What’s Hot: A curated collection of local craft products, all in one place
Who Shows it Off: The Handmade Showroom
What I Love: Kid-sized costumes for year-round play by World of Whimm, goggle hats by Scary White Girl, the elegant curves of a hinged shell by Turn ‘n Burn Arts, the scents of dill and cedar in Jet City Soap by Seattle Sundries
You are passionate about supporting small businesses and local artisans. You have a long list of friends and relatives who managed to be far more nice than naughty this year. You have style. You have kids. You have kids with style. But you also only have 10 shopping days left this holiday season. What do you do?
Your answer can be found at The Handmade Showroom, located on the third floor at Pacific Place downtown.
Founded by Marlo Miyashiro (Creative Arts Consulting) and Kayce Quevedo (World of Whimm), this pop-up store features artists and craftspeople working primarily in Washington and Oregon. The showroom is curated like an art gallery, and Quevedo has an exquisite eye for display. A clean, white backdrop frames a wide range of perfect holiday gifts: home décor pieces, clothing, jewelry, bags and wallets, toys, handmade soaps and craft food items.
The Handmade Showroom opened in June of this year and will be at its current location through December 31. Shop the showroom before it’s too late. But before you do, get a little Handmade history and some (local) shopping tips from Managing Director Miyashiro:
The EM: What made you decide to open a bricks and mortar store for local artists and craftspeople?
MM: We have been working together for the better part of 8 years co-organizing the artists association known Seattle Handmade (formerly etsyRAIN), creating community events and producing craft shows for our members. Collaborating on a physical store together was, in many ways, a natural extension of our years of experience in producing events that support the creative community of Seattle.
The EM: How many vendors/artists do you currently carry?
MM: We began with around 30 artists when we first opened and today we have over 70!
The EM: You mentioned that you think of the Handmade Showroom as a “gallery.” What are some of the key features and principles of production that you look for when you curate for this space?
MM: Our focus is on finding and showing the best contemporary handmade goods in the Pacific Northwest. When making our decisions about new artists to invite to participate, we look at things like product consistency, material quality, company branding, pricing structure, business professionalism, and category availability to ensure we have a good mix of products and price ranges.
The EM: Who are your customers, and what is the most fun or interesting comment a customer has made?
MM: When we first started, we assumed most of our business would come from tourists, given the location of the shopping center, but a good majority of our customers work and/or live in the downtown Seattle area. That made us really happy because it means that we will be able to build a following here should we be given the opportunity to stay permanently. Everyone who takes the time to look at the wonderful work we represent tells us how refreshing it is to have a store like ours at Pacific Place Shopping Center. “This is SO needed here.” is one we hear often. We happen to agree!
The EM: Do you plan to look for a permanent home or keep this store as a pop-up? If the latter, do you envision expanding, and how?
MM: We are currently in negotiations to secure a full-time lease! We are hopeful that we have proven our worth over the last six months and are given the opportunity to grow our business here in downtown Seattle. As far as expansion goes, the super-big hope/dream/vision is to open up locations in other major metropolitan cities, representing artists in those areas and curating collections like the one we have here. Just thinking about it is exciting and scary, but that would be so amazing!
The EM: Any great merchandise ideas/tips for holiday shoppers?
MM: Our fabulous Digital Media Manager, Michaela Rose (who also happens to be one of our artists), has recently launched a “12 Days of Handmade” campaign on our Facebook page. It’s a really great way to get to know what we have for holiday gift giving!
The EM: What will spell success for The Handmade Showroom?
MM: Success for The Handmade Showroom would be to have an established location with profitable earnings while holding true to our focus on quality handmade goods. All we need is the support of our community to make that happen. Here’s to a wonderful Handmade Holiday Season!