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Moorhead woman turns artful arranging into business

Sue Geiger owns and operates The Soft Touch in south Moorhead. Carrie Snyder / The Forum

MOORHEAD - Sue Geiger has always loved decorating.

In high school, her home economics teacher chose her for a yard beautification project, and her mother always let her paint bedrooms in their home.

Geiger now turns artificial flowers into beautiful centerpieces and has turned her love of accessorizing into a business.

She has a retail location for her business, The Soft Touch, where customers can purchase arrangements Geiger has created and outdoor photography by her son, Todd Geiger.

She also goes into clients' homes to arrange their furniture and home décor.

"I'm very blessed. Even with the economic times, people want to come home to a nice atmosphere and they'll hire me for placement, moving furniture around, and it all looks different," Geiger said. "People have beautiful things, and it's just a matter of placing them so there are focal points in their homes and they can come home to a serene surrounding."

Q: What made you decide to start the business?

A: I just had started doing a lot of things in my home, and I decided that someday I wanted a shop.

I did open houses out of my home from 1987 until 1990, and then I opened the shop in the Moorhead Center Mall. I carried brass and glass and custom floral designs and very unique gifts. Some of the gifts I had from area artists.

I had my shop for three years, and it was tough to keep it open and staffed all the time, so I went back to doing open houses in my house for about another six years.

I just got this shop a year ago. It has been absolutely wonderful because I'm able to set up different home settings like I had done before in my house.

My open houses I had at the Ramada for six years, and it was 11 van loads of product for a day-and-a-half sale. It was a lot of work.

I'm so happy here. I've got everything right here.

What do you do in people's homes?

When I go to a home, I will arrange their furniture if they would like. I take down all their artwork and start all over after the furniture is arranged.

A lot of people first want me to do an organization or decluttering in their house and so I start with that.

I'll just go through their curios, their mantles. Some people even let me go in their cabinets because they have so many beautiful things, but they're not placed, so if you can place them differently so that they make a focal point, it just needs to be in a beautiful setting.

When they call me, one thing leads to another. Maybe they just want their house organized or maybe they just want a room changed. It always leads to something else.

In what sense?

They'll maybe want a centerpiece or they'll want me to come back seasonally and do their seasonal decorating.

At Christmastime, I start decorating homes the last week in October, and I don't quit until Dec. 23. I'll set up banquet tables for them, I'll set their dining room table up.

It's sort of a full-service accessorizing.

I just love my job because every day it's different. Every house is different. Every piece of furnishing or accessory, collectibles, they're all different, so it's a great challenge.

What kinds of things do you sell in your shop?

I sell gift lines. I used to only sell custom floral designs, but not everybody needs a new centerpiece every year, so I started bringing in gift lines for my open houses, and that has really taken off.

My shop is divided into different vignettes that I set up so it can look like a bathroom, a bedroom, a kitchen, dining area, so people can get an idea of what it's going to look like in their house.

How often do you change it around?

At least four times a year with the seasons. It takes me a couple weeks to change it.