GIFT MART: New Retailers Prepare For Shopping Season

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The Christmas countdown is on with a little more than a month to go before the big holiday. It's a busy time of year for retailers, especially those making handmade items.

The hum of the sewing machine fills Sara Price's home in Newton. She says, "It keeps me very busy. I usually sell out over the holiday season."

Price makes handmade leather accessories, handbags and wallets for her small business called Whym Handbags.  She says, "I just decided I'm going to start it on a whim and see where it goes. And, that's where it came from."

She started the business four years ago. She's a one woman shop putting in thirty hours a week, in addition to her full time gig. Prices range from $4 for a small accessory to more than $200 for a large bag. Price says, "I like to do a couple big shows a year, and then sell online. And, that's where I make my money, I guess."

Price will bring her handbags and accessories to Des Moines when she sells her items for the first time at the Junior League of Des Moines' annual Gift Mart.

Junior League of Des Moines Gift Mart Chair Rachel Panzi says, “It's our 25th year, so we're kind of excited about just that. And, we've got some great new vendors that haven't been with us before."

Sixty-five vendors will sell their goods for three days at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center. Organizers hope to raise $40,000 through vendor fees and ticket sales. The money supports the group's community projects. Panzi says, "Our goals are to promote volunteerism, give back to the community and just develop the potential of women."

Price says, "It's nice because you always want to do stuff to kind of help and give back. And, it's hard when you're a small business because my profit margin isn't that great, so it's a nice way to know my booth fee is going to help that."

The Holiday Gift Mart is Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center. Tickets for Thursday night are $25, which includes a drink and appetizer. It's from 6 to 9 p.m.  The Gift Mart is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $5 in advance for Friday and Saturday. It's $7 at the door.

You can contact Sara Price at 641-521-0386 or Click here for her Etsy shop.

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