Sarah Tucker’s faith has already led her to do some pretty big things. For example, becoming a store owner on Main Street — at the age of just 21.
“After I graduated high school, I went on a mission trip to Haiti,” Sarah said. “It was there where I really felt like God was saying to me, ‘Sarah, one day, you are going to clothe the orphans.’”
Admittedly confused about how this plan was going to play out, Sarah went on to study fashion merchandising at Middle Tennessee State University. She got a job at a boutique in Downtown Franklin, where she made an effort to learn all she could about managing and starting her own business.
While Sarah enjoyed working in the boutique, it seemed God had other plans for her.
“I knew God was telling me to quit my job, but I didn’t know what to do.”
Then, in an act of divine intervention, Sarah had a vision of her future store.
“I saw the wall in the back by the fitting rooms, and I saw the phrase, ‘Imago Dei,’ which means ‘image of God,’ written in raised lettering.”
In that moment, Sarah knew she was meant to be a store-owner. Always interested in fashion, Sarah describes her style as “boho chic.” She likes both long and flowy styles, as well as tailored and put together. Her personal style sets the tone for everything in her store, which got its start in a small space in the Factory, but her heart was set on Downtown Franklin.
“On January 1st of last year, my parents and I came to Main Street and marched around seven times, praying for a space,” Sarah said. “We didn’t even know exactly what we were praying for at the time, which just goes to show how God had a space picked out for us before we even knew.”
This space turned out to be 326 Main Street. She incorporated her vision of the wall next to the fitting rooms, which is painted with encouraging words for her customers.
“The wall is important to me because it is in the fitting room, where I know I am most hard on myself. I want the words to inspire people to look in the mirror and be reminded of who God says we are.”
With the help of her family, Sarah was able to have Imago Dei up and running by October 2016, just in time for Pumpkinfest.
“It really has turned into a sweet family thing,” Sarah said. “My parents have an office upstairs and hang out there. My younger sister helps a lot too. Opening the store has definitely brought our family even closer.”
Sarah says her biggest inspirations are her mother and her grandmother, or ‘Nana’ as Sarah refers to her.
“We believe this is all part of a special story, starting with my Nana. She was found outside of an orphanage in a cardboard box as a baby. Her daughter–my mom–went on to write children’s books and now her granddaughter owns her own store. My grandmother started from nothing, so it just goes to show how blessed we are.”
Sarah’s family is one reason she didn’t want to leave her hometown of Franklin. In fact, she says it was always her dream to end up in Franklin. She never wanted to work anywhere else other than Downtown Franklin, where her first job was at Sweet Cece’s when she was 15.
“Downtown Franklin is the sweetest little place, filled with great shops and restaurants,” she said. “There is such a nice community on Main Street, where everyone supports everyone.”
The self-described “foodie,” spends much of her free time on America’s Favorite Main Street, where she enjoys hanging out with friends and eating at some of her favorite restaurants, including the Frothy Monkey, Gray’s on Main and JJ’s Wine Bar. When she isn’t working or enjoying a delicious meal, Sarah can often be found taking a class at Pure Barre.
Although she would like to see Imago Dei grow, she has no plans of leaving her location in Downtown Franklin.
“I would love to see the second floor open for retail eventually. I would like to possibly have a few different locations, but Franklin will always be home base.”
Imago Dei is open Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. To learn more about their brick and mortar shop, facebook.com/shopimagodei.
This is part of a series on merchants in downtown Franklin that runs in the Williamson Herald. For more stories, go to www.downtownfranklintn.com.