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Handmade Matters

Updated: Dec 18, 2020

By Jenny Montgomery, SW board secretary

(Photos by Jenny or from the business' Instagram)


We live in a world where mass-produced goods are just one quick click away. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with that. In some cases, things manufactured in massive quantities are necessary to meet demand. But what's the other option? This holiday season is the perfect space to discover that and to lean into shopping sustainably. Let's explore embracing small makers, their impact on the community, their passion, knowledge, and the unique small quantities they produce.

Community (a sustainable economy)

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." – Margaret Mead

  • Shopping and supporting small businesses within your community and the local economy has an impact. When you choose to purchase food or goods from independently-owned businesses, that money goes back into the community. It helps pay for schools, parks, transportation, and emergency services.

  • A higher percentage of small business owners source locally, return their investment to the community, and sustain the local economy.

  • Studies also indicate that independent business owners tend to donate to local charities, teams, or organizations. By supporting these small businesses, you can see your money trickling right back into the community.

People (social sustainability)

"When the creative spirit stirs, it animates a style of being: a lifetime filled with the desire to innovate, to explore new ways of doing things, to bring dreams to reality." - Paul A. Kaufman

  • Makers are as unique as the handmade items they create. In the varying colors, you can see slightly altered textures, attention to detail, and ever-changing product shapes of the individual pieces that they craft. When an item is handmade, you are investing in a one-of-a-kind piece. That uniqueness increases its value far beyond any item produced for mass consumption.

  • When you shop local, customer service is better. You can skip the 1-800 consumer line and generally connect directly with a shop owner or an employee they have invested in. Business owners may even recognize you at the grocery store or on the hiking trails; there is a personal investment, a connection, and a willingness to share in your shopping experience.

Planet (environmental sustainability)

"The environment is where we all meet; where we all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share." - Lady Bird Johnson

  • How far have your goods traveled? When we purchase from a large national chain store, items are probably produced outside your community, are sourced, boxed, and shipped worldwide. Those extra miles and materials used to ensure your goods are safe are responsible for more significant fuel emissions and air pollution. Buying from local vendors, especially those who source locally, can cut down on those emissions and, in return, benefit the environment.

  • If you are shopping locally, you can often skip packing materials entirely or bring your own bag or container to transport goods. Not only is that less waste in your household but it is also less material in our landfills.

Downtown Wenatchee

Here is the fun part! There are thousands of small businesses and local artisans right here in NCW; here are two storefronts ready to change your shopping experience this holiday season. They create one of a kind goods, provide space for other makers, embrace the practice of creative spirit, and believe that handmade matters.


Salt Creek Apothecary

Instagram @saltcreekapothecary

28 N Wenatchee Ave, Wenatchee, WA 98801


"Inspired by the seasonal botanical abundance of the Pacific Northwest, Salt Creek Apothecary is dedicated to local + wildcrafted, small-batch, handcrafted, sustainable and ethically cured herbal teas, extracts, tonics, infused honey, topicals, and medicinals, geared towards condition-specific healthcare."

Salt Creek is a new addition to Downtown Wenatchee. You will find high quality and ethically sourced goods thoughtfully placed on every shelf and table. Whether you are gifting the herbs they beautifully blend or supporting the local art, plants, and jewelry they sell, you can feel good about your purchase.

When you stop by, try to sneak a peek at the amazing mural by local artist Lindsay Breidentahl.


Tumbleweed Bead Co

Instagram @tumbleweedwa

1 N Wenatchee Ave, Wenatchee, WA 98801

“Tumbleweed believes in keeping life and accessories simple, fun and beautifully designed. The people who wear Tumbleweed don’t fit a particular demographic. It doesn't really matter where people live how old they are, or what they do...Tumbleweed has something for everyone.”

Whether it's jewelry carefully hammered and twisted in house, hand-poured candles, regional art, stickers, knits, and housewares, this is your one-stop gift shop.

*Bonus* This would not be a holiday blog without a shout out to two of our favorite food and wine shops. These two businesses have conveniently rooted themselves right in Downtown Wenatchee making it easy to swing by as you wrap up your holiday shopping.


Rhubarb Market

Instagram @rhubarbmarket

10 N Wenatchee Ave, Wenatchee, WA 98801


"Rhubarb Market is a lively local foods market featuring the freshest seasonal vegetables, fruits, pasture-finished meats, farm-fresh eggs, artisan cheeses, heirloom grains, nuts, honey, preserves and so much more. We work hard to offer the best selection of wholesome and responsibly sourced food and grocery items for you and your family."

From greens to potatoes to persimmons, you will discover various season-inspired foods that you can confidently serve. You can also feel good knowing the food on your table has traveled fewer miles.


Norwood Wine Bar

Instagram @norwoodwinebar

23 S Wenatchee Ave, Wenatchee, WA 98801

"Wine Bar in historic downtown Wenatchee, highlighting the diverse growing regions and exceptional wine of Washington State."

Customers will find wine from local favorites like Fielding Hills, their creative side experiment Concentric Wine Project, and Crayelle Cellars. These three are available for bottle sales and sit nestled along some of Washington's most iconic labels. Not a wine fan yet? There are other options on the regular menu, but you'll have to wait until operations move closer to normal. Then you can often find a refreshing beer from Icicle Brewing Company, a crisp cider from Snowdrift, or a glass of small-batch kombucha from Huney Jun. Norwood is a small, dedicated, family operation ready to add cheer to the holiday season. Check out their bottle sales, and don't hesitate to ask for recommendations.


Businesses Featured in Salt Creek Apothecary

Molly Costello Art and Design

Mckenna Ihde Fine Art

Crone & Hermit

Wunderbar Farms

Yeti Chocolates


Businesses Featured in Tumbleweed

Tags Custom

Gypsy Lotus

Heirloom Apparel & Design Co

Cactus & Clay

Moon Candles


Norwood

Icicle Brewing

Snowdrift

Huney Jun


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Thank you to our

Emerald Sponsor: 

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We have the incredible opportunity to live in the homelands of the P'Squosa / Wenatchi people. The importance of acknowledging the true history of this land cannot be understated. Thank you to our valley's first stewards. To learn more about this and the Wenatchi Land Back fundraiser, visit WenatchiWear.com.
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Two Bears / Saddle Rock photo by Frank Cone