Maker’s Outpost is a beautiful boutique shop located in the downtown historic district of Collingwood, Ontario. The shop owners, Bayley and Susan, opened the shop in 2019 with a mission to inspire and support Canadian makers by providing a space to sell their ware and encourage creative play. The boutique is filled with ceramics, fine jewelry, eats and treats, home decor, stationary and DIY crafting supplies.
I was fortunate to be selected by Bayley and Suan in spring 2020 to be represented in their shop as a new ceramic artist. I am grateful to have my handcrafted ceramics in their beautiful shop and have their support as a Canadian artist.
I decided to ask Bayley and Susan a few questions, so you as customers and followers have the opportunity to get to know them and Maker’s Outpost a bit better, and understand why I chose to have my ceramics in their shop. Trust me you'll fall in love with their boutique and curated goods, once you've read this post.
Jenna: What inspired you to launch Maker’s Outpost?
Susan: We had both been doing craft shows and were absolutely exhausted by the end of each one. We knew there had to be a better way of selling handmade goods that gave makers more time to do what they love - making! Using my education in Retail Management and Bayley's creative eye we were excited by the idea of opening a shop in our hometown to showcase makers in a supportive environment.
Jenna: Where did you get the inspiration for the name ‘Maker’s Outpost’ and what does it mean?
Susan: Oh man, the name was hard. We tested MANY names with our friends and family before landing on The Maker's Outpost. Everything sounded either religious or corny, it actually became a big joke among us. We wanted to include 'maker' to show that everything is made by small businesses and "outpost" sounded nice and represented that we curate items made by makers. We hope it makes sense!
Jenna: Where do you discover the curated goods for your shop and talented artists?
Bayley/Susan: 99% of the time we find makers on Instagram. It's such a fun and creative place to showcase products so it's easy to find unique vendors. The other 1% consists of going to markets (maybe next year!), using online wholesale listings (Faire is great), and meeting friendly makers in our brick-and-mortar store. We work really hard to ensure our selection is unique in our community and represents our brand as well. It's important to us to carry items from female and BIPOC owned businesses and keeping environmental impacts in mind.
Jenna: What are your biggest challenges of being a shop owner?
Bayley/Susan: It's just us, running everything. It can become overwhelming very easily so we're always checking on each other to make sure neither gets burnt out. It's especially stressful now with COVID-19. We're lucky to live in a small community with relatively low cases but we have to be diligent day-to-day to protect ourselves and our customers. We're so thankful to have likeminded customers who respect these policies and have continued to support us through this difficult time - thank you!
Jenna: What’s one success as an entrepreneur you are most proud of?
Susan: We had originally opened the store on a side street. It was a little scary diving right in so we wanted to test out the idea in a smaller less expensive spot first. After the Christmas success, we started looking for a better location and there was this really cute space next to The Gayety Theatre with great visibility that we both had fond memories of from childhood. A new business was renovating and planning on moving in but we kept it in our minds as somewhere we wanted to be in a few years. One night I was driving home and almost crashed my car because I saw a big FOR LEASE sign in the window of this dream space, the business had been denied permits so they backed out. We probably called the landlord every day until he finally decided to take a chance on us. We're so so proud of our little store on the corner.
Jenna: As well as being a shop owner, you are also an artist. Can you share what artistic projects you're currently working on and how you've developed these skills?
Susan: I started my little side business, Fibre Love @fibrelovecwood, a few years ago. At first, it was macrame pieces, wall hangings, lighting, plant hangers. I've finally bought myself a sewing machine (I used to spend every summer sewing with my Grandma Joan) so I'm working on a collection of comfort items coming out this holiday season, you'll have to follow my IG to find out!
Bayley: I am always working on a few different things - right now I'm sewing scrunchies and upcycling/reworking clothing to go along with my new project, Stevie Vintage. I also enjoy doing graphic design work for the shop and for family + friends, digital drawing on my Ipad, and occasionally painting or collaging.
Jenna: What's the favorite part of your day?
Susan: When we can make a customer laugh or smile. We carry lots of snarky and silly items in the shop so it's really cute when a customer discovers one. We're both very sarcastic and love to laugh.
Bayley: When new items arrive from our vendors! I love to see what our makers have created in person - the skill + quality of their work always impresses me.
Quick Rapid Fire: Susan
1) One word to describe life as an entrepreneur: Enriching
2) One place you want to travel: West coast of Vancouver Island
3) Salty snacks or sweet treats: Sweet
4) Current song on repeat: Probably something Doja Cat or SZA
5) Favorite holiday ritual: Watching Christmas Vacation on Christmas Eve while wearing onesies and eating Chinese takeout
Quick Rapid Fire: Bayley
1) One word to describe life as an entrepreneur: Fulfilling
2) One place you want to travel: Greece
3) Salty snacks or sweet treats: Sweet
4) Current song on repeat: Problems: Bryce Vine ft Grady
5) Favorite holiday ritual: Watching Halloween movies with my mom
Make sure to check out Maker’s Outpost when you’re in Collingwood next - you can also shop Maker’s Outpost online, you're bound to find beautiful goods and gifts made in Canada by artists who love to create .
Love + Beautiful Goods