Shoppers still looking for unique holiday gifts might want to consider stopping by the Gaviidae Common building in downtown Minneapolis, where this year’s Northside Holiday Boutique is taking place. The now annual pop-up boutique that features locally handcrafted products from Minneapolis’ northside residents is coming to an end this Friday.
This year’s showcase, put on each year by the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition (WBC), features more than 25 local businesses and artists from north Minneapolis, and includes a wide array of local wares — from clothing and jewelry to art and beauty products.
“It’s unique art, clothing and jewelry that people don’t see anywhere else,” said Carla Schleicher, a programs coordinator with the WBC. “We’re still rotating new items in and some new vendors will be coming in this last [week].”
The event’s debut last year brought in a combined $20,000 among its 20 vendors, Schleicher said, which was beyond expectations. In the market’s second year, she said, she’s hoping to match and possibly even beat those figures. “For the most part, we’ve had more items on the floor from the get-go than last year, and more variety,” she said.
Jonathan and Sabrina Jones, who run S & J Creations, were one of the boutique’s top vendors last year, bringing in more than $1,300 selling their homemade body scrubs, shea butters and custom home décor items like coasters and glass vases.
Sabrina Jones said the boutique helped to spread their relatively new business to different markets, and they’ve since experienced a large amount of repeat customers. This year, she said, they’re hoping to create a big enough clientele and revenue pool to eventually open a storefront of their own. “It really has helped those businesses that can’t afford to have a storefront,” she said of the boutique.
Alicia Davis, a new vendor this year, said her business doesn’t even have a website yet, so the holiday boutique has been essential to spreading the word about her new line of perfume and cologne called Hidden Notes Perfume Oils. “This is the only storefront that I have right now,” Davis said. “It is absolutely exciting.”
Jacqueline Wingfield of Diva Glass Slippers has been operating her business for 10 years out of her home, but said the holiday boutique last year gave a significant boost to her sales. Her wine glass slips, which act as personal identifiers and coasters, have been a hit in north Minneapolis since she created them on a whim for one of her parties, she said. But the holiday boutique is helping her widen her customer base, she said, and this year’s sales are already off to a good start. “I just had a guy order a bunch for his wife,” she said. “I’m having to restock on a regular basis.”
While she doesn’t know just how much they’ve made yet, Schleicher said, this year’s sale has already gotten more attention, and she’s hoping it translates into higher sales. And later next spring, she said, they hope to open a permanent home for the boutique off West Broadway Avenue and Dupont Avenue in north Minneapolis.
For Sabrina Jones, whose family has lived in north Minneapolis for 45 years, the boutique has also helped shine a light on all the small businesses in north Minneapolis that she says don’t get enough positive attention. “It just kind of sheds light on their talent and not on some of the things people hear on the news about the northside that unfortunately happen,” she said. “It’s been a great opportunity for us.”