North Carolina crafters get a boost from Durham venture


North Carolina crafters will have a new location to showcase their work, thanks to a new brick-and-mortar opportunity in downtown Durham.

Nordgren and DeConto proudly stand in front of their new shop, The Makery. Makery, in Downtown Durham (Staff photo by Alyssa Armstrong).

Krista Anne Nordgren and Katie DeConto proudly stand in front of their new shop, The Makery, in Downtown Durham (Staff photo by Alyssa Armstrong).

The Makery, which features handmade and vintage products from North Carolina crafters, opened its doors on Feb. 8.

Located at 401 W. Geer St, The Makery was originally an online shop, but co-owner Krista Anne Nordgren decided to take the business one step further.

“We really like this neighborhood,” Nordgren said. “It feels like a preserved area of Durham.”

The shop partners with Mercury Studio, a co-working business that allows people to rent office space for creative and professional pursuits.

Katie DeConto, co-creator of Mercury Studio, and Nordgren decided to combine their businesses.

“It just happened,” DeConto said. “Our businesses just fell in love with each other.”

Nordgren, who was born and raised in Durham, said that her goal is to introduce people to local businesses.

Nordgren said they chose the location because it represents downtown Durham’s artistic population.

“I want to show people that there are a lot of people who make really cool stuff, and their stuff is just as cool as anything you can go out and buy,” Nordgren said.

A community network

DeConto said that the shop gives crafters an opportunity to connect with the community.

Megan George, owner of The Zen Succulents, a local succulent and terrarium business, has her plants on display at The Makery.

George, who is a North Carolina native, created the business with her mother after making the plants as gifts.

She said the business eventually took-off and people started to get interested in their terrariums. She was contacted by The Makery after a craft show in N.C.

George said, “I really love The Makery’s sense of independence and empowerment of crafters in the area,” she said. “[The shop] gave us a shelf to express ourselves and our brand to branch out and reach customers.”

Cassandra Smith, a sophomore at Western University, put a couple of her knitted baby-hats on The Makery’s website a year ago.

Smith said that while she is not currently creating products for The Makery due to financial and time constraints, she would like to participate again in the future.

“Keeping it exclusively for [artists] in North Carolina is an awesome idea,” she said. “We do have a lot of artists here in N.C. that may not be able to get the word out about their stuff, and this will give them a lot of attention.”

Nordgren said Smith’s sentiments are the driving force of the Makery.

“[We want] to help vendors reach their goals using [The Makery] as a resource,” she said.

The Makery currently features products from 21 different artists and crafters, but Nordgren said that number will likely increase in the future.

“I am taken with the idea that I can buy a necklace that was made in the same town, it is a community thing,” she said.

Nordgren said, “Making people feel supported should start locally.”

Want to work with the Makery? You can fill out a form on their website.

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Alyssa is a student at UNC-Chapel Hill and reporter-photographer for the Durham VOICE.