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Two roads, two friends, one business

Two friends are beginning to make flea markets their home away from home as they turn a hobby into a budding business.

Michelle Hill, 30, and Lauren Hatcher, 21, became fast friends after meeting through their significant others. Hill’s husband, Will, and Lauren’s boyfriend, Sawyer Evans, introduced the pair and the two ladies became close friends quickly. The friendship led to a partnership after Hatcher helped Hill set up an Ole Brook Festival booth. Since then, locations have grown and their inventory has changed to try to better fit what diverse customers would want.

“The first booth we did was a completely different type of inventory than we sell now,” Hatcher said. “We managed to swap from cute wood works to amazing types of artwork.”

The inventory offers colorful and creative prints and other images showcased in handmade or antique framing. The women are not self-proclaimed, original artists since most of their items are not handmade from start to finish, but the prints they select offer personality to their booths and to the homes of their buyers.

“I love when I find a print that makes me think of my past, or simply shows an image from the ‘good ole days’. When I find something that jumps out at me, that’s when I know we should add it to our collection,” Hill said. “The prints are fun to sell and the frames are so colorful that anyone can find something they enjoy.”

The booth, called Two Roads Art, recently made an appearance at the Brookhaven Flea Market, which occurs on the third Saturday of each month at the Lincoln Civic Center in Brookhaven. It is just one of the stops on the partners’ business tour. They plan to appear on June 9-10 at the Vintage Whites Market in Laurel and Vintage Market Days in Brandon in November. The booth will also be set up at Canton Flea Market and Ole Brook Festival again this Fall.

Hill’s husband helps with the construction of the frames. Hatcher’s boyfriend assists with the business as well, setting up the booths and its merchandise.

Hill describes the collection of art pieces that they offer as “eclectic.”

“I love anything random. I think there should always be a piece of art that you can make relate to your own story,” she said.

Both ladies laugh at the notion of being able to create art from scratch, but use their love of decorating to fuel their know-how for business.

“I have never been very artistic, even my stick man had one leg longer than the other or didn’t have enough fingers. But, I love decorating whether its for school events, parties or even my own apartment,” Hatcher said. “So, when Michelle got the idea of selling pictures for decor I was all over it.”

Hatcher said one of the enjoyable aspects of selling framed pieces is being able to match art with customers’ personalities.

“Some of the most unique art that we have sold matched the customer’s personality and sometimes even had a story behind why they were buying that particular piece,” Hatcher said. “Our items are diverse and so full of personality. We may have a piece of a pig blowing bubble gum or a wooden swing in front of a cotton field.”

Both ladies agree that their inventory tries to reach a large market and appeal to the taste of everyone who walks by.

Hill and Hatcher agree that they would like their business to continue to grow, but for now they both have other jobs and even family responsibilities to consider. Hill is a mother of two young boys and works at Susan’s Shoppe in Brookhaven. Hatcher is enrolled at the University of Southern Mississippi and will graduate in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She also works part time at Bath & Body Works in Hattiesburg.”

“For now, it is a passionate side hobby for us,” Hill said. “But hopefully we will build it up over time.”

Story by Joanna Sproles