Coco and Jesse Martin, owners of Damariscotta’s new plant and lifestyle boutique Wildings, look to inspire customers to personalize their homes with their favorite things, particularly with objects found in the natural beauty of Maine.
“It’s also to inspire and give people ideas how to make their home more unique to them and more personalized,” Coco Martin, of Brunswick, said during an interview on Sunday, June 27.
“Especially living in Maine that has all of that great stuff,” she continued. “Between hiking, and the woods, the pines, and all the rocks, and all the islands.”
Coco Martin had her first plant when she was 5 years old and has worked in greenhouse nurseries and flower shops, working on merchandising. She said plants have always been a passion.
After graduating from Eastern Illinois University with a degree in psychology and minor in writing, she longed to return to Maine and the coast. She first lived in Kennebunkport with her family before moving to the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts and then to the Midwest.
“I had it in my blood. I needed to be by the ocean, enough with the Mississippi River,” Coco Martin said with a laugh.
Coco Martin has run a floral design business, Coco Design Co., for the past 10 years and has always wanted to open a shop to utilize her extensive retail experience. She will continue to work weddings and other events while running the storefront with her husband.
The Martins saw the empty storefront one day while driving through downtown Damariscotta and decided to look into it.
Coco Martin said she remembers visiting the location when it was the flower shop Brambles more than 20 years ago. One customer remarked on Sunday how the store reminded her of Brambles and Coco Martin said that is a fairly common reaction when locals walk in.
The couple undertook renovations in conjunction with the building owner, Ralph H. Doering III, which lasted for about a month and a half. The store has new walls, new flooring, a new paint job, and new fixtures.
Coco Martin said friends had been telling her for a long time how she should open up a shop modeled after her home, which she described as “light,” “airy,” “modern,” and having lots of plants.
The shop is full of plants, “air plants,” which only need to be soaked in water every few weeks, natural items like driftwood, pottery, jewelry, vintage bottles, gardening supplies, and terrariums.
“It embodies pretty much from vegetation to smells,” Coco Martin said with a laugh. “It’s for your home.”
She said another unique item that the store will soon begin offering is a series of “stump tables” that she designs and her husband Jesse, a carpenter, handcrafts. She described the tables as “live edge” furniture that includes tree bark around the edges.
Other items included in the shop are Panama hats, small vintage bottles for starting plants, and sage smudge for cleansing the home.
She said the name Wildings actually means “uncultivated plants” and fit the store’s theme.
Since opening June 19, Coco Martin said the business has been great, with many locals checking to see what is housed in the storefront, which has sat empty since WBoutique closed in February 2020.
“My favorite is when people walk in and go, ‘Oh, whoa,’” Coco Martin said.
Wildings is located at 130 Main St. in the Day Block building in downtown Damariscotta.