This nonprofit hosts everything from pop-up shops to workshops for all things yarn.
Editor’s note: Where you spend your dollar during the pandemic counts. The ‘Gander is featuring unique, independently-owned shops across Michigan, sharing their stories of struggle and triumph during COVID-19 and what you can expect when you support these local businesses. We hope you keep them in mind for Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28 and throughout the holiday season.
MICHIGAN—Flint Handmade is focused on two things: inspiring creativity and supporting local artisans.
“It’s my personal belief that all people are creative, and that one way we express our humanity is our creativity,” said Crystal Pepperdine, founder and executive director. “Everyone should have access to that.”
A visit to a craft fair in Detroit affirmed these beliefs, and Pepperdine knew the people of Flint deserved the opportunity to enjoy local art, too. She saw the possibilities to bring a modern craft fair to Flint, and that’s exactly what she did.
In many ways, modern day artisans find more inspiration from pop culture and technology than ever before. They have transcended the classic, country style and created something of their own that resonates with people of all ages. With Flint Handmade, everyone is encouraged to find and explore their own styles and artisans’ work is celebrated.
Beginning in 2007 and starting full-time in 2016, Flint Handmade hosted pop-up shops, workshops, craft supply drops, and more. As a non-profit organization, volunteers are the heart and soul of the Flint Handmade.
Together with Pepperdine, they have been able to accomplish so much. Before the pandemic, Flint Handmade was hosting two to four events every week. These events were held at local businesses and excelled at bringing the community together. Patrons were able to shop locally, inspire their own creativity, and give back in creative ways.
With the support of volunteers, The Yarn Brigade and their “Operation: Warm Up Flint,” knits hats, scarves, and ear warmers for the community. The winter weather gear is placed all over Flint along with a sweet note encouraging anyone who is cold to claim it.
On fence railings, on tree branches, near local shelters, the hand knitted pieces are up for grabs. Luckily, this mission has been able to endure the pandemic. With virtual knitting parties and masked up distribution, the Yarn Brigade has continued to supply warmth and support to the community.
All are welcome to donate their pre-made winter apparel or join the group during their weekly zoom calls. With some more innovative projects, Flint Handmade has found other ways to support the community during the pandemic.
Since the beginning, Flint Handmade’s biggest concern has been the safety of their members and volunteers. Everyone misses the pop-up shops, craft swaps, workshops, and events, but, even though they have been canceled, the community remains.
There are still so many ways to support local artisans and Flint Handmade. Everyone is encouraged to stay connected on Facebook and check Flint Handmade’s website for updates. Until then, Flint Handmade’s website provides a fast and easy way to shop and discover local artisans in the community.
Their website offers gift guides, information on local artists, simple ordering, and affordable shipping.
In fact, Flint Handmade even provides contactless porch delivery to members of the community. This commitment to local artisans provided them with much needed business during these hard times, and Pepperdine hopes highlighting their work will continue to inspire others to create.
See for yourself how Flint Handmade inspires creativity by visiting flinthandmade.org.