Kristin Gatlin Spencer Opens Relek in the Factory

Relek opened in the Factory along artist row  just a few weeks ago, and as we mentioned at the end of our Larry Gatlin interivew, it’s owner has a tie to country music.  Kristin Gatlin Spencer, Larry Gatlin’s daugther, opened Relek as  a way to tell a story through found objects, some of which she has repurposed and some of which she has left in its natural state for others to enjoy.   I sat down with Kristin to learn more about her new endeavor, Relek.

WS:  What inspired the store title, Relek?

KGS:   I liked the word Relic and its meaning but another store already had that name.  So, I brainstormed other names but always came back to Relic so, I decided to make my own variation of the word- Relek.  In the end, I knew it had to be this name and I also wanted to keep it to just one word.

WS:  How would you describe the look of the store?

KGS: I want it to look like a doable antique store.  One that you can easily shop and take things home.  It is a labor of love as it is myself who finds the objects, stages the store, but I do have help from a great upholsterer and welder.  I work on each piece one at a time.   We strive for that farmhouse chic- industrial  look but there are no mass produced products in the store just one of a kind pieces.

WS:  Before the store opened, you spent some time operating a booth at some pop up shows?

KGS:  Yes, the last show for me was the City Farmhouse pop up show with Kim Leggett.   With my booth set up, I wanted it to be perfect so I would construct walls, hang chandeliers, and suffer a couple of broken fingers along the way.   I found it is better for me to have the store so that I can have the storefront but also have space where I can work on projects in the back but still be accessible to the customers.

WS: Where do you find the pieces for  the store?

KGS:  My dad, Larry Gatlin, as he tours the country  he will find things filling up the tour bus to the point where the band is like ” another stop”?    When he gets home he  brings them to the store.  ( As we were talking, Larry Gatlin walks in with his latest finds.)  He jokes, he might quit his night job to start pickin’ for the store.    There is not one place where I find things, it is really all over.   It is interesting that as I have started doing this, I realized that I got a love of restoring objects from my dad.  A new hobby that he and I share that we didn’t realize before now.

WS:  Do you have any favorite pieces in the store?

KGS:.  A favorite of mine was an actual   barn fan with the metal and motor attached.  Yes,  it actually worked!  But I had a vision to make it a table, we had legs welded to it, added glass on top and it became a very modern looking piece.  However,  one day we had a fan running in the store which caused the fan under the glass to move.  It was quite the show stopper as everyone who walked by, stopped to look at the table.  We decided to light it from underneath.   After that,  it didn’t last but maybe a week in the store.

WS:  What is the price range you can expect in Relek?

KGS: It can range anywhere from a custom made candlestick at $25 to a farmhouse sink that is priced at $1800.  I really try to keep my prices very competitive so buy at a low price then passing on a great deal to my customer.

WS:  You grew up here but have recently moved back, how have you seen things change?

KGS: It has changed in so many ways but in so many ways it is exactly the same.   It’s still that small town, friendly neighborhood atmosphere with beautiful places.   The filming of Nashville, the music industry all seems to be growing but somehow Franklin has kept its small town charm which I makes it appealing to live here.

WS: We couldn’t end our interview without asking , what was it like to grow up as the daughter of Larry Gatlin?

KGS:  I’ve been asked this question before but never seem to have a  good answer.   I don’t know anything different.    I will say he is quite the character.   It was a crazy life, I traveled on the road with him, accepted an award for him when he was out on the road,  and I was his date for an award show.  All of these things are not your everyday childhood memories.

We want to say thank you to Kristin for spending time with us telling us more about Relek.  You can visit Relek’s Facebook page here.

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