A Toast To HAMMS

March 11, 2013

HAMMSShopping locally is very Minnesota Nice. It supports the economy and helps out your neighbor, don’tcha know?

Two local businesswomen took the shop-local movement to a new level recently when they decided to help the community with a combined crowd-funding and pop-up shopping experience. The result is not only a great opportunity for local business owners, but also for those of us who like to shop.

Sairey Gernes, owner of Irely and TowelTopper and Becky Sturm, owner of StormSister Spatique and 3waybeauty, are the brains behind “Help A Minnesota Maker Succeed” – or HAMMS for short. The event, which takes place in the old HAMMS Brewery warehouse in St. Paul, will bring together dozens of local artisans and craftsmen and more for a one-day bazaar. It’s an amazing opportunity for local business owners, starting with the incredible exposure they gain with people who may otherwise never come across them. And to make it even more attractive for proprietors to showcase their wares, one lucky person will receive a $5,000 business stipend.

On the other hand, if you like to shop, you’re in for a treat. When I asked co-founder Becky to share a list of some of the featured businesses, one really caught my eye.

He’s a local T-shirt designer, entrepreneur, social activist and…did I mention he’s only 17? The owner of Be Simple T-shirts, Will Bildsten should be among your first stops at HAMMS. This kid’s story makes me want to pursue my dream of creating mosaic tables. Unfortunately I don’t know how to do mosaics, but man, this guy is an inspiration.
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You see at age 14, Will wasn’t happy with life. And it wasn’t just typical teenage angst, anxiety and depression eating away at him. He wanted things to be more simple. So he posted a sign on his bedroom door reading “Be Simple” to serve as a reminder every single day.

With the support of his parents, he quit the traditional high school approach and paved his own way through the education system. Along the way, he created a small tee shirt shop to cultivate his love of design and bring his life-changing motto to life. As the sole proprietor and employee of Be Simple, he has his hands in every piece of the business. The result is a socially conscious product…and it’s not about getting rich. He donates a portion of proceeds to charity. It’s simply inspirational.

I hope Peepshow readers make a stop at HAMMS to lend support to the local business community…especially Will. And if you happen to be a business owner, join in on the fun.