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
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
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