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Artisan co-op storefront celebrates one year in business

It has grown from 12 vendors to 23
A full range of talent from Houston artisans is on display at the Houston Made Artisan Cooperative. (Laura Blackwell/Houston Today)

It’s been a year of growth for the Houston Made Artisan Cooperative, a storefront on Tenth Street where, as the name of the business suggests, local artists band together to sell their merchandise.

And even the first day of business on Nov. 21, 2021 itself represents growth, notes the artisan who generated the spark for the enterprise.

“The farmers markets were coming to an end and I felt a strong need for a store in our community,” said Tarey Walles from Tarey’s Essentials which markets toxin-free and chemical-free beauty, body, home and pet products.

“In talking with a friend of mine, she also had the same idea so I decided to reach out to the community on social media and canvas other artisans about the need for a store.”

That resulted in enough interest that a search for a location began, leading the artisans to Tenth Street.

“We started with 12 artisans and now have 23,” said Walles of artisan interest and consumer demand.

She admits the group faced unexpected challenges but that having a board of directors has given the artisans a focus point for discussing issues as they arise and then solutions.

While the artisans concentrate on their products as individuals, the cooperative structure ensures the business end of things runs well.

“We have full space vendors (larger display), part space vendors (smaller display) and commission vendors,” said Walles.

“The rent is divided among the full and part space vendors and the commission vendors help to lower the cost of the rent.”

Full space vendors volunteer to run the store four hours each week and part space vendors volunteer two hours per week. Insurance, internet, store supplies and internet-based cash register fees are shared.

Above all, Walles said the storefront has given the artisans more exposure not just to locals but to tourists and other people passing through the community.

“I know for my business it has definitely helped me to adapt and increase my product line to what the community is needing/looking for,” she added.

“All of our artisans are so incredibly talented and everyone just keeps creating more and expanding their product lines. The more people purchase, the more we create.”

Maureen ….. from the Houston and District Chamber of Commerce lauds the cooperative for its initiative in establishing a presence in the downtown core.

“It is an amazing addition to our community. Giving the homebased businesses storefront access increases their visibility. It has been a great addition to the downtown area,” she said.

With one year behind them, the cooperative is working on diversifying into into local food products and has a list of local food producers interested in joining.

But first the cooperative must navigate its way through the various licensing requirements of the Northern Health Authority, Walles said.

Here’s a list of the vendors:

Tarey Walles - Tarey’s Essentials

Tom Miedema - Black Mountain Forge

Candis Stumpf - Dainty Little Hearts

Shannon Hatch - Wild North Designs

Annette Berry

Natasha Ponte - Bath & Body & Natasha

Cathy Timms - Chalk on 15th

Regina Meints - The View from Here

Evelyn Miedema - Scissors & Lace

Bryanne White - Wildroots Flowers & Gifts

Marlee Johnson - Jeweled Strands

Greg Leblanc - Scotty’s Soaps

Sheryl Campbell - Living Off the Cuff

Claudia & Ezekiel Pavon - Clover Field Apiaries

Christina Bucci - Forest & Fern Pottery

Kate Murphy - Columbia Valley Lavender

Ankeeta & Nicholas Kitras - Playful Flame Glassworks

Sheldon Waldie

Chloe Hatch - Shoreline Knotted Designs

Candice Siemens - Soft & Sweet Felts

Anneh Kessels - Willow Bender Baskets

Nicole Connolly - Niggly’s Whimsical Wood

Hannah Dielman - Earth Angel Armour

Carrie Stump - Pine & Valley

About the Author: Rod Link

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