Carrie Rengers

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Same Tree furniture and lighting to be sold at the Workroom; New York is next

10/31/2013 10:05 AM

10/31/2013 10:05 AM

Designer Nicole Boles, right, with her parents, Jayne and Robert Boles of Same Tree. WICHITA — A Kansas company that is about to have its first retail presence has its roots in high fashion in New York and Los Angeles.

"I just decided that I needed more," designer Nicole Boles says.

In designing high fashion, Boles says she began to feel that "I was making women feel bad about their bodies."

"What I really wanted to do was something better. I wanted a bigger purpose. I wanted to basically show more love in the world."

She and her parents, Robert and Jayne Boles, are now doing that through a business called Same Tree.

Nicole Boles says she decided she would use her skills from working with her father as she grew up helping him repurpose antiques, which he did as a hobby, to make repurposed high-end furniture and lighting.

The idea, she says, is to "take vintage and making it into something new."

"It's jut all about taking things and looking at them in a new way."

That could be taking a tumbleweed, sculpting it, making it fire resistant and creating a chandelier out of it. In fact, that's one thing that's proven especially popular since the family started the company a year ago.

"Our lighting has expanded just because that's kind of been the more popular thing," Nicole Boles says.

Same Tree has been online only so far for sales, but it will debut its products Nov. 9 at the Workroom, Janelle King's home decor business in the Domestic Design Building at 1425 E. Douglas.

"The Workroom will be the first retail establishment," Boles says. "We're really excited to finally have a retail spot in Wichita."

She says she's also talking to boutiques in New York.

"That will be our next expansion after this," Boles says. "I'm hoping in the next six months."

She says she and her parents would one day like to have their own retail shop as well.

"Eventually, that would definitely be in the plans."

Robert Boles is a design engineer who does aeronautical design for Galaxy Technologies. His hobbies include wood crafts and metal working, which is what he also brings to Same Tree.

Jayne Boles is an operating room nurse at Wesley Medical Center.

"She's mainly the organization part of it," Nicole Boles says of her mother's contribution to Same Tree.

She says her family likes to use artisans in the Midwest for products they repurpose.

"It's a big part of what we're doing."

So far, Same Tree products range from just under $1,000 to $10,000.

"It just depends on what we're repurposing," Boles says.

That could be rare wood or a one-of-a-kind piece.

Boles says a significant component of the business will be a charitable donation with each product it sells.

"It's really centered more around being able to give unexpected blessings to other families that are in hardship," Boles says. "Ultimately, that's what we really feel like our calling is, to reach out and help other families."

Same Tree is a play on family trees and also making items from the same tree they were already built from.

The business is a big switch from what Boles previously did for a living.

"It was a big adjustment coming back home to Kansas and recentering on these things versus being a city girl," she says.

It's not a bad thing, though.

"It's really interesting," Boles says, "especially going from working in the high fashion world to working with your family who loves you."

About Carrie Rengers

Carrie Rengers joined The Eagle's Business team in 2002 despite her inability to even balance a checkbook. Fortunately for her, and readers, her Have You Heard? blog is about business scoops and contains lots of news but almost no math.

A Michigan native, Carrie’s father was quite tragically transferred to Little Rock, Ark., in the middle of her sophomore year of high school. To make matters worse, her parents put her in a girls school. She recovered, though, and went on to enjoy being an English major at Hendrix College (the Harvard of the Ozarks, don’t you know). She worked for the weekly Arkansas Business and the statewide daily Arkansas Democrat-Gazette before moving to Wichita to be with her favorite writer and cook, husband Joe Stumpe.

Carrie encourages readers to contact her with tips, questions, behind-the-scenes business news and even funny quotes from business people. Reach her at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com

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