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Woman’s ‘Whimsical Gnome’ specializes in upcycling hand-made items

April 21st, 2011 Posted in Arts and Life, Business

By Teresa Nield

MENDON—One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, at least that is the case for Storee Powell of Mendon.

Powell runs a small internet site called Whimsical Gnome Workshop. The site is mostly dedicated for selling the products that Powell creates by hand from items that would normally be thrown away.

Most of the products on Powell’s website are upcycled. While upcycling is taking something that is disposable and creating something of value, according to Powell, upcycled items differ from recycled items in that recycling involves breaking down and remaking products on a manufacturing level, where upcycling does not.

Powell said while not everything can be recycled, she believes almost everything can be upcycled. Powell’s goal is to not make it obvious what her products are upcycled from. Powell said her mother always told her, “You want things to look handmade, not homemade.”

Although the Web store is not Powell’s main source of income, she said she has always been an artist and crafter. “I need that creative outlet.”

She enjoys creating the items that she sells from unexpected things. “There is so much waste today…and it’s like getting free craft supplies,” Powell said.

Although the store is small for now, Powell hopes it will get bigger because she has a high interest in online selling. “I’m still learning a lot…it takes a lot of research,” and as time passes she says she improves.

Prior to using Ecrater for her site, Powell said she dabbled some in Etsy, an online store for buying and selling handmade items. Powell switched to ecrater because, “It’s the best of Etsy and Ebay,” with no cost to list items. The store ships to all 50 states and Canada and in keeping with non-waste, uses upcycled products as shipping supplies.

Powell has been invited to hold a vendor spot at the Cache Valley Center for the Arts’ Earth Day event on April 22. Powell is going to use the opportunity to promote what she does, show some of her items, such as jewelry and beads, and show people that anyone can upcycle.


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