Wise Grasshopper / Grasshopper Goods

  • How I Met My Work Wife

    How I Met My Work Wife

    Entrepreneurship can be a tough road if you’re walking it solo. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with supportive family and friends by my side throughout my journey - my husband, my children, my brothers, my mom, and most importantly for the purposes of this post, my work wife, Jenn.

    I’ve been thinking about how grateful I am that I met Jenn, almost by accident. It’s one of those magical stories that I love to tell here on the Wise Grasshopper, and I knew I couldn’t let the opportunity pass by to share it.

    Grasshopper Goods | Karen Tardrew

    Many of you may not know this, but Jenn and I met working at A Stone’s Throw (an awesome shop that used to be on Monroe St. in Madison) about 11 years ago.  My daughter, Kelsey, had first worked there and became close to Jenn during her tenure. After Kelsey left for college, the shop needed some early morning help. 

    It was a time when things were hard and sad for me. My dad had recently died of brain cancer, my eldest left for college, and Act 10 impacted education in Wisconsin. A Stone’s Throw was one of my favorite shops, and just a few blocks away from home. So I thought, why not! The idea of getting a discount didn’t hurt, and I would get to be around pretty things when the world didn’t feel so vibrant.

    Jenn and I became close immediately. We had a similar commitment to our families, same sense of humor, and a dedicated work ethic. I describe her as the Shirley to my Laverne. A Green Bay native, she learned to drive in the Lambeau Field parking lot, and is a huge Packer fan. It was “work wife at first sight” for us both!

    It was there in the shop that I first told Jenn of my vision for Grasshopper Goods, and told her that, when it happened, I wanted her to be my creative director. 

    You see, Jenn is always working her magic. She is visually gifted, deeply compassionate, has bionic ears (really), has been a vegetarian for decades, can sing most lyrics, is crazy smart and one of my favorite all around humans.

    It was that original leap of faith that led to crazy truck life, driving Vinny through all sorts of mind-blowing weather, creating inside jokes almost daily, fostering new friendships, participating in educational opportunities, starting collaborations, drinking a few adult beverages, listening to music from around the world, and laughing, oh so much laughing.

    In 2019, we were led (through the amazing serendipity that always seems to find Jenn) to a permanent spot in the amazing community of Stoughton. We are honored to be a part of that “something special” that’s happening in Stoughton, that booming downtown economy generated by small businesses up and down Main Street. Starting the brick and mortar shop, visualizing how we would merchandise products, create shop windows, and more was an even greater catalyst to our unbreakable bond. 

    So now, here we are. Nearly seven years in (February 2023), and I can honestly say we’ve laughed every day that we’ve worked together. We’re both a couple of weirdos who, along with many blessings, have faced adversity in life and will jump at the chance to tell you that a sense of humor is a necessary life skill. And, in retail, it’s absolutely essential.

    It’s not often that you get to meet someone by chance who you create a deep, binding soul connection with, someone who can change the way you think about the world and can push you to find your perfect place within it. Jenn has been that for me throughout the lifespan of Grasshopper Goods, cheering me on and providing incredibly creative insight into the strategy for our future. 

    I’m so happy to have made the decision all those years ago to take a chance at a new opportunity, and to have met Jenn because of it. Here’s to Jenn, to taking a risk, saying yes to things that make you uncomfortable, and to laughing each and every day.
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  • Importance of Shopping Small

    Importance of Shopping Small

    With the holidays on the horizon, the rush to find the perfect gifts has begun. What better way to shop for your loved ones than at the businesses in your community? The argument of convenience often has many scrolling through Amazon during the holiday season. However, we would argue this takes the fun out of gifting for your loved ones... Plus, you may be surprised at how "easy" shopping for gifts can be at local businesses.

    Below are a handful of reasons to shop local this holiday season (and beyond!):

    1. When you shop local, you are not only supporting your neighbor's dream but also supporting your community as a whole. Economically, when you shop local, your money is directly going back to your community. From public schools, parks, roads, and even sidewalks, the sales taxes paid from local businesses helps all of these aspects of your community.

    2. Specially curated products providing diversity in your gifting options. As a small business, we take great pride in finding unique products and brands for our customers. Shopping local, you'll surely find the most unique gifts for loved ones.

    3. Better customer service! For small and local businesses, every single sale matters which often leads to better customer service. At Grasshopper Goods, you'll always be greeted with a smile and offered help finding what you're looking for. 


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  • These Are A Few Of Clove's Favorite Things

    These Are A Few Of Clove's Favorite Things

    Our Digital Marketing Intern, Clove, would describe her personal style as colorful, semi-maximalist. This describes her wardrobe but also her college apartment located in the heart of Madison, WI.

    She describes as colorful, semi-maximalist as one who:

    • Knows you can never have too many accessories
    • Knick-knacks are a central part of home decor
    • Avoids dark colors when it comes to decorating and when picking out an outfit – the brighter the color, the better.

    One issue that Clove always seems to have is that she can always find something at the shop that catches her eye. Whether that be a new accessory or a new piece of decor, Grasshopper Goods can be a dangerously, good place for her. Below, she has listed some of her favorite items from the shop:

    Brookie Snapback in Olive

    “Although I don’t fish, nor have I ever fished, something about the Brookie Snapback really drew me in. This hat is the perfect mixture of comfort meets style. It may be a more “masculine” hat, but I love a good style challenge. I was so drawn to this hat, but often questioned where I would wear it. I finally decided to take a chance on it, and I’m here to tell you this is one of my all time favorite hats.”

    Mini Daisy Flower Clips

    “The return of Y2K style can be seen with these colorful clips. I have both sets, and wear them religiously. Perfect for when you wear your hair up or down, these clips provide a youthful aspect to any outfit.”

    Summer Hours Sample Set

    “The perfect set for everyday and on-the-go. I recently bought these to bring on a trip, and they were perfect for traveling. These sweet, summer scents offer variety for when you’re traveling, making you not limited to one certain scent.”


    Meow Pennant

    “It may sound a little weird to admit that one of my best friends is an eight pound orange cat, but she’s seriously one of the best things in my life. I’ve always been a “cat lady” and what better way to show it off than by hanging up this Meow Pennant loudly and proudly. I usually associate pennants with sports, but why not show some love for our favorite, fluffy friends?”

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  • The GG Refresh

    The GG Refresh

         Spring and Summer is a time to set aside time to relax and refresh yourself. Whether that be through cleaning, creating new goals for yourself, and just trying to find new ways to improve your life, we all “refresh” in our own unique way.

         Here at Grasshopper Goods, we’ve decided that our own personal form of refreshing is refreshing the store and our brand. We’re still the same shop that you know and love, but we’ve added some elements to help improve your experience in the shop.

    Around the Shop:

         Right when you walk in, you’ll notice our brand new signage behind the register. This amazing sign was made by the awesome people at Cedar & Spice. It includes our signature front, and adorable grasshopper. We’ve also added a pop of color to the front of the register area, with a fun green wrap, also from Cedar & Spice! This is just the beginning and we are excited for new surprises and additions this summer.

         For your convenience, we’ve added new ways to have more products on the floor than ever before. When you walk into the shop, you’ll notice some pretty neat pegboards. The addition of these to the shop is great for displaying our latest fresh finds. We’re always changing what’s on there, so feel free to stop in as much as you’d like.


         Finally, we got some new rugs around the shop. Although it may not be super noticeable when you first walk in, we wanted to add more cohesiveness to the shop.

    The GG Brand:

         In case you haven’t heard, we launched our own line of t-shirts! We designed three awesome tees that help to represent the GG brand and our values. Each are unique in their own way and all hold a special place in our heart. When we opened GG back in 2017, we had no idea that the shop would grow into what it is today, and that we’d be able to have products exclusively for our shop, t-shirts are just the beginning.

    • Smiley, Heart, Grasshopper T-Shirt Inspired by the iconic Smiley face that has become somewhat of a mascot for Grasshopper Goods. Since its inception in 2017, Grasshopper Goods mobile boutique, a 1977 Chevy step van, was built on the desire to deliver joy from street fairs to festivals. Whenever folks would hop on into the truck they often would exclaim how happy it made them. That feeling continues in the storefront, we now call home in Stoughton, WI.
    • Neighborly T-Shirt – Inspired by Grasshopper Goods' move from mobile boutique to brick-and-mortar storefront in Stoughton, WI, where we've been treated in the most neighborly way right from the very start! We hope we can all work to inspire neighborly love near and far.
    • Take The Leap T-Shirt – Inspired by the original idea to start the first mobile boutique in Wisconsin and all the leaps in between that got us to designing our own t-shirts! We hope this shirt moves us all in big ways and small to take the leap, if its just getting out of your comfort zone, going back to school or starting your own business. We are here to cheer you on!

         We just want to thank you for all the love and support that we’ve received from the GG community. We wouldn’t be where we are without all of you, and we promise to be a fun, fresh, and authentic brand.

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