“Shop Local” – a loaded phrase. Let me reload it for you, maybe in a more positive light than you’ve seen it before.
To me, shopping local isn’t about disliking Walmart, boycotting Target, or keeping more money away from (blah blah blah.) We all know those reasons. Let me offer you a different perspective.
In Colorado Springs, the locals are, well, brilliant. I don’t think I’m overstating it, but I am prepared to defend my case.
Exhibit A: I stopped into Welcome Fellow one Saturday. The space is designed to be a workshop and collaboration center for anyone with a creative bent and a membership card. Like a home studio, minus all the distractions and plus all the perks.
This day was a Maker’s Market: local creatives setting up shop in Welcome Fellow. The first table was labeled “Deliberate Hands” with a delicate font.
Laura (the owner) has displayed a wide variety of hand-made items. Winter hats, beanies, up-cycled cowls made from old sweatshirts (one of which went home with me), small pouches with bright and beautiful fabric, even jewelry! I could think of an immediate need for every item she had displayed, but I doubted my husband would see it in the same light I did, so I settled for a cowl under the mostly-legitimate guise of Christmas shopping.
Quite honestly, I think any of those items would make a much better souvenir than a classic Colorado-themed hat or shirt. A local, handmade winter hat designed to withstand the chills of January versus a classic Colorado stocking cap (with which you look like every other Colorado vacationer)… there’s no contest in my mind!
The second table I visited was strictly jewelry. Bri created earrings, bracelets, rings, and necklaces. Most of the jewelry was brass, some had silver accents. Many were strange, new designs – unlike anything I’d seen in stores before. There were square rings, surprisingly comfortable actually. (She kindly allowed me to try them on.)
“They’re great for layering,” she explained, displaying a hand with several tastefully layered rings.
I give bonus points for displaying them with such a lovely amethyst.
The bracelets were especially captivating. Although they were brass, there were copper highlights, but no visible blending of metals that I could see. I asked about them, and she responded,
“Well, when I heat the brass to mold and shape it, the copper alloy rises to the surface of the metal. It takes a lot of polishing to recover the brassy color, and I like to leave the copper accents in some places.”
Secondly, Exhibit B:
I visited a Farm and Art market in downtown Colorado Springs just a few days ago, and discovered the shop Nikki Stitch!
Nikki enthusiastically filled me in on all her for-sale art. She displayed wool she’d carded, spun and dyed, apparel and accessories, and even natural, homemade skin ointments. Her display only reinforced her artistic skills, and she proved exceptionally knowledgeable in all her work, even with the wide variety of products!
If you’re the vacationer who loves shopping, definitely research the local shops first! Sure, there’re malls and outlet stores. But treat yourself or your friends to a handmade gift! You’ll love the experiences, enjoy great conversations, find beautiful, innovative styles, and discover that our Colorado creatives have something for everyone.
Plus, pro-tip, our cottages are equipped with local insights, restaurant guides, shops, etc. If you want to skip out on the research, just book our cottages and let us point you in all the best directions! Ok, basically anywhere in downtown Colorado Springs. Maybe that’s half the motivation for opening our cottages so close to the downtown area… You’ll never know unless you visit!