The Handmade Promenade Holiday Pop-Up Shop on Mass Ave. will return, but to a new location beginning tomorrow (Nov. 21st and run through Dec. 28th). From jewelry, clothing and candles to soaps and a host of other clever gift items, all the merchandise sold will be handmade by local, regional and national artists.
"The Handmade Promenade Holiday Pop-Up Shop is excited to give local artists a unique brick-and-mortar location to sell their handmade goods for the holidays," Founder Martha Latta says.
The establishment at 753 Mass Ave. is Latta's full-time job.
She began selling her own handmade jewelry at various craft fairs seven years ago. But she learned in fairly short order that she wasn't the only jewelry-maker at the holiday craft shows. Competition remains tough, so she found another creative outlet with fewer vendors vying for a piece of the pie. Now Latta sells her own line of silkscreen T-shirts.
"I'm lucky that I have the support from my husband ... and the support of those people buying my clothes to be able to do it," Latta says.
This holiday pop-up shop began in 2010 with about 35 vendors. Now, it features the works of more than twice that many creative folks.
"I know that it's successful for the artists," Latta says. "It's one of those things where I want to keep doing that for them, because it's their livelihoods and their income too."
She says the shop will feature fare that appeals to people of all ages, but the biggest draw remains the handcrafted factor of the goods.
The Onyx Exchange will return for its fourth year. Its co-owners Shan Parker and Jarod Wilson will offer their handmade soy-wax candles and other products.
Parker encourages shoppers to consider buying handmade items during the holidays for one-of-a-kind gift items you can't find anywhere else.
"It's better than going to Walmart and buying someone a toaster," Parker says. "It's good to get people functional things, but it's good to have something unique, too."
Other vendors on the roster this year include Lucky Duck Designs and Fatty Frog Pots, to name a couple.
Jamie Fahrner and husband have been customers of the pop-up shop since it began. She says the shop is unique because it's only open for the holiday season and some merchandise is not typically available year-round.
"We really like to support people who support themselves through art," she says.
Latta strives to create a warm and fun experience for all shoppers. Her effort does not go unnoticed.
"There's Christmas lights hanging and there's usually Christmas music playing," Fahrner says. "It never feels like a hustle, bustle -- it always feels really relaxed." And she says it helps that Latta's usually on hand to talk to you about the different artists. "It feels like a very personal experience," Fahrner adds.
Latta describes the shop as laid-back, much like her own personality. "I love giving recommendations and helping people find the right gifts, but I don't like to feel like I'm getting in people's faces," Latta says.
Gift items range in price from $1 to $125. And between Nov. 21st and Dec. 28th, Handmade Promenade will host several events for consumers throughout the holiday season. One of those includes Small Business Saturday, which encourages everyone to shop local and support local merchants.
The first 50 customers to purchase goods on this day will receive a complimentary "swag-bag" filled with jewelry, soap, lotions, buttons and more as a token of appreciation for supporting handmade vendors.
"People like it so much that they line up outside the doors before we open that morning to get those bags," Latta says.
Other events include Ladies Night Out, Guys Night Out and a Meet the Artists Night Out. And for the four-legged family members, Latta reminds that the store is also dog-friendly.For store hours and additional details, check out the shop's website atwww.handmadepromenade.com