The internet is full of clothing, home decor, and gifts. It can be difficult, in their ideally framed pictures on your computer screen, to see them as anything more than just that: beyond reach, in some magical land where everything is intangible and perfect. But what if I told you that there is a place in Minnesota which brings all of these Pinterest-perfect ideas come to life, teaches classes on how to make such amazing goodies, and, to top it all off, supports a handful of amazing charities ranging from cancer research to helping the impoverished in Haiti?
Gathered Goods Company in Tonka Bay is just that. Owners Tara and Nicole met at a craft fair about two years ago and opened their doors on Mother’s Day of this year, creating an incredible store for shopping locally, supporting great causes, DIY classes, and even private parties. Thirty five local Minnesota vendors display their goods there.
I would be remiss not to give you a little sampling of some of the vendors and their wares, so here are a few spotlights:
Scott at Skyline Specs is a student at University of St. Thomas, and he originally started his sunglasses company as a business project for an entrepreneur course. Each pair of Scott’s sunglasses is etched with the skyline of Minneapolis, so you can represent your hometown in a fun and unique way. Scott has recently expanded his business to include a few other cities’ skylines as well, so if you’re not from the area or just want to have a little bit of LA in your accessories, you’ve got some options. Through opportunities like Gathered Goods Company, the sky is indeed the limit for this young entrepreneur. (I couldn’t resist!)
Sissi & Co.
A vendor that does a little extra good is Sissi & Co. Sissi & Co. has a knack for coming up with fun sayings to print onto water bottles, shirts, mugs, and even paper napkins and stationary. Fifty percent of the proceeds from their “Keep on keepin’ on” water bottle goes toward cancer research, as that was the mantra of the company founder’s late father who passed away from cancer a few years ago. Bonus: You get a bracelet and a bookmark with the phrase on it with every purchase!
Uplift A Box
Uplift A Box is the true trifecta of everything Gathered Goods Company is about: You can bring home one of their boxes premade or create your own in a class, and for every box purchased (or made), another one is given to a woman at a safehouse in St. Paul. The box may include goodies such as painted coasters, key chains, and zippered bags. They make great graduation or bridesmaid gifts for those looking to give something a little more meaningful than a traditional gift.
Gathered Goods Company also offers a fabulous and unique selection of clothing for both men and women. Sarah at Minnesota Made in Stillwater makes the wildly popular screen printed shirts you see on all those trendy people you wish you could be like. Each of her shirts comes with a hidden message at the bottom of the shirt! A new arrival to the clothing scene is a company called Lena Pauline, run by a fourth generation seamstress who specializes in one-of-a-kind dresses made with upcycled materials.
The space at the back of the store is a beautifully designed open area for classes. Each class offers a fun, intimate opportunity to discover something new, and refreshments are provided as well. The space is also available for booking private parties, and a customized class is a perfect event for a bachelorette party or a night out with friends. You can see the full class schedule and sign up on their website GatheredGoodsCompany.com.
We all love shopping locally, and Gathered Goods Company loves selling locally. Through the ingenuity and entrepreneurship of Tara and Nicole and some amazing vendors, this is a wonderful one-stop shop for everything home, clothes, and lifestyle.
By Whitney Grindberg