Craft sales have gone from homely to hipster in Winnipeg

Caitlin Schlamb-Sikora’s best-seller includes the phrase, “Please don’t do coke in the bathroom.” THE PROJECTOR/ Madelaine Lapointe

Caitlin Schlamb-Sikora’s best-seller includes the phrase, “Please don’t do coke in the bathroom.” THE PROJECTOR/ Madelaine Lapointe

Craft sales have evolved from being a place to purchase gaudy cat ornaments to a place to purchase the hottest trends of the season.

While stores begin to fill up with Christmas jingles and crowds of frantic shoppers, more and more people are seeing craft sales as a one-stop-shop.

“Crafts have become a lot more modern,” said Amanda Reimer, a member of the Winnipeg Etsy Street Team. “There are far less Tupperware sales, and now crochet items have neon colours and modern designs.”

Reimer adds, “when I shop for Christmas, I have some rules — it has to be handmade or vintage.”

Shopping local and handmade are some of the most important aspects to buyers when it comes to looking for that one of a kind gift.

“It’s a nice thing to be able to say ‘I really thought hard about this gift and I met the person who made it,’” said Reimer. “It makes your gift more personal.”

Winnipeg is hosting several craft sales this holiday season in support of Craft Year 2015, a nation-wide initiative that promotes craft as a crucial part of Canadian culture.



“It really helps support our local economy,” said Ruth Smith, owner of Periwinkle Dzyns and captain of the local Winnipeg Etsy Street Team. “When you spend money with a local vendor, over 70 per cent of your dollar stays in the community. But when you spend at a big box store, it’s under 30 per cent.”

Craft sale customers value buying items from the artists themselves, according to Smith. They make an effort to shop locally as often as possible, especially around the Christmas season.

“When we started doing these sales four years ago, we had a little over 200 people attend,” said Smith. “Now we expect at least 1,500 people through the door, if not more.”

Winnipeg has more craft sales planned before Christmas day. In November, there’s the Signatures Craft Show and Sale at the RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre from Nov. 19 to 22, as well as THIRD + BIRD Christmas Market at the Winnipeg Centre Vineyard Church from Nov. 27 to 28.

The Winnipeg Art Gallery held CRAFTED Show + Sale earlier this month. Joyce Berry, co- chair of the show said she’s thrilled Winnipeg recognizes the importance of crafts and the artists behind them.

“The gift of a handmade item comes with the love and the care of the maker,” said Berry.