Jane Kasper, owner of Rural Haze, lives in Nampa with her husband, Peter Kasper, whom she met on a fishing trip in Texas.

Courtesy of Jane Kasper

So many businesses are opening in Meridian that it's hard to keep track of them, much less learn the story behind each one.

But this week I got a call from the owner of Rural Haze, which turned out to be a delightful conversation about her background and how her business got started.

Jane Kasper started Rural Haze as an online Etsy store in 2013, which offered bandanas and boot lace cuffs. Her products gained exposure when her Etsy shop was featured by online retailer Country Outfitter. From there, Macy's and Nordstrom picked up some of her items.

“We ended up in boutiques throughout country,” Kasper said. Rural Haze has also set up shop at the National Finals Rodeo.

Kasper is closing down her Etsy shop, which she said feels bittersweet, and opening her first brick-and-mortar store April 17 at The Village. The grand-opening celebration will be April 22.

When I heard Kasper was from California, I assumed she left the big-city life when she moved to Idaho. Actually, quite the opposite.

Kasper, 30, grew up on a cattle ranch in rural California that's been in her family for five generations, since 1864. Moving to Idaho meant there were stores right down the road instead of an hour away.

“So Meridian to me is like, big city,” she said with a laugh.

Her husband, Peter Kasper, also has an agricultural background. He works at his family's dairy in Melba, Kasper Land and Cattle.

The two met on a fishing trip in Texas, and Jane moved to Nampa to be with Peter in late 2015. They're expecting a baby boy on their first wedding anniversary in June — a surprise they learned about shortly after Kasper arranged to open her store.

Kasper's roots at the ranch in California inspired the Western and Bohemian themes of the clothing, accessories and home decor at Rural Haze, she said.

As a kid, Kasper had to take sewing classes, which she thought were a waste of time.

“I always told my mom, 'I'm never going to use this,'” she said. “For years, we were like, 'This is so stupid, we don't want to take sewing lessons.'”

As an adult, when she started sewing and selling bandanas online, her mother was sure to remind her of those previous complaints, Kasper said.

To harken back to the shop's beginnings, each first-time customer receives a complimentary pack of bandanas or lace boot cuffs, she said.

“Just as a thank you,” Kasper said.

When she's not working on Rural Haze projects, Kasper's “regular job,” she said, is in the dairy nutrition industry (basically nutrition for cows, as she explained it).

Check out the new shop and maybe even meet Kasper starting Monday.

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