Odd McLean is a 1,200-square-foot terrarium of curios — but its sleek, glassy exterior hardly veils the kaleidoscope of head-turning treasures inside. Since opening in the spring of 2022, the funky strip mall shop has quickly become Atlanta’s (and the South’s) go-to place for uncommon gifts and display-worthy home goods. Each of the store’s 54 expertly picked brands has a story to tell, and so does the owner of Odd McLean, Kwynn Everest.
Odd: the man who started it all
Odd McLean “Mack” Stephens, Kwynn’s grandfather, was born in 1937 in Fayetteville, Georgia. He’s a jovial character who’s “never met a stranger and will know your entire life story in a matter of minutes,” according to Kwynn. “Mack served in the Air Force, had a fulfilling 35-year career with Delta Airlines, created a beautiful family, and still manages to get his hair cut every Friday.”
“Growing up, my mother and grandmother were so influential to me,” Kwynn says. “My grandmother was the matriarch of our family. She was the boss and everyone kind of just fell in line and answered to her. She inspired me to pursue my dreams and set really big goals.” Kwynn’s two little girls are named after those influential women, but she could never name a child Odd. Kwynn decided to honor her grandfather in a different way. What better tribute to this warm, colorful man than filling the store of the same name with odd and happy objects?
Life before shopkeeper: creating the Odd McLean vibe
Kwynn worked retail in between corporate jobs and always loved the in-store experience. But right up until opening the store, she had the most important job of all: a stay-at-home mom. “I feel fortunate I was able to be with my girls for the first few years of their lives. Being home also gave me the opportunity to really sit down and focus on what I wanted to do from a business perspective. I really honed in on what I wanted to carry and what I wanted the store’s vibe to be,” Kwynn says.
She (jokingly?) admits to a shopping problem that she strived to channel in some way. “I wanted to bring in fun and fresh styles,” Kwynn says. “In Atlanta — and the South as a whole — I think people can kind of get in a rut, especially when it comes to gifting for the home.” Since the pandemic, Kwynn acknowledges that we all seem ready for a little bit more when it comes to stocking our shelves and designing our tables. “People are branching out and taking some risks. Style-wise, we’re all having a little bit more fun.”
Kwynn’s sourcing and buying process celebrates the unexpected
As far as sourcing goes, Kwynn fills her shop with items from all around the world. “I really do try to focus on up-and-coming artists or artisans who, like me, have a small business,” she says. “I carry a lot of women-owned companies and local Atlanta and Southeastern treasures. But I also carry lines from Australia, Europe, and South America. It’s all about finding high-end, quality products that put a smile on people’s faces.”
Everything is fresh and different, and you get that immediately whether you land in the store or on the website’s homepage. Think fanciful prints with a slightly irreverent twist. Dishes that belong more at an Alice in Wonderland tea party than a ball at Versaille. A set of glass-blown tumblers that, upon further inspection, contain colorful glass animals hanging out at the bottom of your future margaritas.
What’s Kwynn gifting this holiday season?
Odd McLean carries over 50 fabulous brands, so picking favorites is tough for Kwynn. But one of her current favorites is a set of resin salad servers like this $87.50 set or these chunkier ones. “They’re jumbo-sized, durable, and come in tons of colors,” Kwynn says. “Everyone has a big white or wooden salad bowl. So add an element of fun and spice it up with some color. It’s a great wedding or hostess gift.”
As for which Southern stores she can’t stay away from if she’s in the vicinity, Kwynn says, “I’m a sucker for clothing, but I would never be able to own a clothing store. It would be very dangerous for me. But I love Capitol in Charlotte. If I had all the money in the world, I would just live there.” She also loves Croghan’s Jewel Box in Charleston for how well they blend old and new, a goal that Kwynn aspires to. She appreciates what she purveys: unique, dopamine-sparking pieces that not everyone will have.
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