By Martie Thompson
Kellyann Costanzo is a native of Jacksonville and attended Mandarin area schools. Costanzo said as she was growing up she had such varied interests, she at one point asked her grandmother to help her narrow down what she was going to do with her life. She worked with her father in his construction business and developed her entrepreneurial streak. She was influenced by her grandmother and aunt and developed a love of interior design. She was able to combine both of these passions by going into home staging and then real estate, which also had the benefit of a flexible schedule, perfect for her because by then she was a single mother of three young daughters. These careers served her well until her entrepreneurial spirit again was ignited. Today, she lives in St. Augustine with her husband Tommy and is embarking on her newest venture — a children’s consignment boutique called Hudson & Grace.
Q: How did you meet your husband Tommy?
A: We met while we were attending an online church. We are both Christian. We hit it off immediately and he actually relocated here from Connecticut to be near me. We have been married for a year and a half.
Q: How did you come up with the idea to open a children’s consignment shop?
A: It was my dream to give my daughters security for the future, so we combined my love for business with our love for children. There was nothing like this store in the area and I saw a need. We thought about buying an existing store or going with a franchise, but I’m too creative for that option. Tommy was very instrumental in helping implement my dream. This project was three years in the making and we held a lot of brainstorming sessions. A lot of thought and love went into this store and the branding. I really wanted to offer a welcoming environment and be a hub in the community.
Q: How do you plan to serve the community?
A: This is very important to me. Our passion is to bring the love of Jesus Christ into our community and our world and that’s what we hope to share through our shop. We want to meet the needs of growing families and make shopping easy, fun, and relaxing. We have a coffee bar, a candy bar, and a prayer wall. We have a library/playroom for children so that moms can shop peacefully. And, I’m very proud that we will be giving 10 percent of our proceeds back to the community on a quarterly basis. We will solicit ideas from customers as to how to donate the money. Some ideas are to support single parents in the area with perhaps a house cleaning or a meal. Maybe we will make a monetary donation to Foster Closet. Whatever we do, we will make sure the money stays local.
Q: How did you come up with the name Hudson & Grace?
A: I have three daughters and at first I wanted to use their names, but I didn’t want to potentially alienate moms of little boys. So we picked these
two names in one of our brainstorming sessions to represent that we have clothing for both girls and boys.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I enjoy reading, scrapbooking, art, and travel. I enjoy going anywhere coastal in Florida. I love the beach.
Q: Do you have any pets?
A: Yes, we have two dogs and three cats. Our German Shepherd mix, Sherman, is the official head of the welcoming committee at Hudson & Grace.
Photo courtesy Kellyann Costanzo
Kellyann and Tommy Costanzo