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Jan Osterkamp: Owner, Philosopher, and Visionary

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As the owner of the shop, Jan is the heart and soul of Monarch (see the story below of how Monarch was created). Through Monarch, Jan wishes to provide our customers with gifts, products and services that encourage authentic living, well-being, personal empowerment, inspiration, and wholeness. Her main goal is to offer people the tools they need to discover and accept themselves for who they truly are. She believes that when you realize your true self, you can then focus on your strengths, share your gifts and make a real difference in the world. 

Being a “big picture” thinker, Jan loves to spend her time working on new ideas for the shop. Her vision for Monarch’s future is to find new ways to communicate with customers and partner with other businesses so Monarch can continue offering unique and inspirational products and services to support the local community and beyond. 

Jan believes that when you surround yourself with beauty you become fully alive and energized to live your life to the fullest.  This is why she chose the statement Make Your Life Beautiful as the message displayed wherever you see Monarch.  This love of beauty has always been an important part of her journey and has, thus, become Monarch’s journey as well.  Jan makes her own life beautiful by expressing her creative and artistic nature as often as possible.  She loves to create and design and spends her free time immersed in drawing, painting, gardening, photography and pottery.  Recently she has launched a beautiful new jewelry line, Shakti, that was designed and hand-made in collaboration with Northfield resident Becky Conroy and the entire Monarch staff.  This process was filled with many lessons of growth and self-discovery and the dedicated work of all involved has played an important role in bringing this jewelry to life.

Always energized by new ideas, Jan is the type to be working on ten projects and reading five different books at once.  It is no surprise, then, that she is also working on her degree in Gemology at the Gemological Institute of America. With her love of nature and jewelry, Jan has a great appreciation for Mother Earth’s rocks, minerals, and gems. Wish her luck on her Gemologist-certification test later this year!

A Journey of Transformation:  How Monarch Gift Shop was Born

The story of Monarch's creation is one of inspiration and growth. The spark that gave life to the shop took form when Jan Osterkamp decided to leave her 17 year career in the Medical Insurance industry.  Jan realized that she wanted to spend her life doing something where she could use her gifts of planning and organization as well as her love of beauty and her creative talents. Following her heart, Jan worked toward a diploma in Landscape Horticulture from Dakota County Technical College. After graduating, she started her own business in Landscape Design and Installation.

Jan loved her new work designing beautiful gardens for her clients and her business took off.  At the same time, she began reconnecting with her spiritual nature.  She endlessly read books on spiritual growth and began to follow a path of personal self-examination, breaking down past illusions, rebuilding new beliefs and learning to follow her intuition. These life changing books included Anthony Robins' Awaken the Giant Within, Caroline Myss' Anatomy of the Spirit, and Sanaya Roman's Spiritual Growth.  Jan's dedicated approach to healing and empowerment not only helped her personal life, but also helped her to realize her professional dreams and goals.

As her landscape business continued to grow she found difficulty with the physical labor of installation.  Jan considered moving out of St. Paul so that she could focus instead on the design and retail aspects of the business by growing her own plants for her customers.  Her husband, Steve, was very supportive and encouraging and, with their family, they moved to Northfield in 2000 to fulfill this dream. They bought a 13-acre farm and renovated it, bought greenhouses, and were ready to launch when an unforeseen circumstance occurred: new zoning regulations wouldn't allow the retail business on their new property. Needless to say, this demanded a major change in Jan's plans.

What didn't change was Jan's motivation and her new interest in retail. Thanks to the emotional and spiritual work she had done, she knew that this challenge had a gift hidden inside it. Each day, Jan sat down with a blank piece of paper, and let her intuition flow. When inspiration came, she followed those messages which led her to meet and talk with new people, and discuss new possibilities. She discovered within herself a budding idea of opening a shop that would provide tools for self discovery such as books, music, beautiful art, jewelry and natural stones as well as an atmosphere of healing, relaxation and inspiration. Thinking of her own healing process, her hope was for these products to open people's minds and help them to think about their lives and choices in new ways. She wanted to touch people's hearts in a way that would initiate a better way of life, more joy, and a path toward living the life they've always dreamed of. Through the new contacts she had made, Jan discovered that a retail space would soon be available in the historic section of downtown Northfield and she decided to make this dream a reality.

Each step Jan took towards reaching her goal came surprisingly quickly and easily, without major roadblocks. Even though Jan knew very little at the time about running a retail store, everything seemed to be happening exceptionally smoothly.  She let go of her landscape business (though she still has a great love of working with plants and has a magnificent garden of her own!) and committed to opening an inspirational gift shop.  Because the butterfly is a symbol of transformation, she decided to call her shop Monarch in hopes of inspiring a wonderful transformation in the lives of her customers.  On February 7th, 2001, her dream came true when Monarch officially opened its doors and wings, and soared. Every day since has been a process of learning, growing, and changing. At first, Jan was running the business all by herself but with time, and as the business grew, she started hiring more help. When Jan's daughter, Gina, joined the team full time, they took Monarch to a new level of success and created the wonderful shop that has continued to fulfill its mission of inspiration and empowerment for over 10 years!

 

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