Handmade Items Showcased on 'Shop the Frontier'
Marketplace showcases handmade items from rural artists.
David Wermuth, whose woodwork is showcased on Shop the Frontier, chisels away in his Republic, Washington, workshop.
Courtesy Stone Soup
Ever wondered where you could sell those duck decoys you carved or that unique jewelry you made? Now, instead of a neighbor-only clientele, you can take your rural creations online with the help of Stone Soup, a nonprofit organization based in Republic, Washington, that’s dedicated to helping those in rural communities achieve entrepreneurial success.
Stone Soup opened its virtual doors to the world in December 2005 through the “Shop the Frontier” Web site. Since then, this rural marketplace has seen more than two million hits. The site, www.shopthefrontier.com, showcases talented rural artists; increases business and professional skills for those involved in the project; and helps revitalize rural communities across Washington and Idaho. Currently, Stone Soup is launching a campaign to add artists from towns like Dayton and Forks in Washington and in the Priest River area of Northern Idaho. They’re looking for dedicated rural entrepreneurs who craft quality handmade items from Northwest towns with populations below 20,000.
Stone Soup founder and executive director Betty Buckley says she hopes to help people create jobs for themselves and an income for their families by participating in the Shop the Frontier Web site and other services Stone Soup offers, which include free business training and consultations. All of the proceeds from the site go directly back into its efforts to help individuals create or expand micro-enterprises.
Items on the Web site range from handmade soaps to elegant jewelry to one-of-a-kind furniture and original art. Each item provides a link to information about the artist including photos of the process. “When we developed the site, one thing of importance was the ability to showcase the artist; to put an actual face and name with the product. That’s not something you run across very often in today’s economy,” Buckley says. In addition to artists’ backgrounds, customers have the ability to contact the Web site to request custom items.