Photography by Kayte Demont
Nestled into the beautiful brownstones of Boston’s South End sits one of my most favorite shops, Olives & Grace. Over three years ago, I featured this local shop in one of my first Boston city-centric posts. I first met owner Sofi Madison at a Madewell event and the minute I saw her, I turned to my friend Margaret and said “I have to be her friend.” Something about her energy was so inspiring and magnetic. I knew that she was exactly the kind of person that I wanted to share with my community of followers.
What inspires me the most about Sofi is her drive to create and support the local community around her. In the first 5 minutes of me popping into the store, I overheard a gaggle of girlfriends (hailing from all over the country) gushing to Sofi about how much they loved the store and enjoyed following her on social media. Being the OG fans that they were, the excitement level escalated moments later as the infamous mailmen (Chris Kostaras and Joe Giordano) from #TheOGReview sauntered into the store. Boasting the most genuine smiles, the men donning their standard uniform, humbly accepted the accolades and spent some time chatting with the ladies before sharing the tales of their day with me and Sofi. It’s that sense of genuine connection between neighbors that really set Sofi and Olives & Grace apart. Slowing down enough to spend a moment catching up with a customer and their young daughter, making sure the store is well stocked with treats (and cuddles!) for the local dogs that stop in for a visit. Those are the thoughtful actions that influence others to step up their game and abide by The Golden Rule more often. Treat others as you wish to be treated and they will reciprocate.
So, what has changed in the past 3 years for the business? A lot. Exponential growth on social media, higher sales and several major publication and news features. But Sofi claims there’s also been a lot of personal growth as an entrepreneur: “[The] biggest growth area for me has been prioritizing a work life balance. It’s been a low priority for me in the past because my work is my passion, and reflects how I want to live my life, but creating boundaries in my personal schedule has allowed me to protect my sense of self that isn’t associated with my business… or preserving my sense of self and separating it from how my work day went.” It’s that healthy drive and awareness that makes Sofi so successful. If we all took the time to connect and reflect like Sofi does, we would surely be doing our part to make the world a better, friendlier place.
Don’t forget to check out the initial Mass Musings’ feature on Olives & Grace HERE! Not local to Boston? Not a problem! Olives & Grace specializes in customizable gift boxes that can be shipped to your door!