Funky Frugal: The Blue Kite – Small store with big heart

by Tanner Cangelosi

If you’re looking for a funky and frugal place to shop that has a great purpose behind it, then you should visit Marla Stanton at The Blue Kite shop in Downtown Conway.  

Marla is so sweet, and her heart is so big. She wanted to share her story with the 501.

“I moved to Conway to attend the University of Central Arkansas, where I earned a bachelor’s degree in digital filmmaking and a minor in writing,” Marla said. “The summer before my senior year I started working at Lifeword Ministries. 

“For six years I got to live the dream of writing, filming and traveling the world. I traveled to a dozen countries and got to see so much of God’s creation. Along the way, I saw a lot of needs and met a lot of people working really hard to share Christ’s love, oftentimes with little money and few resources. It was my job to come home and to tell those peoples’ stories through videos and print articles. 

“In September 2010, I traveled to Romania to see native Romanians working with Gypsies. European Gypsies are often mistreated and stereotyped. They are refused jobs, schooling and, at times, not welcomed in churches. The people we worked with in Romania were loving Gypsies and starting churches and schools for them. 

“On that trip I knew that God was preparing me to leave Lifeword. I just didn’t know what would be next for me. Over the next year and a half, I struggled with physical illness and knew more life changes were to come. 

“The opportunity came about for me to open my own store, and Blue Kite Boutique opened its doors August 2012. I had been selling my items at stores in Little Rock and Conway and online. Now I had the opportunity to sell in my own space. This afforded me the time to start to get well, and today I am physically doing much better. 

“Blue Kite also gave me the opportunity to help others. Most of the merchandise in the store is made by local artists and crafters. The majority of the sales go back to the people making the items. 

“Ten percent of what the store makes go to The Blue Kite Project, which focuses on raising money for different needs around the world. From August to December, we raised money to help the Gypsies in Romania. Starting in January, we raised money for an orphanage in India that I had the privilege of visiting in 2008. In addition to the 10 percent the store gives, people are welcome to donate in the store. 

“Blue Kite is a very small store with a humble beginning, but my heart in starting this store was to help local people sell their items and to then use that to help raise money for worthy causes. The store is located at 1103 Oak St. in Downtown Conway  where antiquing, home cooking restaurants and The Blue Kite make Central Arkansas a wonderful place to live and shop!”