Why Shop Handmade: Marly Surena-Llorens and Ashley Gries

This series focuses on why our members shop handmade. The intent is to help give reasons to friends, family and fellow makers for why shopping handmade is so important, especially during the holiday season. I hope you will share and enjoy! You can also read the whole series here.

Marly Surena-Llorens of Fenimore and Rutland

Fenimore and Rutland

Allentown, PA

What does shopping local mean to you as a small business owner? What impact does people's choice to shop local make on your life?
I support my local businesses. I truly appreciate an afternoon spent strolling a 'Main St.' In our county, I have 5-6 'Main Sts.' in various towns to select from! Shopping local means I can be unique in my home design or clothing choices.

Shopping local allows you to see more of your community. It increases revitalizing efforts. It makes the community vibrant.

How has running a small business changed your life?
When customers make a decision to purchase from me, they are giving me the ability to continue working from home. I can be more present for my teenager and toddler.

My customers also know their item is found nowhere else.

Ashley Gries of Casa & Co.

Casa & Co.

Madison, Wisconsin

Why is handmade important to you? Why does handmade matter?
I believe that buying handmade connects us to the objects that fill our lives, and creates a deeper connection to them. Hopefully that means that we buy fewer, higher quality items that last a lifetime - reducing our impacts on landfills, while supporting artisans.

Why do you shop handmade for the holidays?
I love telling the story behind each gift, letting the recipient know where it came from, and who made it. I know I'm supporting a fellow creative, and they know how much thought went into it.