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Modern Handmade Memphis brings pop-up to Overton Square

By Andy Meek

Modern Handmade Memphis has come back to Overton Square with another of its pop-up shops that showcases handmade goods, the latest such event hosted a few times each year by the duo who also captain the Memphis Etsy Team.

Modern Handmade Memphis’ third annual Christmas pop-up shop was launched at Overton Square on Black Friday and runs through Dec. 27. It’s in effect a monthlong celebration of handcrafted gifting hosted by Modern Handmade Memphis and the Memphis Etsy Team, the launch of which also benefited from some of the goodwill toward small, local businesses by being timed to start the day before American Express’ Small Business Saturday.

Greeting visitors to the pop-up shop is everything from handmade bath and body products to jewelry and accessories, vintage fashion, specialty food items, home décor, art and more.

Amanda Boldreghini, owner of Bel & Eve’s Herbs, stocks merchandise at the Modern Handmade Memphis pop-up shop in Overton Square that runs through Dec. 27. (Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

Mary O’Kelly of Modern Handmade Memphis decorates the pop-up shop that will be in Overton Square through Dec. 27. (Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

Modern Handmade Memphis began as a series of shows starting in 2010. The mission is to give the public a taste of the best in local handmade goods from independent designers and artisans and to promote handmade goods as a vehicle for economic growth in the area.

“We’re working on trying to get a permanent presence, and in the meantime we’re doing the pop-ups,” said Mary O’Kelly, who runs Modern Handmade Memphis along with Tonya Tate. “We’ve also been working on an online shop that would be Modern Handmade and have the vendors we’re going to have in the pop-up shop.”

In the words of Tate, an online presence for the venture opens up the customer base to the point where buyers around the world can order “a little bit of Memphis for Christmas.” Customers can shop online now at www.ModernHandmadeMemphis.com on the Web and mobile devices, and can pick up their purchases in store or have them delivered.

Modern Handmade’s physical pop-up shop is housed at 2092 Trimble, on the south side of Overton Square, off the Tower Courtyard and facing the parking garage. The shop’s hours are Mondays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m.

“It’s also not just a matter of us doing the pop-ups,” O’Kelly said. “While we do have over 300 members of the Etsy team, not all of them are necessarily at the same stage, so we also try to do some teaching, where we’ll help some of the vendors who may be just starting out. We’ve got one in the pop-up shop this Christmas, for example, who’s never done a show before. So we’re showing her things like the best way to do a festival outdoors, what you need to have, things like that.”

Over the past few years, the Modern Handmade team has produced several events, including its Indie Style Market @ MemShop pop-up at Overton Square in December 2012. Among others, in 2013, the team launched a Valentine’s Day pop-up in Chickasaw Crossing and a pop-up on Broad Avenue from June to November.

The team was formed in November 2010 and today included hundreds of members from across the Memphis area. Those members include sewers, painters, knitters, photographers, graphic designers and more.

As part of its interest in giving back, the Modern Handmade Team has also launched the “Handmade with Heart” challenge to local makers to join them in donating handmade goods to the YWCA Memphis Family Shelter, which helps victims of domestic violence and homeless women and children. The pop-up shop will also serve as a drop-off point for donations to the St. Luke’s United Methodist Church Food Pantry.