Diane Austin decided to look at life with new eyes after battling through stage three colon cancer. She decided it was time to have fun, let go of fear, and go back to a passion she had many years ago by opening Blue Eyed Daisy. The store, located on Walnut Street in an old home where ReInvintaged Lemon used to be located, offers fashions for women, jewelry, accessories, baby clothing, and gift items.
“I am in my third career,” said Austin. “Right out of high school I performed at Opryland and then I was part of the singing group called ‘The Girls Next Door’. After ten years on the road touring with groups like The Oak Ridge Boys, Lee Greenwood and The Statler Brothers, to name a few, I went to college and got a teaching degree. After graduating, I taught at Providence Christian Academy and MTSU, but retired from Rockvale Elementary School.”
She decided to retire from teaching and make her dream of owning her own store a reality after selling out of her house, online, and at flea markets. She carries clothing in sizes 6 through 3x for women from Glam, Umgee, Doe and Roe, and Tempo Paris.
“I really like the jewelry I carry from Silver Forest,” said Austin, “as it is hand made. And they work with you to make sure you have the right selection for your customers by allowing you to try new things and return what doesn’t work.”
Austin named the area where she carries baby clothing and gift items, “Skylar’s Corner” after her granddaughter. She handles vendors like Sweet Dreams, as well as baby clothing and gift items made by local artisans. The shelves are stocked with toys, lotions, blankets, swaddles, and onesies.
For the writer she has journals, to sooth the stressed she has handmade scented candles, and an assortment of other gifts and accessories are available.
The store is decorated with memories of her days on the road, before she stopped her travels to get married and have children.
“Music is a big part of my life,” said Austin. “When The Girls Next Door were touring, we had a record contract with MTM and then Atlantic. MTM was Mary Tyler Moore’s record label. Not many people remember that she had one for a while. When it ended, we went to Atlantic.”
The Girls Next Door was a 1980s Country group from Nashville, Tennessee. Their self-titled debut album, produced by Tommy West, hit number 30 on Billboard’s Top Country Album chart. Their single, “Slow Boat to China,” hit number 9 on the Hot Country Singles chart.
Once Austin’s business gets rolling, she hopes to donate 10% of her profits to a program to give private music lessons to talented kids who could not otherwise afford them. She also wants to be able to have live music in the summer under the trees that hang over the parking lot behind the store. And in the Air Stream parked behind the store, lessons will be offered in everything from music to jewelry making.
“I’m one year free of cancer,” noted Austin, “and this is my way to celebrate.”
The Blue Eyed Daisy
432 North Walnut Street
Hours: Monday through Wednesday, 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Thursday through Saturday, 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.