Coni Marotz, owner of Iconi Interiors, believes interesting and eclectic interior design is possible for all. “We have something here for everyone and every budget,” says Coni, who opened the doors in 2008 and will celebrate her business’ 10th anniversary in Spring 2018.
A lifelong Madisonian, Coni knew there was a need for a more unique shopping experience in the home furniture category. “Madison was lacking an eclectic and affordable space [for it].” Her 20-plus years in retail and design lent itself to creating Iconi Interiors. Add to that her long-held passion for collecting vintage items, and her vision became clear—mixing vintage with new and repurposed pieces and offering design services.
It took time and patience to find her dream location on West Washington Avenue in downtown Madison, and then another six years to secure and move the business into the space next door. The original location now houses Iconi Consignment.
Even with the encouragement of Coni’s husband, Mike, and friends, the timing for starting a new business could not have been worse as the stock market crash loomed. Yet somehow, with patience and hard work, things worked out. “I just needed to do what I’d been dreaming of.”
Iconi Interiors offers everything, including rugs, new furniture, and vintage pieces, while being more unique than most stores and trying to keep the prices ranging from affordable to luxury-designer level. While the eclecticism of the store speaks to many, Coni says it tends to attract urban and centrally located buyers that like smaller-scale items. “We have really unique merchandise.”
Coni also incorporated old-fashioned department store ideals. “Even if you don’t have the money for a new couch, we have one-of-a-kind jewelry and unusual gifts. We care about more than one client.”
Perhaps even more than its contents, Iconi Interior’s feeling is derived from the people in it, whether it’s Coni, her staff, or their customers. “We don’t hover or pounce, but are totally available if people want our assistance. We wanted to create an environment people want to hang out in. My favorite compliment is when people bring guests into the shop. We want people to feel like we’re connected and we care because we do. Right down to the music we play. Our customers enjoy coming here, and often there’s a personable part of it, a connection.”
Explaining the addition of Iconi Consignment, Coni says, “The [consignment] store goes hand-in-hand with the original business. My designer colleagues and our clients would like to change the décor of their home, but often need a place to sell their former pieces.”
Coni is the main designer in the store, and just one of her fortes is working with realtors to stage and decorate residential and commercial spaces. Another aspect that Coni believes sets them apart is lamps. “We’re the only [area] retail store that does custom lamp shades and lamp repairs, as far as I know.” It wasn’t easy to find someone to fix the lamps, which led to Mike being recruited. He’s also the one who originally came up with the name Iconi interiors, although Coni wasn’t convinced until her friend independently came up with the same name.
Coni is committed to remaining ecologically minded in her practices. “We’ve turned into a disposable society. It’s a shame not to keep things out of the landfill. Having a consignment store is a greener way.” In this same vein, Iconi offers reupholstering services.
Coni is proud of Iconi’s new product purchasing philosophy. “We carry as many U.S. products as we can. I think that’s an attribute. They’re not always easy to find.” Coni says most upholstery, lamp shades and vintage products at Iconi are made in the United States.
What does the future hold? Coni says, “We keep evolving. You have to adapt to the needs of your customers. When you adapt to your customers, it reinvents you and helps you to stay fresh.” Fun is also part of the equation. “You have to have fun. If we’re having fun, that transfers. And shopping should be fun.”
Coni takes the responsibility to her staff as seriously as to her clients. “It’s important my staff has Sundays and holidays off. They deserve it—they work hard to make this all possible. I couldn’t do this without them. And I remember as a kid that when nothing was open on a Sunday, we found a way to adapt.”
Iconi Interiors is open 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Yvette Ferris graduated with a degree in English from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. After forays into the restaurant and finance worlds, she has come full circle back to writing. Yvette has lived many places, but is happiest to call Madison home.