Ursula Ellis has been making things and selling them since she was in grade school.
The mom of two from Apex has tried all manner of crafting from jewelry making to embroidery and crochet. She's sold her wares at arts and crafts shows such as Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival in Cary and Artsplosure in Raleigh and online at Etsy.com. She's taught a series of very popular art classes in her garage to other women when she was living in her native California. And she's hunted for crafts all over. She's squirreled away business cards of her favorites artists.
And it all eventually led to this: Ellis, with the help of business partners Hope and Geoff Seidel, opened Made in Cary in late November. The store sells unique, handmade items from across the United States. Many of the pieces come from North Carolina crafters. One section of the store is devoted to craft classes, workshops and birthday parties for kids to adults, satisfying Ellis' love of making things with other people.
"This is really an awesome opportunity to invite people to craft with me," Ellis tells me. "I really, truly believe that producing something is the key to happiness."
Having her own shop has been a dream for Ellis since she was a teen. She figured out just exactly what it would look like as she walked through the Renegade Craft Fair in California one year. The traveling indie craft fair has stops in San Francisco, Brooklyn, Austin, Los Angeles, Chicago and London. After crafting all her life, local mom opens up Made
"When I walked through it, I said I need a store like this," she said.
And now that her boys - ages 12 and 15 - are older, she has more time to devote to it. In fact, she tells me, they love helping her in the store.
As she stocks her store, Ellis looks for unique, handcrafted item that are fun and unusual, but also useful. While you'll find decorative pieces here, you'll also find items that you'll actually use - apparel, soaps and lotions, games for kids, jewelry, bags and notebooks are among them. Ellis sells her own adorable crocheted hats.
Some of the items are made by artists she met at craft shows over the years. Many are made with recycled items. Here you'll find clocks made from old records; bags and pillows made from old coffee bags; wallets made from recycled bike tires.
And she aims to make the price point low: Most items are less than $40.
"Everything is constantly changing," Ellis said of her selections.
Ellis recently launched her workshops and classes for kids and adults. She'd love to host birthday parties, baby showers, book clubs, ladies' nights out and more in her space. She hopes to send her students home with the knowledge they need to continue crafting.
"I really want to teach people you can go home and make a million of these," she said. "I want people to think of the possibilities."
Ellis hopes to eventually expand the shop, adding artisanal foods and, at some point, more locations.
"So far," she tells me, "it's been incredible."
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