurity for years, and it’s something I have worked really hard to overcome. I certainly haven’t arrived, but it’s something I work on daily. In fact, God has been speaking to me about viewing myself as a QUEEN and standing in that truth for the last 3 years. Now, here we are, in the QUEEN CITY, and donning the name in our business. I certainly don’t think that is a coincidence one bit! Ok, one more thing....
If I’m being super honest, I’ve never really felt like “boutiques” have fit me. I’ve been to so many adorable shops, only to walk out feeling defeated because their biggest size didn’t ft me. So my heart for this shop is that you feel welcome, included, accepted, inspired, and - most importantly - that you grow in your confidence and see yourself as a QUEEN here! You won’t only see perfectly posed photos and one body type here, and there’s a really good chance you’ll see random kids and messy hair in a lot of our photos. I hope our authenticity, vulnerability, and humor make you feel like you’re a part of a community, not just a shop!
His Story Hey guys, I’m Patrick, Kristen’s man candy. Ok, was that weird? Too soon? LOL Sorry, I like to make things awkward sometimes. In all seriousness...Wow, I can’t believe I’m getting to write a bio about myself on my OWN website. This is a little bit different than Match.com (more on that later), but I’m really excited to share a little of my story with you.
I grew up in western New York and, since I was a kid, I’ve always been into art and working with my hands. In fact, I was even awarded a scholarship to go to school for art that I turned down to pursue the military and a career in law enforcement - pretty much polar opposites. I was in the U.S. Army Reserves, U.S. Border Patrol, and for the last 10 years, I have been a Deputy U.S. Marshal. I’ve been so blessed in my career, and I’ve been fortunate to hold some pretty cool titles, but in my core, I have never felt fulfilled in law enforcement. No matter my position or pay grade, there was still something missing.
Over the last few years, I’ve spent a lot of time soul searching. During that time, God has brought some amazing people into my life that have helped me remember the creator and artist that lives within me. It is this passion and creativity that have inspired Kristen and I to blend our visions into making Queen City Trading Co., a very unique and one-of-a-kind place for women and men to shop and be reminded of how unique and special they really are! I am excited to combine my passions for woodworking and art to bring unique and customizable handcrafted goods to the shop!
Our Story Flash back to Valentine’s Day 2010. Two lonely kids were sitting on the internet looking for love. We connected that night on Match.com, and I, Kristen, was on a plane one month later, flying to the border of Mexico to either get kidnapped or fall in love. Luckily for me, the only thing kidnapped was my heart (*ba-dum ching*). We fell in love, and 6 months later, we were married! People definitely thought we were crazy - and we were! But in general, we just are crazy, so at least we are consistent lol.
Patrick and I have never done things by the book or traditionally. We have our own way of thinking and doing things. Although we have learned some hard lessons, it has led us to where we are right now, and we couldn’t be more excited for our next season! In August of 2019, Patrick and I had a life changing experience and encounter with God. We knew at that moment that we needed to pursue a new direction. We both assumed it would be a change that took years to happen...BUT GOD, again.
When the 2020 Pandemic hit, I had JUST soft-launched the Boutique, and I was so scared things were going to crumble. Instead, business soared, and we heard God clearly speaking to us that the time for the transition was now. We had no idea how, but we stepped out in blind faith. In just a few short months, with 2 kiddos in tow, we upleveled my little bow business into a full blown Boutique, we flipped our house in NY into an Airbnb, Patrick resigned from his job, and we moved to Charlotte, NC to pursue our dreams! God provided every step of the way, and like I said above, we know the name of the Boutique is no coincidence.
Ten years ago, after our shotgun wedding, God spoke to me the words “The Best Is Yet To Come”. Now, ten years later, as I sit here typing this out with tears in my eyes, I can confirm He has been true to His word. We dedicate Queen City Trading Co. to the Lord, and we promise you that our business will operate in integrity, we will own our mistakes, and we will most DEFINITELY find beautiful and unique items that make you and your home look amazing!!
-Love, KJ & P