|Meet Our Merchant of the Month: Urban Arts + Crafts
stored in: Village News
About 10 years ago, something changed. Twenty-something girls put away their Spice Girl boots and began joining knitting circles. Even in big cities like New York and Boston, you could find them on the subway, needles moving calmly as they gazed out the train windows. When the economy crashed in 2008, the craft phenomenon seemed to soar. Do-it-yourself became an American obsession, and homespun fashion was all the rage.
Karen Roark must have seen it all coming. An interior architect for 12 years in Kansas City, she launched Urban Arts + Crafts in June of 2002. After ten years of business, her store remains more popular than ever–with weekly craft classes supplementing a trendy collection of yarns, boutique fabrics, beads, and accessories.
True to its name, Urban Arts + Crafts could easily be located in any major city, from Austin to Portland to Brooklyn. But Karen thinks that Briarcliff Village is the perfect spot.
“We were drawn to the unique mix of independently owned stores and the beauty of this area,” she says. “Our customers range from 8 to 88 but what most of them have in common is the desire to be creative and an appreciation of all things made.”
Kansas City’s latest moniker is the “creative crossroads,” and people from all areas flock to Karen’s store to fuel their inspiration. In the summer, beads and jewelry are most en vogue. Knitting and crochet pick up in winter, because as Karen says, “everyone enjoys making and wearing their own warm, winter projects.”
As for Karen, she enjoys watching people create something new. It’s what she calls a “modern and fresh approach to arts + crafts.” There’s something for everyone on her class calendar. And if you’re shopping for jewelry, tote bags, notebooks or gifts, you can satisfy your inner artist that way, too.
So, we were curious. What’s the latest craft trend for fall?
“The 20 minute infinity scarf,” Karen tells us. “If you can tie a knot, you can make your own scarf. No knitting or crochet skills are required!”