Supporting local

I try my best to shop locally, whether it's food, clothes or gifts. But even more importantly I always try to support small business over the big chain stores. Always!

Sure, you get that warm fuzzy feeling of doing good when you shop at a local small business, but your also supporting your own economy, something I don't think we always understand when the support local banners go up. 

One such store here in Toronto needs a little help to keep on going. Beadle is a super cute store on Dundas West, owned by the extremely charming Cherie. You might have read her interview on the blog last fall - which I'm reposting here in case you are a new blog reader since I made the switch from Wordpress. Cherie currently has a Kapipal campaign going to try to help her deal with a recent 25% rent increase (and a few other awesome things) Unfortunately her neighbourhood is growing into a super trendy area and as great as that is, but it means higher rents for residents and shops. Head over and check out her campaign here and if you've got a couple of extra Loonies to spare they'd be put to VERY good use!

Here's Beadle's interview from last fall...

1582 Dundas West Street
just west of Dufferin
easily to get to by subway and streetcar! 
Open Tuesday to Saturday 12:00 - 6:00

Tell us a bit about your shop 
Beadle is a tiny little gallery style boutique. I have the pleasure of selling items by artists and designers that are mainly home based or small scale businesses who create handmade items. I love having the personal connection with each 'maker' and my customers really enjoy hearing about the person behind the creations they are buying.

What is your background as a maker/artist
Well, where to start. Do you have a few hours? I come by it naturally. Both my parents were creative in one way or another. My parents encouraged me to be creative from a young age – mostly because it made me sit still and be quiet. I was a rather active and curious child.

What lead you to opening up your own shop and to focus mainly on locally made goods
Honestly I was tired of doing shows with little success but loads of work setting up, tearing down and blindly creating products I was never sure I would sell. Plus my husband was growing tired of stepping on beads and my use of our sofa as our office. We came up with a budget and started looking for a studio workshop with the intentions of me just having a place to create from. It was part luck and part accident that I found the perfect little space to work from but also to create a store in. From there I quickly realized, even though the space was small, I needed more than just my own designs to help fill it up. Couldn't have done it without my husbands support.

What are your biggest challenges in running a shop that focuses on local makers?
The biggest challenge at the moment is finding cool handmade products for men. The other is wanting to order from small companies but their minimums (either $ amount or quantity) don't often work for my shop. The other big one is artists/designers who decide to move on to other things and not make their lovely products anymore. Like this amazing woman Mary who used to make beautiful baby bibs, blocks and blankets. They were so adorable and sold really well too. I haven't found anything can even compare to her beautiful creations. Do you know of anyone? Lol! The third thing is trying to find unique items that other stores similar to mine don't carry.

What shops/neighbourhood (other than yours) do you like to shop for locally made goods?
I really enjoy shopping in the Junction. So many cool shops. Wise Daughters Craft Market is a must see when you go to the Junction. The owner Mary is the Queen of workshops. The neighbourhood is a real fun mix of shops. Antique lighting stores to art supplies and everything in-between. Not at all like shopping in a mall where the stores in each one are the same chains no matter which mall you are in. Yawn... malls are so boring. Seriously though my favourite thing to do is go walking with my friend Barb, our dogs Billy and Chip, to discover different independent coffee shops and cafes in and around the West End. Luckily my favourite shop is close to home/Beadle - BIVY cafe - and it's right on my block.

Why is the handmade/shop local movement important to you?
Wow, that's a hard one to put into words. So many reasons... It's so close to my heart because I've been making and selling my own designs for years. I, like any creator, puts my heart and soul into each thing I create. Seeing the joy in someone discovering my shop for the first time never gets old. I really enjoy telling them about the store, the artist and how things are made. Watching them walk away grinning ear to ear, thrilled with their purchase is exhilarating. To be able to support other artists in their creative journey by giving them a space to sell their items is a huge honour. I've become a real part of the community in the 'hood and it feels like home, unlike any other place I've lived/worked.

How do you find items/artists?
I am lucky that most people either come to me via email or in person or through personal connection.

What do you look for in new products?
First, before anythingI really look for a quality product. I also take cues from my customers. If people are asking for something I do my best to take that as a sign I need to find someone who makes them.

Best piece of advice you would give new artists looking to get there goods into shops

Be organized and prepared. Bring your best pieces, not the leftovers from what didn't sell at the last show you did. Get a bio/artist statement together, take great photos or your work. If you are contacting a shop (via email or in person) take some time to do some research, at the very least learn the shop owners name, it's more often than not on their website or Facebook page. Whenever possible be respectful of their time, make an appointment with the owner or manager – sometimes as much as we would like to to we don't have time for pop ins. Be patient, but if you haven't heard back from a shop owner in a week don't be shy, send a polite reminder or follow up email. I've accidentally deleted emails (or had some go to my junkmail folder) and then not be able to find it later when I wanted to get in touch.

Thanks Cherie!

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