Made Here offers incredible locally made gifts while providing funds for local children's charities - Melissa Penner in the Made Here store (OITP)

Melissa Penner in the Made Here store (OITP)

By: Only in the Peg October 19, 2018 // Shopping

If you are looking to do something positive with your purchasing power next time you are in Winnipeg, look no further than Made Here.

The gorgeous little shop, located in the bottom concourse of the Richardson Centre in the heart of downtown, features one of a kind items from over 100 Manitoba makers, while 10 per cent of all the proceeds go to four local children’s charities. 

“For tourists and locals alike this space is so appealing because everything in here is handmade with love by someone who has a passion for their craft and their art,” said Melissa Penner, who runs the store with Donovan Robinson and Jeremy Wat.  

“A lot of the stuff in here speaks to elements of Manitoba – either Manitoba-themed or representing the city – so when someone buys something they can take a piece of that with them when they leave.”

Penner is a graphic designer who co-founded and runs the website Made Here For You with fellow graphic designer Wat, while Robinson is a founder and managing partner at Vantage Studios, located right across from the shop. 

Vantage and the Richardsons own the space and were looking to feature local makers as a way to raise money for The Dream Factory – the local charitable organization dedicated to fulfilling dreams for kids who are battling life-threatening illnesses. 

To paraphrase Penner, last year Vantage did a mini fundraiser with some local makers to raise money and awareness for the Dream Factory, which was a success. After that, seeing how this space was available, they decided to approach Penner and Wat, who have been running their online directory of local makers for just over a year.

The original, online version Made Here For You serves as a “best of” sort of listing (replete with interviews with many of the makers) of locally made products. Like the shop, it is wonderfully curated, featuring a great deal of the makers that you’d find at large popular pop-up markets like Third + Bird, Lucky Girl Pop-Up Shop and Alleyways Market in the Exchange. When you find an item you like and go to make the purchase, the site then sends you to the maker’s website, allowing you to buy direct.

Like the store itself, you can find locally made food products, clothes, jewelry, art, and everything in between. 

Penner jumped at the opportunity to showcase these makers’ works in a storefront, and just opened the shop the first week of October.  

She has drawn on her designer’s eye to lay out the design of the space – which is really quite gorgeous. 

On the shelves you’ll find works from some of the province’s best makers, including – prints from Lisa Whitehouse, Paper Canoe, Dimi Gallery and Silver Birch on the art side of things; beauty products from Beard and Brawn and the Bearded Ladies; candles from the likes of Coal and Canary; foods from Flora and Farmer, with more coming; and an exceptional array of jewelry from producers like Pebble & Dime (who also sells her knitwear there; owner/designer Vivian Sawatzky was also in the shop when we visited, volunteering her time to work the store), SkateBetty, who makes super dope stuff using recycled skateboards, and Copper and Pine, who makes these gorgeous copper pendants that feature little natural things (like pine cones, flowers, moss, etc.) suspended in resin. 

So far, business has been brisk for many of the makers wares – which surely will only increase as the holiday shopping season takes hold – while all the makers in the store have placed their products there on consignment. 

It was Penner’s and Wat’s idea to expand the scope to four charities, which now, on top of the aforementioned Dream Factory, includes Art City, “a not-for-profit community art studio dedicated to providing people of all ages with innovative and professional art programming, free of charge,” Snowflake Place for Children and Youth, which is a child advocacy centre that focuses on the needs of children and youth who have experienced abuse, and Junior Achievement Manitoba, which offers free business education programs to students from grade three to 12. 

The goal of the Made Here is to raise $20,000, which will result in $5,000 for each of these charities. 

Made Here For You is located in the L14 - 1 Lombard Place (aka, in the basement right below the Richardson Centre).