As a passionate promoter of handmade, locally made, and ethically made goods, I’m always thrilled to find a gift store offering just that. It’s a refreshing change from the same-old mass-produced goods at every mall, and it can help you give a gift with meaning.
But boutiques like these are not found in every town (yet)! Therefore I was thrilled when Gift + Gather opened in the small riverfront town of Occoquan, Virginia - only a stone’s throw from Interstate 95. This Washington, DC suburb is a small, very old town bursting with local pride.
Gift + Gather is run by the owner of Pure Palette, one of my favorite local makers of candle and body products. When she invited Janery to join the shelves of her beautifully curated store, I was honored and immediately knew I wanted to share her new boutique with all of you. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know her business more via this virtual interview!
I was happy to interview shop owner Usa recently. Here's what she had to say about Gift and Gather:
In what year did you open your doors?
What does your store do especially well? What makes you stand out among the rest?
Our shop offers locally handmade products from the DC metro area. The shop carries a wide range of handmade products from jewelry, handbags, body care products, pet accessories and home decor such as pottery, pillows and home fragrances as well as beverages such as hand-blended teas and syrups. I must say that our customers are excited about what they find at our shop and how we display them. As a result, everything has sold very well at our shop despite our historic Occoquan location.
Does your store do any community work or donations that we can give you kudos for?
Yes, we recently discovered The Good News Community Kitchen (TGNCK), a non-profit organization, established to rebuild and strengthen communities by fighting hunger one meal at a time. The office is located at 308 Poplar Alley #B, Occoquan VA 22125. You can learn more about them at www.tgnck.org. We look forward to working with them. In the meantime, we are donating part of our profits to them.
Image courtesy The Good News Community Kitchen
I know you also run Pure Palette, a line of candles and body products, that are also available online. How did you transition from running Pure Palette to opening a brick and mortar shop?
Our customers always wanted to experience our home fragrances besides shopping online or at local craft fairs. We were glad to find a great location not too far from Washington DC in historic Occoquan, Virginia. The historic town represents a true concept of our small batch handmade products. Now our customers can visit our shop throughout the year and we also offer to help our customers find gifts for any occasion such as weddings, birthdays, housewarming gifts, gifts for their clients and also corporate gifts. We also plan to hold classes such as sewing and flower arrangement in the future.
What’s been your best selling Janery product?
Our customers LOVE your products. Both catnip cuddlers and catnip kickers are doing very well. There are so many pet lovers in our town.
What initially drew you to our products?
I love your aesthetic and fabric selection. I always love colorful and simple geometric fabric design. Besides the design, your products have an added material that all cats love...CATNIP! We all know that it is undeniable.
Please describe your brand in one to two sentences.
Connecting handmade makers and local customers by offering locally handmade crafts & gift products.
How would you describe your store's aesthetic?
Modern, natural simplicity.
307 Mill Street Occoquan, VA 22125
Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
I hope you'll stop by and check it out if you're in the area, and while you're at it, get a delicious lunch at the Secret Garden Cafe, a Janery favorite when we make deliveries to Gift + Gather.