Small Business

Small Business Spotlight: Gift shop partners want to do business and do good

Jan Smith and Michael Kasselman have opened the Naughty Tiger gift shop in Mulvane. (May 18, 2016)
Jan Smith and Michael Kasselman have opened the Naughty Tiger gift shop in Mulvane. (May 18, 2016) The Wichita Eagle

The owners of Naughty Tiger Gifts opened last month with more than just profits in mind.

“We also wanted to do good,” said Michael Kasselman, who owns the shop with Janice Smith. “We wanted to be able to focus on some things that other places are not focusing on.”

To that end, they’re concentrating on selling American-made products and items that qualify as “fair trade,” which the World Trade Organization defines as having been bought for fair prices in developing countries. They’re emphasizing recycled products and gifts made by local craftspeople.

And they’re directing a portion of their proceeds to an animal rescue sanctuary that Smith runs near Leon.

The store sells jewelry, candles, floral arrangements, greeting cards, handmade soaps, purses, handbags, coffee mugs, clothing accessories, home decor and gifts, more than a few with animal themes.

Kasselman said he and Smith have been friends for about a decade. He has worked in marketing and graphic design and also as “DJ Michael” at Fantasy Nightclub and other clubs in Wichita and elsewhere.

He said Smith was a military wife and mother who worked several retail jobs while living “all over the world.”

About three years ago, they started selling items at festivals and crafts shows around the region. When they began looking for a retail location, several factors led them to Mulvane.

“Actually, we had a few people who told us not to open in Mulvane, but we had a lot of other businesses who encouraged us to go ahead and open in downtown Mulvane,” Kasselman said.

“Mulvane has a lot of up-and-coming things. The cost is affordable. And we really liked how the downtown area of Mulvane had a neighborly feel to it. All of the businesses know each other.”

He credits Amy Houston, director of the Mulvane Chamber of Commerce, with helping welcome them.

Located in front of the big clock on Mulvane’s Main Street, Naughty Tiger’s showroom now occupies about 800 square feet, but Kasselman and Smith have plans for the rest of their building. In the next couple of weeks, the pair plan to open a sister operation called Mulvane Market in the same building, with room for about 10 local craftspeople and vendors.

“It’s kind of a way to let the people who make handcrafted goods kind of get their feet wet and get their operation going,” Kasselman said. Vendors will pay what he called a low rent.

The shop is open Wednesday through Sunday, with evening hours Friday and Saturday.

The name of the shop, by the way, refers to Kasselman’s cat, a yellow and orange tabby who was rescued from Spirit AeroSystems property about four years ago.

“We tend to let him get away with things, tearing things up or whatever,” Kasselman said. “He’s a little naughty at times. That’s OK; we wouldn’t have him any other way.”

Now you know

Naughty Tiger Gifts

Address: 104 W. Main, Mulvane

Phone: 316-351-8011

Owners: Michael Kasselman and Janice Smith