My friend sent me a link to a new shop that opened in south St. Louis, the Upcycle Exchange. It employs a new business model - you name your price for upcycled craft supplies, yarn, fabric, notions, scrapbooking supplies, art supplies, crafty books, magazines and more. Items for sale have been donated at the shop or at one of many indie craft establishments in the area. You pick the items you want and enter the price you want to pay in the store's Square-based checkout system. And 10% of the proceeds benefit a different local charity each month.
Autumn Wiggins, a St. Louis indie craft rock star and founder of the Strange Folk Festival, opened the shop in 2009. The open structure pricing model has proven to be sustainable and Wiggins is meeting and exceeding her overhead costs. There are already plans to open Upcycle Exchanges in Detroit and other cities.
And can we just say, how much fun it is to shop here? Autumn has a real eye for merchandising and terrific storage ideas. She used ordinary storage bins and jars, then painted a patch of chalkboard paint on them for easy labeling. Everything is stored in Ikea units and the place has a cool combination vibe of modern and pressed-tin-ceiling vintage.
There is such a huge variety of materials I had to stop myself and focus on key items I needed. Since I love to dabble in so many different crafts, it would have been sooo easy to go overboard.
My stash from today's visit included:
- 3 hanks of handspun alpaca/wool blend yarn
- Buttons (for seat belt cozies)
- Fresh water pearl beads
- Cotton crochet thread
- Buttons for softie cat eyes
- Scrapbook paper in basic colors
- Wine corks (for mulling spices gifts)
Now it's time to get busy and use some of this stash to start on Christmas goodies!