A unique shopping experience awaits those looking for ready-to-wear casual and contemporary apparel at Tumbleweed in downtown Shawano.
Yvette Hartman-Wilber of Keshena opened the boutique at 203 S. Main St. in March of 2017 in pursuit of her dream to open her own clothing store.
“After taking care of so many for so long, I wanted to do something for myself and something I could call my own,” Hartman-Wilber said. “I just thought, what does Shawano need? Maybe something a little bit different than other people had in town.”
Prior to Tumbleweed, Hartman-Wilber served as the payroll and benefits coordinator for her husband Jonathon’s business — Master Key Consulting in Bethesda, Maryland. In 2012, they moved to Keshena. In addition, she also focused on taking care of her daughter, Haley, who received a life-saving liver transplant in 2013. Now 24, Haley was a student at Shawano Community High School when her transplant took place.
“I concentrated most of my life on taking care of Haley at the time,” Hartman-Wilber said. “It was rough for the first three years, because there were labs every week, then labs every other week with many trips to Madison.
Following her recovery, I decided I had to do something to fulfill my needs.”
We had to find the niche of Shawano and tourists, and what people really wanted. I changed it to contemporary, fun fashion. It’s taken a while to find out what people like and what brands sell.
—Yvette Hartman-Wilber, owner,
The focus of the store has shifted since pri
marily offering dress clothing in the beginning. Tumbleweed currently offers women’s clothing, as well as limited lines of men’s clothing and footwear.
“We soon realized that a lot of people don’t have many events they go to where they need to dress up,” Hartman-Wilber said. “We had to find the niche of Shawano and tourists, and what people really wanted. I changed it to contemporary, fun fashion. It’s taken a while to find out what people like and what brands sell.”
When the state’s Safer At Home order was passed down in March, Hartman-Wilber relied on social media and curbside pickup options to help close the sales gap.
“Facebook was huge for us because people were able to visually see things we have,” she said. “If we wouldn’t have had that social media exposure, we probably would have only been able to keep the doors open through the end of this year.”
Besides clothing, Tumbleweed also features several lines of jewelry including “Little Angel Treasures” handcrafted by Hartman-Wilber’s niece Hannah.
“Hannah, who has Down’s Syndrome, makes bracelets, rings, anklets, necklaces, and has her signature angel on all of her jewelry,” Hartman-Wilber said. “Her brand came from her Indian name, Little Angel.”
Tumbleweed also sells Trinity Jewelry, a Christian-based stainless steel jewelry line based in Antigo, along with a variety of items from Montana Silversmith — the number one belt buckle maker in America. HartmanWilber said the jewelry options have been popular gift items.
“If someone’s coming to the store and they don’t really want to buy clothing for someone,
they can always resort to some of the jewelry or something simple we carry,” she said.
In addition to managing the store, HartmanWilber serves on the board of directors for Safe Haven (Shawano County’s domestic abuse shelter) and on the board of trustees for ThedaCare. Tumbleweed also is a member of the Shawano Country Chamber of Commerce and employs two full-time and one part-time.
While focusing on what she can do to keep relevant and successful — such as sourcing environmentally responsible suppliers to the use of energy-efficient LED lighting in the store — Hartman-Wilber said she enjoys creat
ing a warm, soothing environment for all to enjoy.
“What I enjoy most about owning this business is meeting people and keeping them visiting again and again,” she said.
Hartman-Wilber said her future plans include her daughter continuing the Tumbleweed tradition.
“I want to keep growing the business, and I’m hoping that once COVID-19 is over Haley will want to operate the store,” she said. “I’m 53, and it does take a lot of work. I want to keep growing sales so I can continue to help other organizations in the community as well.”