“The idea is that everybody has a following, when you go to a craft show, people know where you are,” said the store’s owner Anissa Noakes, who herself crochets and knits and has a business called the Stray Sheep Co.
But the public will ask where they can buy artists’ goods on a regular basis and that can prove a problem.
Now, with a store, individual artists can have their works on display all the time.
Noakes designed a business plan where some 30 artists and artisans pay rent to have a permanent display at the shop at 548 Chilver Rd. in Olde Walkerville.
Meanwhile the artists can still meet the public by working in the store.
By doing so they get a discount on their rent.
“It’s great because the community can meet the people who make everything,” Noakes said.
“And the artists can have a retail space and have an invested interest in making the store work.”
A littler over half the 30 store members put in regular store shifts.
“So you’ll meet about 16 different artists if you go on any day,” Noakes said.
The store functions as a cooperative.
So while the artists promote their own work they can also show off the work of others.
“It’s all sort of let’s work together to make the store great and help each other out,” she said.
Noakes grew up in Windsor but lived in British Columbia for 15 years before returning to the area for family reasons.
She’s been affiliated with a large cooperative art market in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, which was a model for the Windsor store.
Noakes says her customers, especially at first, thought the store was a typical gift shop.
“We said to them, everything in the store is made in Windsor by people who live in Windsor, so when you purchase something you’re supporting artists directly.”
“And then all of a sudden their mood and their attitude changes towards the products and they think it’s amazing.”
As for the products themselves, you’ll find everything from soaps to prints, jewellery, natural deodorant, healthy pet food, nifty dog collars and handmade pacifier clips.