Thursday, March 22, 2012

Local Spotlight - Made

 (To read my full interview and review on Made, follow this link.)
Made, a relatively new shop located on Massachusetts Street in Lawrence, Kan, specializes in the selling of handmade products. The shop is home to a slew of different wares that have been created by various artisans from all regions of the country. Made is to handmade goods what Sephora is to beauty products. Essentially, the shop makes it easier for consumers to browse items from several different sellers from one central location. One could consider Made to be like a brick-and-mortar Etsy store.

I was a fan of Made before I even stepped into the store (the window display had me at hello) but once inside, I was completely sold. The layout is inviting, as goods are displayed on tables as well as in cabinets, hanging from shelves and grouped into nooks as crannies. This lent the space a personal feel, as I kept picking up one-of-a-kind pieces and felt like a treasure hunter (I'll cue you when I find the Holy Grail). Owners Matt and Jennifer Richards are very welcoming and personally greet each guest that walks into Made. I talked with them for about five minutes, asking which products sold the fastest and how they chose which artists to represent in the store. When I expressed that there were a few artists on Etsy that I thought would be great fits for Made, Matt and Jennifer passed me their business card and told me to e-mail them a list and they'd do a little research on the artists I referred.
*A day later I sent the two a list of said artists, and they promptly replied back. Double points for customer service go to Matt and Jennifer.


One unfortunate aspect of Etsy is that, just like other e-commerce sites, potential customers can't smell, taste, or feel products that are for sale on those sites. Even though I like the sound of a 'Pear Toffee' candle or 'Lemon Honey Chocolate Chip' cookie mix, rarely do I make a purchase without having tested it first. 

This is where Made comes in to close that gap. For instance, Made carries a line of candles called PurBliss that are 100% veggie soy candles with the most enticing names, such as Rainy Day Bliss, Good Night Kiss, Orange Cream Bliss, etc. These sound great, but if I had merely glimpsed them while browsing online, they would become simply a passing thought. But while in store, I smelled the Banana Bread Bliss candle and the Pumpkin Spice Bliss candle and wasthisclose to taking a bite out of each of them, so spot-on were the scents. 
When I told Jennifer about my candle-sniffing experience, she said that the tangible aspect of 'trying-out' these products was what prompted her to open the store. She agreed that being unable to get a grasp of what exactly a product offered before buying it did deter many people from purchasing, and Made provides a nice alternative to that. 

 You can spot the PurBliss candles, above and below, scattered throughout the store. I loved that they weren't in just one central location, as it was a treat to find a new scent every time I meandered to a new section of the shop.

 I am also a huge fan of the greeting card lines that Made carries, as they don't offer aren't the normal, cheesy sayings that are so often found in the Targets, Walgreens and Wal-Marts of the world.
Sycamore Street Press paperie, in particular, has two hilarious offering from it's card line. 
One says, "Nobody puts baby in a corner. Seriously, though. It's called neglect." 
The other, "I would trade two of my other friends for you."
Witty and to the point. I dig it.

Overall, Made is a great little store with friendly and helpful owners at its helm. Should you be in the Lawrence area, definitely make a point to stop in, browse and say hello to Matt and Jennifer.

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