Retail Tour – Urban Emporium

Main Street has become unanimous with small run retail shops which represent the best of what America has to offer. So it’s safe to say that Urban Emporium, a local handmade boutique located in the heart of Bexley and found on Main Street, reflects those same values and ideals.

Named for it’s proximity to downtown Columbus and carrying the work of over 100 artists, most of those local to the Columbus area, Urban Emporium is especially unique in that it has 4 shop owners. Four dynamic women co-own this boutique and split their roles within the business. All makers themselves, Becky Brisker, Jen Roy , Aimée Re and Kelly Blanton, offer handmade within the heart of their neighborhood.

While customers can find a wide assortment of uniquely crafted items their top sellers are t-shirts, jewelry, and home decor, we spoke with Aimée Re to learn more about what makes the shop special.

How did the 4 of you come together to open a handmade market and what roles do you each play within the business?

We had all met previously from doing artisan shows with our individual businesses. In 2013, When Becky tested the downtown market with a pop-up store, we were all a part of it. Then when she opened State & Third we continued on as vendors. I think she saw us all as conscientious vendors who stayed on top of our businesses and had good sales record, so when she wanted to open another store, she thought of partnering with us.

Jen , Aimée and Kelly spend time working at UE since Becky is working at her store. We have managed to divide work in a way that came naturally because of our interests, likes and dislikes, and strengths. Here’s just a few examples of what we do:  Becky handles accounting. Kelly does website work, newsletters, and some social media, –she’s also the writing expert in the group. Aimée does most social media, and store cleaning. Jen is exceptionally good at doing store displays, and is our resident green thumb, and is one of the only people I know who doesn’t hate going to the bank! We all work together to curate our collection of handmade items.

How are you involved with your local neighborhood?

We are all very invested in the Bexley community. The four of us have lived in Bexley for over 45 years combined. Many of our customers we interact with outside of our store and that is special to us. Besides donating to various organizations, our store has also been a drop-off location for a diaper drive, set up a make-shift store to give prom dresses to those in need, and has hosted a fundraiser for Headbands for Hunger.

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How do you prefer vendors contact you about selling their handmade goods in your store? Interested vendors should go to our website at www.shopurbanemporium.com and fill out a vendor application. They should make sure to attach photos with the retail prices of their products.

What makes your shop different from other handmade shops?

One thing that sets us apart is that we are owned by artists whose work is represented in the store. Customers have a chance to meet the maker and often get to see us working on our craft in the store. We have hand-picked everything in our store and many items from coasters, to jewelry and artwork can be customized. Our customer service is excellent and we excel in coming up with ideas for gifts. We are always looking for more ways to meet our customers’ needs. The four of us owners all have Arts-related degrees and a deep knowledge base on our products and what goes into making them.

Lastly, what’s up and coming for Urban Emporium?

This spring we will be introducing a few class offerings for groups, collaborating on new products, and introducing new artisans to the community.

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Urban Emporium is located at 2260 E Main St, Bexley, OH 43209

Megan Green is a hard core maker, who continues to bring a highly curated selection of handmade goods to her hometown of Columbus, Ohio and through her organization of Craftin’ Outlaws. Megan is also the owner ofStinkybomb Soap, co-organizer of Midwest Craft Con, mother of two, wife to one and lover of all things craft related.

Visit, www.craftinoutlaws.com to learn more about the longest running alternate craft fair om town. 

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