Meet Karen Barrett
Owner of Eclectic (a gift boutique in downtown Milledgeville)
What is your connection to Central Georgia?
Well, I grew up in Gray. My mom was from Milledgeville and growing up in Gray, you’d go to Macon or Milledgeville to purchase whatever you needed because Gray was a small town then. So, I went to school at Mercer University and when I graduated and got married, my husband and I moved to Milledgeville and I’ve been here ever since.
Who/what is the biggest influence in your life?
That’s a hard one. I pick up on a lot of things for a lot of different people. I think with age comes a little bit of wisdom and you realize that you can pick up things from a lot of different people. Like the name of my store Eclectic says, I like a diverse range of people and things. I’m not stuck to any one particular element.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned (or advice) that you’d like to share with others?
I would just say as far as a career, follow your heart—your passion. You want to do something that you enjoy doing. I’ve done a lot of jobs that I wasn’t really happy with and you feel trapped and unhappy. You do have to pay your dues at times; you have to learn. If you do learn from it and you can find something that you can make money doing with your passion, then it’s very much worthwhile.
Is that what you’re doing right now?
Yeah, I enjoy it. I enjoy people. I enjoy finding all kinds of different things and arranging them.
Life-changing/significant moment in your life?
Again, it’s a blend of things. My dad died when I was 18, I got married when I was 22. I had my first child at 25. I have three sons. I’ve got a granddaughter.
What was it like to lose your dad at 18?
It puts a lot of things in perspective. It changes your outlook on relationships, people and it really tells you what’s important. It kind of helps you realize sometimes, the little things are big things and the things that you think are big deals are not.
What are your hobbies/what do you do in your free time?
I like to spend time with my family and friends. With my friends we’ll have “girl’s night out or “couple’s night out.” We’ll go out and listen to bands. We have a lot of good live music in Milledgeville. We live on the lake. I love to have my family over and just play on the lake.