One of the best parts of Portland is how strongly we support and connect with businesses in the area, and how we want to support individual entrepreneurs in their long-term business endeavors! Perhaps one of the best ways to bring a group of amazingly talented people together is through art, and my guests this week on the PDX Small Business Network Podcast understand that sentiment far too well.
Torie and Cathy are founders and co-owners of the incredible Crafty Wonderland! Located in downtown Portland, Crafty Wonderland is an amazing store that sells handmade goods from Portland-area artists. Additionally, Crafty Wonderland also hosts a large craft convention 2 times a year—once in the spring, and once in the winter, just in time for the holidays! Together, Torie and Cathy tell me about how they got started, how their businesses grew, and what you can expect when you attend their craft convention. Let’s get started!
IN THIS EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN:
- All about Torie and Cathy’s amazing retail store! As stated above, Crafty Wonderland is a store that sells the handmade good of local Portland artists, which includes things like jewelry, art prints, original art, clothing, body care, stationery, and so much more. The store works off of consignment, so when you purchase something, you’re supporting one of 200 local artists and their amazing work! Make sure you stop by for a visit — they’re open Monday thru Saturday from 10 – 6, and Sunday from 11 – 6.
- Torie and Cathy talk about how Crafty Wonderland got started, stating that it was meant to be a temporary pop-up shop in the beginning! They ended up enjoying themselves more than they thought they would, however, and now, the store is a permanent fixture in the downtown Portland area. They’ve been open for just about 8 years! In addition to their retail store, they also have an online store that sells products from their brick and mortar store, giving tourists a way to take some of Portland home with them!
- Torie and Cathy explain the process of how to become a vendor in the store. First and foremost, it’s important to know that the store itself is rather full, so being accepted is a small change. However, they do have a submissions page on their website, and there’s nothing wrong with tossing your name into the ring! Mainly, they required that you live in the Portland-Metro area and that the items you want to sell are handmade by either yourself or a team of people who work with you locally.
- Torie and Cathy talk to us about their holiday craft market! This year, the show is going live from December 7th – December 9th. Since their holiday craft market is usually bustling with foot traffic, they’ve added a third day to help people have more options when visiting and to smooth things out. The first Friday night of the convention is a ticketed only event for people who want to get in and get their first pick of what they want. To get more information on things like this, Cathy and Torie suggest you sign up for their mailing list, that way you can be the first to know!
- Torie and Cathy tell us how they pick vendors for their craft fair events! It’s a lot less selective, and they open the floor to anyone living anywhere, not just local Portland artists. There’s a 2 week application period, and when it’s over, they review the applications together to pick a good mix of items. They also have a pretty specific aesthetic that they like to adhere to, so keeping with that is important. They want nice quality products and enjoy seeing new things, and new takes on old things. For the holiday show, in particular, they like things that make nice gifts for anyone in the family.
- Saturday and Sunday are free to the public and open from 11 – 6! Torie and Cathy explain, however, that they usually pack the Oregon Convention Center, so it’s best to get there as soon as you can! They also explain the food situation, stating that the convention center has their own food they provide (concession type of food), so they aren’t allowed to have outside food vendors. However, there are some craft vendors that sell pre-made packaged goods, like chocolates or cookies!
- Cathy and Torie tell us the origin of the craft fair, stating that they both met through various craft fairs themselves! After traveling to other fairs together, they realized that Portland needed an indoor venue for a craft convention, with how unpredictable the weather can be. So, they decided to start one to give their friends a place to sell things, and it became a monthly craft fair in 2006. They rotated vendors to keep things fresh, and as it gained popularity, it formed into what it is now! 2 amazing craft fairs twice a year.
- In these craft fairs, Torie and Cathy tell us about the kids area! It’s for children of the vendors and works on a first come first serve basis. Participating vendors can sign their children up to sell their own crafts—from things like jewelry, art prints, candles, planters, and more! Cathy and Torie also explain that, with every passing year, the goods that the children make are of a better and more professional quality! (Signing your child up for their own booth does not cost money.) Additionally, there’s an amazing DIY booth (sponsored by an awesome locally owned art and craft supply store in Portland), where you can make a craft for free, and bring it home with you!
- Lastly, Cathy and Torie talk to me about the way money is handled. Each vendor at the craft fair takes their own payment, so it’s suggested that you bring a lot of cash! A lot of booths nowadays will take cards, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. The retail store, however, will take any form of legal tender. Since most of the shop is also on consignment, Cathy and Torie take the payment up front and will send out total profits to the sellers every couple of months.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Crafty Wonderland
- Online Store
- Brick and Mortar Store
- Holiday Craft Fair
- Vendor Submission Page
Did Cathy and Torie not get to answer a burning question on your mind? No problem! You can get ahold of them through here, or at any of the social media links listed above. With how amazing homemade goods are, and how dedicated Cathy and Torie are to the strong support of local artists, it makes complete sense that their annual Holiday Craft Fair is such a hit! Mark the dates down in your calendars and make sure you give them a visit!
Crafty Wonderland Portland in Pictures: