We recently had the opportunity to get an interview with Tracy at Unique Creations Artisan Market in Niagara Falls. We have had some product with Tracy, the woman who runs the market, for some time and - since we've started telling stories - asked her for some of hers. From our point of view, the store is definitely a find. There are tons of neat, unique items there and they're from local artisans - what more could you ask for!
What's the story behind how unique creations started? What inspired you to begin?
People always say you should do what you love. I left a job that I was very unhappy at and while trying to come up with something I'd love to do, I came up with this idea.
What's the most fulfilling part about the whole journey?
My grandfather was into woodworking and stained glass as is my mother, along with quilting, knitting, crocheting, sewing, or almost anything else she puts her mind to, so the creative gene is in me. I paint some, but not well enough to make a living at it, so that wasn’t going to be the thing. While on vacation, Tim and I went to an antique barn where there are multiple dealers in one place, and had a great time looking at all the different things. Shortly after we got back it came to me. Why weren’t there stores for all the talented artisans out there to share space and sell what they make? Aside from a craft show once or twice a year, where can you find these people? I ran the idea past Tim, and he liked it. After doing some research, we were shocked to find out there are store like ours out there, just not in our area. We spent the next 6 – 9 months looking for people we felthad quality merchandise who might be interested in this concept, eh voila, Unique Creations Artisan’s Outlet was born.
What have been some of the biggest challenges to overcome on your road to being awesome?
The most fulfilling thing for me is when people come into the store, and love it. It often feels like Christmas to me in here, especially when new product comes in, and it makes me happy when people are as excited about all the things as I am. We deal with so many talented creative people, and it’s fun for me to see what they do.
Having never been in retail before, neither of us realized how hard it is to let people know about the store. I think that has been the most challenging aspect thus far.
Do you have larger plans for the business in the future? Where do you want to be in 3 years?
Ideally our dream is to move to a larger store where we could have more display space. Also it would be great to have room for some of our artisans do workshops for people. What’s better than sharing the things you can do with others who want to learn? Tim enjoys being at the store but can only come in on Saturdays. In the perfect world we’d like to be able to work the store together, and also be able to travel around looking for more talented people to share our space.
What are some of the types of treasures you carry?
We have approximately 80 different artisans represented in the store, so there is a lot to choose from. Among other things, we carry many different types of jewellery, beeswax & soy candles, paintings, photography, glass & woodwork, knitted pieces, and cards for all occasions!
In one word how would you describe the experience at Unique Creations
People who “get” the store seem to enjoy taking their time looking around - which I love - so I’m hoping that people find the experience here enjoyable. It’s a relaxed atmosphere and there’s so much to see, so what’s not to like? :~)
Take a look at Unique Creations or Find them on Portage Rd in Niagara Falls at the Town and County Plaza