Editor’s note: Startland News explored Shop Local KC in Midtown as part of the newsroom’s five-part holiday gift guide that highlights locally owned shops and the makers within them. The items identified here were curated by Katie Mabry van Dieren, the founder of Shop Local KC the Strawberry Swing Indie Craft Fair. Featured stores, makers and products were not asked to pay to be included in this series. Click here to follow along with the multi-day gift guide as it develops.
As Katie Mabry van Dieren looked around her colorful, lively shop, she smiled — recalling memories of the makers who fill Shop Local KC with their goods.
“I cherish the treasures I’ve gotten from the people who’ve made them. That is what’s so special and important about shopping locally. It builds a stronger community and connects you to those around you,” shared Mabry van Dieren, the founder of Shop Local KC.
Click here to read about Katie Mabry van Dieren’s journey to opening Shop Local KC.
In June, Mabry van Dieren opened the brick-and-mortar Shop Local KC storefront as an extension of her online marketplace of local goods. Shop Local KC’s curated online marketplace boasts about 300 vendors, with 75 of those vendors finding a home within the shop’s physical location.
“It’s very difficult for me to choose what goes in the store, so I had to figure out a system,” Mabry van Dieren said, noting the substantial talent in Kansas City. “All makers have to apply to be on my website — I don’t do any sales on there; it’s a direct link to their site — and then I choose what I think will do well in the store.”
Through the Shop Local KC site and store — as well as the Strawberry Swing Indie Craft Fair she founded in 2011 — Mabry van Dieren has met hundreds of local makers, she noted.
“I literally have the best job ever,” Mabry van Dieren raved. “… I know there’s those memes that go around that say, ‘When you shop small, someone does a happy dance,’ and they really do. It pays for their kids’ ballet lessons or for them to expand or just everyday necessities. Gifts are meant to make the people who we care about feel good, so why not spread that feeling to the local makers as well?”
Along with benefiting local community members, shopping small also benefits the environment, Mabry van Dieren added.
“[When you shop local], you’re not using trains and planes and cars to ship big boxes everywhere,” she explained. “So not only are your dollars staying local, but you’re omitting a lot less pollution by shopping through your neighbors.”
Shop Local KC is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.
Five local finds at Shop Local KC
Human Tee by Civic Saint — $42
Look stylish while also doing good. All proceeds from Civic Saint, founded by Godfrey Riddle, go toward advancing racial and social equity.
Muddler and Cocktail Kit by Good Bitter Best — $32 for both ($12 muddler + $22 kit)
Make home bartending easy with the Good Bitter Best muddler and cocktail kit. Whether you’re shopping for a professional mixologist or first time bartender, these kits — created by Jennifer Agnew — are set to spark their imagination.
Available in store. Click here to shop Good Bitter Best online.
DIY Dried Flower Bouquet — $1.50 per stem
Build a one-of-a-kind bouquet with your loved one’s favorite flowers and colors. Mabry van Dieren shares her passion for floral arrangements with all who want to learn.
Available in store.
Magnetic Joint Dinosaurs by Detour Goods— $18-$100
Ditch the plastic toys for Detour Goods’ wooden dinosaurs. Brent Eudaly carefully crafts each sculpture by hand, intentionally incorporating sustainable practices into the business he runs with his wife, Jordan.
Polymer Clay Rainbow Earrings by Tucker & Scout — $40
The forecast will always call for rainbows in these Tucker & Scout clay earrings. Created by Melissa Padavic, these earrings are sure to brighten the day of whoever puts them on.
Available in store. Click here to shop Tucker and Scout online.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.