Cincy Chic: We featured you on the site a few months ago as a Real Estate agent. Now you're a vintage clothing store/art gallery owner? Tell us how all that happened!
Meghan Ferguson: From being in Real Estate and my boyfriend in the mortgage business, we came across a really special opportunity. A friend of his had The Manly Estate listed. We toured the building the day before a major price reduction and got very lucky. We are now converting the building to condos. We decided to lease out the first floor commercial space to artists. We opened "Sanctuary Living at the Mansion," We create a retail atmosphere with unique gifts such as clothing and jewelry to create a boutique buying experience for art of all kinds.
Cincy Chic: What's your vision for the Mansion?
Ferguson: Our vision is to create a sanctuary for urban dwellers, artists and shoppers. We are located on the beautiful 9th St. Historic District. A street lined with residential brownstones which house our forward-thinking neighbors. Our vision is to see the Cincinnati art renaissance in its full glory. The School for Creative and Performing Arts will offer a free education to the talented youth of Cincinnati, located only two blocks away. The street car, which will hopefully be making its return around the same time, will regain the connectivity that once made this city so desirable. It will also lend itself to less polution and a decrease in the number of city parking lots. We want people to know that it's okay to live downtown; that new urbanism is on the horizon.
In order for people to share our vision, we want to throw an event every six weeks. The next event is New Year's Eve, and the theme will be "Vintage Hollywood." Dress up in fabulous vintage Hollywood or black tie and dance the night away to the beats of DJ Mowgli in an elegant ballroom. Fabulous appetizers by Creative Confections and a free champagne toast will be included in admission. A silent auction will benefit the Cincinnati Free Store and Food Bank. It will be an elegant affair – to help the revitilization of Downtown Cincinnati – not soon to be forgotten. Click here to learn more about it.
Our vision for the mansion is for it to grow into what it is supposed to become. A place to live, shop and create a future of Cincinnati.
Cincy Chic: Why do you feel so passionate about what you're doing?
Ferguson: Ghandi once said "be the change you wish to see in the world." To make a change, you must start in your community. I didn't grow up in downtown; it was always a destination for me. While I traveled around the world, when asked where I lived, I replied Cincinnati. When I first moved back from California, I started my Real Estate career in Northern Kentucky. I was excited with the rise in development in Newport and Covington. Yet, I thought neither city would be emerging if not located in the Cincinnati region. Passionately, my boyfriend and I would admire the Cincinnati skyline from the balcony of our condo in The Bluffs located in Covington. We are now a part of the beautiful view attempting to make the city's future a little brighter. Just like a small seed can become a giant oak tree, an idea of new urbanism has taken root in Cincinnati. We are just a small part of this.
Cincy Chic: What's your favorite thing about the Mansion?
Ferguson: Aesthetically, it would be the chandeliers, high ceilings with crown molding and the hand painted Zuber wallpaper in the ballroom. Emotionally, it would be the effect it has on all its visitors. Everyone who is drawn into this place is in awe of the building, its history and its purpose. People find a treasure in the shop; something one-of-a-kind and it makes it makes them happy. They are proud to discover the one thing they never knew that they always wanted.
Cincy Chic: How are you keeping alive the memory of the Mansion's previous (and quite legendary) owner?
Ferguson: The funny thing about living in this house, is that 7 out of 10 people that we talk to have eaten at our home. Bob Manly was well known for his dinner parties catered in the 650 sq. ft. kitchen and lended his luxurous dining room to simply recieve a plate from the feast himself. We have a very unique space available for private parites etc. and have already catered a rehersal dinner here. All we ask is that you clean up when you leave. Mr. Manley was also a big advocate for downtown living and "fighting eminnet domaign before it was cool." We, too, reach out to the community to support the local businesses. With our day jobs, we specialize in selling and leasing urban properties. We live, breathe and eat this city.
Cincy Chic: How do you feel about being a young female business owner and do you have any advice to share?
Ferguson: Be passionate about what you do. If you have a dream of owning a shop, follow your dream. Dreams never go away until they are realized. If they are ignored, one day they will only be a "what if."
Cincy Chic: What's your favorite thing about Cincinnati?
Ferguson: We love the community. We love that there is always something going on. Fountain Square has family-friendly entertainment. During the summer, we took the kids to movie night on the jumbo tron, square dancing in the fall and now ice skating. The kids have a horse named "Bob" that is our usual way home on a full-filled Saturday. The have a huge backyard full of museums, theaters, libraries, events and even a large swingset down at Sawyer Point.
Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
Model: Meghan Ferguson with The Cincinnati Mansion
See below for a slideshow of pictures taken at the Mansion.