One of the best things about living near Kansas City is the wide variety of businesses you can find. If you go downtown to the West Bottoms Historical District, you’ll find warehouses converted into great stores selling antiques, vintage clothes and accessories, upcycled and recycled items, and handmade items. They do big events the first weekend of every month, and it’s always packed. It’s hard to find a parking spot, and you have to maneuver through huge crowds, but all the food trucks come out, and there’s a vibrant energy in the whole area.
My favorite shop is Ugly Glass and Company, located on the fourth floor of Le Fou Flea. It’s a handmade market comprised of lots of different vendors, with the store manned by the Ugly Glass people. I just love all the different things you can find: soaps, candles, bags, t-shirts, screenprinted kitchen towels, jewelry, baby blankets, diaper pads, Kansas City-related photos and prints and quotes, scarves, and so much more. The vendors refresh their inventory regularly, and there are always new vendors coming in, so it’s different every time I go.
Saturday night they hosted a Meet the Makers event with refreshments and door prizes, so I dragged Alex out there with me. My initial reason for going was to support Cocoon, an upcycling business run by a friend of mine. She makes birdhouses from cowboy boots, wind chimes from teapots, birdfeeders from tea cups and saucers, necklace holders and bowls out of records, and earrings made from aluminum cans. Everyone who came got to design a pair of earrings, so I got Coke can ladybugs! Aren’t they cute? Very simple, and lightweight too. She’s got a ton of colors, and you can do ladybugs, butterflies, or owls. Fun stuff.
Other than that, I was there to check out the space and get ideas for display fixtures. I’m pondering renting a space there, but just don’t know what to use. Bookcase? Metal shelving? Pegboard? I’m still pondering, and I’m not convinced it’s the right time for me to rent a space. With knit/crochet items, maybe I’d do better in the cooler months? But traffic will be higher in warmer months. I just don’t know. Any advice?
While wandering, I found a booth of handmade dog collars made by SLik Hound Pet Collars. Well, I have dogs. Two of them, in fact, and I love spoiling them. But they have collars, didn’t need new ones, I could walk on by…Hey! They had Wonder Woman! I do love me some Wonder Woman. This fabric also had Supergirl and Batgirl and it’s just fabulous. They were running a special that night of buy one, get one 30% off, so we picked out a KC Royals collar for the boy pup. LOVE them!They make them in tons of colors, patterns, and pop culture themes, and each one has a coordinating fabric sewn inside. These collars are available in a variety of sizes, they’re well-made, strong and sturdy, and they’re machine washable. Check out their website here.
We spent a while chatting with the makers, Nick and Amy. (I know what you’re thinking: Gone Girl. But I assure you, this Amy was SO much nicer than the Amy from that book!) I mentioned that I’m a crafter too, scoping out the place, and they were both so helpful and encouraging. It was a great reminder of why I love the handmade movement: people are so passionate about their craft, and they want others to succeed too. It’s not all about ME. It’s not all about the money. Sure, it’s a business and they’re trying to make a living. But they’re not trying to get rich. They’re trying lead a rich life doing something they love, and that’s definitely something I aspire to. It’s also something I want to support, so my pups will be wearing their collars whenever they go out.