My life was changed by shopping at the inaugural HAMMS Event. That experience changed the way I shop, where I shop, and for what which I shop.
Born of the 'shop local, shop small businesses' movement, HAMMS is a one-day crowdfunding market comprised of products catering to men, women and dogs. The products are all crafted by Minnesota Makers – small businesses who passionately create everything from shampoo to home decor, underwear with a secret pocket to caramel corn.
I wound up there because my friend, Becky Sturm, co-founded the event and she gave me two free tickets to attend. It seemed like an interesting way to support my friend and kill a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. I walked into the event with the following thoughts drifting through my mind:
- What is crowdfunding and why should I care?
- The products will probably be cheesy craft-fair tchotchkes, so avoid eye contact with the business owners and keep moving.
- I heard there was wine. Where’s the wine?
I could not have been more wrong. Could. Not.
(Except about the wine. That, I was right about – there was wine (and beer). And get this: you could pour it yourself. Just grab the bottle you want and pour away. No charge – it’s included with your ticket!Hopefully, that will be a repeat this year)
The way I shop
I like my life to be easy. And what’s easier than a mall, where I can hit Lane Bryant, Payless Shoe Source, the makeup counter at Macy’s, then Barnes and Noble for stationery before making a stop at the food court for a pretzel and a lemonade?
You know what’s not easy? Hand crafting stationery, like Mary Bruno does for Bruno Press. Or making a candle that can also be used as massage oil in a vessel that can be rinsed out and used as a wine glass…all with products that are natural and made in the USA. Becky does that for her beauty company, 3waybeauty. How about designing and creating gorgeous silk ties with matching cuff links and a pocket square, like Gary from Got Knot? (As the world’s worst crafter, I can attest that each of these are very difficult)
I went into HAMMS Event thinking I would browse around the market, keeping my eyes straight ahead and my wallet in my purse. But the products for sale were amazing. Beautiful. Terrific quality. Things I would want in my home and in my life. And taking money out of my purse, then handing it to the person who actually created what I was buying? I felt part of a community, of something larger than myself. It felt gratifying to know that my money was going to help someone buy soccer cleats for their daughter, instead of to some huge organization trading on the stock market.
Shopping this way felt personal.
Where I shop
Yes, I still shop at Target and Ulta regularly. But I also regularly shop at other small business events like this. After attending HAMMS, I made a point to find out what other gatherings like it go on in the Twin Cities. The MinneJingle Mingle, Small Business Saturday pop-ups, the St. Paul Craftstravaganza and Minneapolis Craft’za…once I started looking, they were everywhere! And when events aren't going on, most of my favorite vendors have online presence. They know me, now, and remember the things I like - and more often than not, orders I receive from them include personalized notes. Which I love. A lot.
This experience has even changed the way I eat – I now shop as often as I can at the St. Paul Farmer’s Market, and have forged relationships with the people who grow my food. I used to think only hippies did that, but no. I’m not a hippie (I don’t think) and I do it!
For what I shop
The things I like haven’t changed since being introduced to this local market of Minnesota Makers. I still like beauty stuff and jewelry and stationery, lovely scarves and unique accessories. What has changed is that I now value the things I buy so much more than I used to. And in turn, I don’t buy as much stuff. It’s satisfying to purchase something made by hand, from the hands that made it. I don’t need to buy four lipsticks on impulse at Ulta when I have that one, awesome shade from Elixery.
Maybe you’re light years ahead of me. Maybe you’ve read this entire post thinking, “Duhhh, Sara. None of this is news.” Or maybe you’ve read this and recognized a little bit of yourself in it. Either way, get yourself to this year’s HAMMS Event and say hi to a few of my favorite vendors – then let me know who you meet and like, too.
- Urban Undercover
- Epitome Skincare
- Bruno Press
- Droolin Moose
- Larissa Loden
- Got Knot
- Minnesota Nice Spice
What: HAMMS Event (Help A Minnesota Maker Succeed)
When: May 3, from 10-4p.m.
Where: 713 East Minnehaha Avenue, St. Paul MN 55106
Why: To shop, eat, mingle and have fun while helping raise funds (crowdfunding) that will be donated to one of the vendors exhibiting at the event.
Tickets: $10 online (available until May 2) or $15 at the door