‘Look What I Made’ store is new to Blue Earth
Monica Ann Urban does not believe in the word competition when it comes to describing other local Blue Earth businesses.
“I really look at it like we are all on the same team and helping the community as a whole. I even have business cards for the other stores right in my shop,” she says. “But, what I’m doing is different than what everyone else has going on.”
Urban opened her doors of “Look What I Made” on June 7.
However, this isn’t Urban’s first time in Blue Earth. Her grandparents, Leonard and Vera Urban, used to be the owners of the 220 Cafe from 1970-1989.
“I was really young, but we came to Blue Earth from the Twin Cities for some holidays to see my grandma and grandpa,” Urban says.
Urban moved to Blue Earth in October of 2012, but moved back to the Twin Cities a short time after. But now, she moved back to Blue Earth again last April to help out with her grandma.
Her newly opened store on Main Street has many unique attributes, according to Urban.
Urban has a kids’ section called “look what my kid made.” Anyone in elementary school who does a project by themselves can bring it into the store and have Urban sell it.
“The kids, however, do not need to pay rent. Any child can come in and sell their art project and they receive all the profit,” Urban explains. “My kids love to do projects and I figured there are other children out there who love to make arts and crafts so I really wanted to dedicate a section of the store to young crafters.”
The only reason Urban would turn down a kid would be lack of space or if their quality of work was the same as one of her crafters.
“My crafters are paying rent and I have to give them priority over the kids, who I don’t charge,” she explains. “I would recommend if a child does have that level of skill to become a crafter and start paying rent like the others.”
She has 15 crafters/artists who rent space in her store. They pay $25 per month.
“That was the same rate I was given when I first arrived in Blue Earth in 2012,” she says. “I was walking around at the Holiday Sampler and met with Lisa Krosch, who at the time owned the building and Lisa’s Custom Sewing and Crafts. Since my website wasn’t doing well with sales, I was given the opportunity to sell at her store. Lisa, the former renter of the building, left me some display cases. She really was a fantastic mentor for me.”
Of the 15 renters, 13 of them are local. Urban encourages people of all ages to do what they love.
“I have a crafter who makes jewelry and she is only 14,” Urban says. “I also have two teenage painters.”
Urban herself specializes in making hair accessories.
“I started making accessories because my daughter has the most beautiful curly hair,” she jokes. “I never thought it would become a business, but I got really good at making flower clips, hair binders and hair bands.”
Everything in the store is hand made, according to Urban. The store includes everything from jewelry to paintings.
Urban’s kids (Serena, 9, and TJ, 8) both make bracelets and contribute to the store as well.
According to Urban, she was trying to build a business she was passionate for.
“I knew at first I couldn’t pay the rent on my own, but the $25 I receive from my artists goes towards the rent,” she says.
Urban also sells rugs and fire starters from STEP, Inc. (Support, Training and Employment for People with Disabilities).
“They are a fantastic organization,” Urban says. “They do awesome things and change lives on a daily basis. I don’t charge anything for them to sell with me.”
Urban also started classes last week.
“Classes are for everyone, not just kids,” Urban explains. “Each jewelry making art class ranges from $1-$10 based on what craft we end up doing. Class times can be looked up on our Facebook page.”
According to Urban, things are going amazingly well right now.
“The business seems to be blossoming,” she says. “We will be starting an online store and accepting credit cards soon, too. I receive an average of four crafters per week contacting me about renting space in my store.”
Urban is honored to be on the same street as her grandparents business once was as well.
“My goal is to have every crafter/artist to be local,” Urban says. “I really feel like I am helping the community just like everyone else on Main Street. I know what I’m doing is a good thing. Everybody should support their local community.”