The Handmade House

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

I *heart* small businesses. I love when you walk into a store and some business owner has lovingly and creatively arranged their wares for sale. There is something old world about that type of shop. It's nurturing. But it's also rare.

I have spent quite a lot of time in my own little town of Dundas, Ontario, poking around and getting to know the local shop owners as I have a soft spot for learning the stories behind the stores. So, when I learned in August that a new artisan store called: The Handmade House, was coming to town, my attention was peaked. 


Hmmmm, all local artists and artisans featured, hailing within a hour of Hamilton you say? Interesting...

I'll be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect. Was I going to find an overly curated store, showcasing beautiful but high-end artwork? Was it going to be a store filled with crafty knickknacks and macrame kleenex box covers??? I didn't know! But in I wandered.

 I liked it immediately.
The Handmade House
Warm, fun, bright, beautiful displays, and lots to look at. My first thought, was literally:

Hang on... this store is filled with everything I've pinned on Pinterest, but done perfectly and not by me! SA-WEEEET!
Fleurished Creations: Pump Soap Mason Jars
Did I say my first "thought"?!? Well, I totally thought it out loud (what else is new...) which lead me to have a little chat-ski with owner Kelly Girard. Who coincidentally, is just like her store: warm, interesting, and engaging. 

Starting her career out as a nurse, Kelly decided after the birth of her second child, that her work/life balance needed to change. But what would that look like? 

A full-time nurse and weekend artisan herself, Kelly had always collected the business cards of fellow artisans at the shows she attended selling her handmade dream-catchers. But it wasn't until she became connected with a store, who rented out shelf space to artisans (versus the traditional model of buying inventory outright), that Kelly said she had her 'ah-ha' moment.
Kelly Girard: Dream-Catcher
So, in early June of 2017, Kelly threw out some inquiry e-mails from her stack of collected business cards to take the pulse on potential vendors and by August 12th, she was open; sixty-five local vendors in tow. 
Curious Oddities: Necklaces

The shop is filled with interesting vintage fabric cross-body bags, quirky knitted baby toys, soaps, lotions, candles, beautiful and unique jewelry, cards, prints, artwork... the list goes on and it's always changing as new suppliers come in. Did I also mention the price point is excellent? Well, it is. 

Kelly now says that she receives two to five e-mails a day from potential vendors and she has a wait-list of a hundred people wanting to participate in her store. 
Mind Your Bees: Food Wrap
Her sights are now on continuing to build a solid infrastructure so that she can expand in a couple of years, delegating some of the day-to-day tasks, and then spending the rest of her time creating an amazing place where people like to hang out. So. Awesome.
Heathers Handknitz: Blankets
Aaaand her work/life balance has been achieved. She's open from Tuesday to Saturday and she's home for dinner every night.

She's the kind of business owner you love to see succeed and she in turn, uses her platform to help local artists succeed. A perfect loop.
Attack! Collective: Fox Print
So, go, GO(!) check it out, wander around and maybe buy a gift. At the very least, bask in the freedom that you no longer have to feel burdened by the Pinterest projects you'll never attempt. The Handmade House has you covered buddy. Consider yourself off the hook. 

-C.

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