Moving, metal art made from nuts and bolts that look just like a dog, a scuba diver and even a Minion from “Despicable Me.”
There also are margarita glasses that seem to belong in a chemistry lab.
There’s something special about the kinds of hand-made, artisan-created treasures you can find at a weekend craft fair.
At Creativity Unpinned, you don’t have to wait for the weekend or take a long drive to find unique gifts. Owner Wendy O’Neill says that it’s like the craft fair comes to you, all in one convenient place, available whenever the mall is open.
Creativity Unpinned is one of the newer stores at the Shops at Wiregrass, and is located in the space that was formerly occupied by the Gymboree store.
It opened in April, and since then, Wendy says more and more customers are discovering her many one-of-a-kind items that are either the perfect gift — or even the perfect find for themselves.
At Creativity Unpinned, 56 different artisans currently rent space to share their hand-crafted treasures.
“Everybody’s stuff is different,” Wendy explains, saying that all but three of her artisans are local.
She also explains that 80 percent of what’s in the store is hand-made, while the other 20 percent is a collection of unique lines of items, such as Mozi rings, or their glow-in-the-dark counterparts, Glozi rings.
“They are crazy fun,” Wendy says, showing off the unique contraption that is somewhat reminiscent of the old Slinky, but instead rolls up and down your arms and can be passed from person to person.
“We like to be interactive,” she says, so she hands the toy to anyone who wants to try it in the store.
Creativity Unpinned is filled with handmade items so that everyone can find something special, such as tooth fairy pillows, hand-drawn artwork and cards, stunning photography, doll outfits and hand-painted glassware.
There’s a Christmas section with the eye-catching and fun Deb’s Tacky Sweaters.
“They are hilarious,” Wendy says, showing off sweaters, sweater vests — even a dress — decorated with outrageously tacky ornaments, sure to be the talk of any Christmas party.
Many other Christmas-themed gifts are available, too, such as dish towels and “Santa Cam” ornaments.
Wendy also says that items throughout the store reflect popular themes, such as unicorns or mermaids, which are hot sellers right now.
Book pillows are a popular item, she says, with a pocket sewn into the pillow that you can tuck a book into. The vendor who makes the book pillows even provides a free book of the customer’s choice with the purchase of a pillow.
See something you like but it’s not exactly right? Because most of the store’s items are handmade, nearly anything at Creativity Unpinned can be custom-made, such as a book pillow customized to complement your child, grandchild, niece or nephew’s favorite bedtime story.
Wendy says her customers love their pets, and items throughout the store with pet themes also are popular. Plus, you can order a personalized caricature of your pet, or pick out handmade clothes for your pooch — anything from a leather jacket to a bathrobe.
Creativity Unpinned also features a wide variety of price points, since vendors set their own prices. There’s even a line of kids’ items that is priced intentionally so kids can choose something they can buy with their own allowance money.
Wendy says there is room for about 75 vendors in the store, but that there is a waiting list for several types of artisans, such as those who create jewelry.
“We want a nice variety of jewelry,” says Wendy, which she says she now has with different artistic influences from countries such as Venezuela and Mexico, a variety of materials from natural items such as flowers and leaves to Italian glass. “But, we don’t want to become a jewelry store.”
“We give creative entrepreneurs the opportunity to own a business,” Wendy says. “It amazes me what our artisans come up with. They really blow me away.”
Creativity Unpinned sometimes does classes and special events, such as the class on making shadowboxes that was taught after hours one Sunday evening.
Fund Raisers, Too!
A recent fundraiser allowed each vendor at Creativity Unpinned to choose a charity they would like to support. Shoppers voted for their favorite one, and the winning charity – Trinity Outreach – will receive $500, the proceeds of a special sale of items donated for the event. “It raised awareness for charities,” explains Wendy, “and people had fun with it.”
Creativity Unpinned has three employees, and like Wendy, they are all dedicated to top-notch customer service.
“We’ll point out things to you and tell you the backstory that makes an item even more interesting,” Wendy says. “We can do that because these items aren’t mass produced.”
She emphasizes that she wants customers to come in and touch and smell and feel the products, which is something her vendors appreciate.
For example, there is Rhonda McDaniel’s line of artisan soaps, called A Caring Touch Skin Therapy.
“I love being a vendor at Creativity Unpinned because my products are available to customers at the mall,” Rhonda says. “I like shopping there myself.”
While she mostly sells her products online, she likes that her website now tells people they can visit Creativity Unpinned to see her products in person.
Rhonda says she loves interacting with the customers who are interested in her artisan soaps. “When I go in the store, I can see their excitement about the product and answer their questions,” she says.
Creativity Unpinned is located at 28163 Paseo Dr., #180. For more information, search “Creativity Unpinned” on Facebook, or call (813) 575-9605.