Downtown small business owner binds creativity, style
Published: Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 14:08
Walking through downtown Fargo’s newest shop, Unglued, is almost like experiencing a tangible Pinterest. With do-it-yourself craft projects becoming more and more popular, Pinterest offers its online members the chance to share their unique crafts and crafting ideas.
Unglued, however, offers its customers finished crafting projects at affordable prices. Unglued features handcrafted items made by local artists from around the area that look like they leapt right off the Pinterest website.Located at 408 Broadway North, you are sure to find merchandise that is funky, and in some cases, quite funny. The shop’s official grand opening is set for Sept. 6-8, but this has not stopped hoards of customers from stopping in to purchase unique products they will not find anywhere else.
Since unofficially opening its doors on Aug. 7, Unglued has garnered quite the clientele and interest from the Fargo-Moorhead area, including over 1,000 “likes” on their Facebook page.
Some of the merchandise that Unglued carries include: handmade mustache cups, eclectic men’s ties, fun children’s clothes and toys, funky jewelry, modern home décor, vintage kitchenware, wood-turned pens, sarcastic greeting cards, and also screen-printed t-shirts, aprons and dish towels, among other things.
One also cannot miss the decadent and beautifully crafted cupcakes that are baked fresh from a local Fargo bakery, Bakeology. A few flavors that Unglued has featured include chai, strawberry-licous, and gluten-free chocolate peanut butter, which are sure to tease the taste buds.
Unglued also offers its customers the chance to sip a hot cup of coffee while browsing, or they can eat their cupcake and drink their cup of joe at one of the tables located in the back of the shop.
Unglued will soon have wireless Internet access, which will make it a fun area to study and hang out with friends.
The glue holding this downtown shop together is owner Ashley Morken and her husband, Justin. Before Ashley decided to open her own business downtown, it was her love of crafting that paved the way for Unglued.
“A few years ago it kind of began when a group of friends would get together to learn to sew and do crafty things … a couple of them started thinking of selling their stuff,” she said.
A craft fair that Ashley and her friends attended in Des Moines, Iowa inspired her to start a craft fair in Fargo that also featured modern and vintage handmade items. “This is exactly what people are doing in Fargo, but they didn’t have a good venue,” explained Ashley.
She then began asking other crafters around the F-M area if they’d be interested in selling their items at a craft fair that featured their indie, alternative or modern crafts, and the response was overwhelming.
The first craft fair in February 2011 that she helped organize was a huge success with vendors selling their merchandise extremely well.
“The coolest thing was that it wasn’t just focused on one age group or one kind of person that attended; all kinds of people came and were interested in it,” Ashley said.
Although she has been a registered nurse since graduating from UND in 2005, her passion for crafting has led to a full-time job being creative and inspiring others to get creative through Unglued. Now Ashley works per diem as a nurse and is able to devote all of her time to her shop.
“It feels awesome … to be able to finally focus on this has been extraordinary,” she explained.
Even though starting a business may be daunting, Ashley and her husband were, for the most part, confident that a shop like Unglued would be successful in an area like downtown Fargo.
“Just seeing our craft fair, the crafters who were interested in it, and the community’s response to it, we weren’t too afraid to start [Unglued],” she said. “Now we’ll just see how it rides out.”
For those wanting to get creative, Unglued features crafting workshops that teach both children and adults how to create a particular craft. The workshops will be offered four times per month -- two for adults and two for children -- and will be offered on a sign-up basis.
Two workshops they have hosted so far have included a vintage book made into a pencil box and a paper mache deer antler mount. Both workshops filled up way faster than Ashley expected, and there were surprisingly more adults signed up than children.
“We have so many people who come here and say, ‘Oh, I could never make that,’” she explained. “But we always tell those people, ‘You can grab a cup of coffee and a cupcake, make something with a friend and just try it.’”
Morken’s husband Justin, a sound engineer, has been extremely supportive of Ashley’s new business venture and has put in a lot of work making this dream a reality.
“It’s been a huge creative outlet for me,” Justin said. “I just love working with my hands and doing creative things. Now I get to do whatever I want.”
Justin made all of the displays, as well as the front counter, and also painted the ornate designs on the walls.
“He’s learned to do woodworking, pin striping, he set up our sound system, and he’ll actually be selling his own handcrafted stereos,” Ashley said.
Ashley encourages college students to continue pursuing their creativity, even if it does not necessarily pertain to their major.
“Know that these different dreams and things that you aspire to do can totally happen, and they can happen sooner than you think they will,” she said. “But it takes a lot of extra work to do it. We want people to get inspired to be creative when they visit this store.”
Unglued Store Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
If you are interested in selling your crafts at Unglued or apply to sell items at their upcoming craft fairs, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.