Growing up just outside Buffalo, I always think of the Elmwood village as the place where cool kids go on the weekends to drink specialty brewed coffee while perusing niche stores. Elmwood, located in the heart of downtown Buffalo, gives the city an eclectic pulse with its dynamic selection of cafes, art, and a general air of complete creative immersion.
I remember walking down the hip streets of Elmwood as a senior in high school in my ripped-up Keds and lukewarm ginger tea from Starbucks, passing by the various coffee, gift shops and salons. It was on a particularly warm day in July that I first noticed the coolest little shop that would soon become my favorite place for inspiration. Ró Home Shop, located on 732 Elmwood Ave., sells furniture and home goods, priding itself on creating a concept of calm living through functional design. Ró, a danish word symbolizing tranquility, hosts a masterfully curated collection of local art, danish inspired furniture, Scandinavian dish-ware and repurposed finds. Now, as a senior in college (wearing much better shoes I might add), I am still drawn to Ró, constantly modeling my own personal interior design aesthetic off of the store while seeing it transform into an even more focused business.
The best part of Ró is not the unique collection of industrial modern, midcentury and minimalist home wares, but the young women entrepreneurs who have cultivated this business that has grown to be one of the most successful in the area. Run by local artist turned savvy businesswoman, Hayley Janecki, owner/Alfred State graduate and Fredonian, Kaleigh Kirkpatrick who recently graduated last December, Ró has become one of the most captivating shops in the city, in my opinion.
Kaleigh, whose boyfriend Skylr Carrow is not only Hayley Janecki’s brother, but a current Fredonian studying music business, had the opportunity to become the manager at Ró fairly recently and has loved every moment. I got the chance to revisit Ró and sit down with Kaleigh, asking her about all the wonders a recent graduate like her can experience, finding out what it is like to have such a cool job right out of school.
When reminiscing about Fredonia, Kaleigh expresses:
“When I was in school, I was like most students in that I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do as a career, but I knew that I wanted to work in something creative. I studied international studies and media management at Fredonia, and even studied art briefly. After graduating, the opportunity to manage Ró presented itself, and has completely merged all my interests together. I studied international studies because I was always so fascinated with traveling and I’m planning to travel with Hayley around the world and discover unique finds for the shop in the near future. Plus, I get to use my media management knowledge to curate content on social media for the shop, and I get to surround myself with art, something I’m very passionate about.”
When asked what advice she would have to those students about to graduate or have recently graduated, Kaleigh says:
“It is so important not to limit yourself. A lot of recent graduates think that they have to go into a career that fits squarely into their field of study, but in reality it doesn’t have to work that way. Expand your opportunities, and always be open to change.”
From meeting up with Kaleigh it is easy to see that she is fully energized by her job at Ró, and it is so amazing to see women, not that much older than me, being so successful doing what they love at such an early age.
“Working here fulfills my burning passion for art and culture,” Kaleigh continues, “From the people I meet through the shop, to the many different responsibilities I am given in a place that I am truely at home in, I really could not ask for more.”