Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Heart and Soul of Penelope Lane Boutique

As we are getting ready for our 16th Penelope Lane Boutique which will be held on June 7th, I (Nancy) was pondering where we are now, and where we started in this fun handmade market journey.

 I remember as a young girl, painting rocks to be used as paper weights, and decoupaging big, empty ice cream tubs from the local ice cream store in our neighborhood to create colorful waste baskets, and then selling them at the local park by my house. I have always loved creating new things and playing “store.”

Penelope Lane Boutique had humble beginnings five years ago. Sarah had been creating and selling darling hair accessories in a little business she named Little Penelope Lane. She asked me if we could open our home to allow her and a few of her friends to sell their crafts.

So, we moved ALL of the furniture out of the downstairs of my home, and had a dozen or so friends come in to sell their handmade wares.

We had one little check-out station at our front door, using handmade signs to point the way to our boutique. We did this for three shows (see photos here), until my kind hubby said…no more moving the furniture out!

So we moved to a larger location at the Marriott on Katella Avenue in Los Alamitos, and invited about 30 vendors there. 

 We swiftly outgrow that lovely venue, and moved to the Old Ranch Country Club. Initially, we only needed two ballrooms to house about 45 vendors, but by our final show there in March, we were using all four ballrooms, the patio, and the lobby with 75 vendors. We loved the Old Ranch, and would still be there, except that we outgrew their parking lot.

As we continue along this “handmade market” journey…we are thrilled to have our June 7th show at “The Grand EventCenter” on Willow Avenue in Long Beach. We will have over 70 vendors there with ample free parking in a five story parking structure. The people at The Grand have been fabulous to work with and we are thrilled to continue to grow our little business at this new location.

We have been very blessed to welcome so many wonderful people in to our show. A number of our crafters support very worthy causes. One vendor employs inner city youth to make their products, which enables these young people to be the first in their families to attend college. Another creative vendor sells her products with the proceeds going to help support her special needs child with adaptive equipment. One vendor makes and sells her products to support autism research; a few vendors use the proceeds from their shop to help fund adoptions. Some of our vendors are “stay-at-home-moms.” Designing and producing their products provides them a creative outlet while at the same time helping to provide for their families. We are thrilled to be a part of these wonderful people’s lives and to help support these worthy causes.

We are so grateful for all of the support and kindness we have felt from our vendors, all of our guests who shop at our shows, and all of those wonderful people and businesses that help us with the venue and with publicity. This is a fun, creative, growing venture, and WE LOVE IT!

And I especially love being able to work a long side of my daughters, Sarah and Sandy (who works full time but helps with PLB when she can). 

Hope to see you all at the Penelope Lane Boutique on June 7th!


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