Kathleen Nelson is the founder and creative director of ClosiTherapi, an online shop offering authentic vintage clothing, jewelry, bags and home goods for living spaces.
Although ClosiTherapi Vintage is primarily ecommerce, it is based out of Nelson’s home in Peckville. The company team consists of Kathleen, her husband, Danny, and her three young daughters Emily, Lily and Abby.
Nelson’s simple motto for her shop, just like vintage pieces, is: Echoing the past, edited for the current, ethical for the future. The clothing consists of dreamy silks, delicate crochets, well-worn denim, and cozy handknits — all of which were made to withstand the test of time.
As Nelson states, “Pieces have a story to be told and new life to be discovered.” She hopes her customers do just that. Nelson’s love for vintage can be attributed to her grandmother, who took her to local thrift shops and allowed her to fill a bag with vintage items. Nelson has always been drawn to the unique quality and subtle imperfections of tattered, antiquated and nostalgic pieces.
After completing her degree in art therapy from Marywood University, she decided to sell some of her prized possessions to people with a similar appreciation for the background, timeline and soul of curated vintage.
From a young age, it was inherent that Nelson needed to work for herself. At about age 12, she would ride the public bus to Scranton and browse local shops.
She particularly enjoyed watching shopkeepers who appeared genuinely happy and passionate to partake in daily activities revolving around their business.
“It never looked like work to me, rather an extension of themselves . . . and I knew I wanted to feel that too someday,” she said. Today, Nelson says that ClosiTherapy is becoming the business she has always dreamed about. For her, vintage wear and household finds have an endearing soul.
Although ClosiTherapy has become a successful business, it has challenges. One of the hardest challenges Nelson faced was learning how to design a website from scratch with no prior knowledge of coding.
In addition, Nelson started her business upon graduating college, so money was short and initial funding was a challenge. Coming up with a name for the business was challenging. It took her months to brainstorm names and decide that Clositherapi fit best.
Although these challenges led to many late nights, early mornings, and sometimes sleepless nights. Nelson persevered and learned that taking things slow and being mindful was best. The COVID-19 pandemic had a heavy impact. Everything came to a halt.
The greatest challenge was no longer having her team be able to source and acquire products to update the inventory. She had to let many personal pieces go during the pandemic to keep her business afloat.
Nelson, though, was able to salvage some good from the pandemic. The team pivoted and acquired a fresher audience via social media —environmentally conscious shoppers.
As a sustainable clothing and houseware business, ClosiTherapy aligns with the mindset of younger generations.
She share advice to future business owners: “Breathe because it is a big adventure and not an easy one, but a fulfilling one.”
Nelson admits that rolling with the punches is a must. Resiliency is a necessity. Being genuine, honest and showing respect to everyone is important
“Stay consistent,” she said. “Try to be organized. Ask for help when you need it from people you can trust.
Get creative. Be open to learning new things and trying new ways. Be sure to check in with yourself, your own mental health, and take a break when needed. Most importantly, be proud of yourself and the venture you were so brave to embark on.”