It may only be a few doors down from its current home along Grand Rapids’ Avenue for the Arts, but The Parliament Collective’s new local makers retail space at 136 S. Division Ave. promises an even deeper look into the creative process behind the products and workshops held within its walls.
Selling handcrafted work by dozens of local makers — products that range from leather, jewelry and other accessories to home goods, ceramics, and cards — the new Parliament the Boutique
has enough space for a retail storefront and separate studio spaces for each of its three collective co-owners, giving customers the opportunity not only to see products quite literally in the making, but also participate in the community workshops that will be held there.
At its current home on South Division, co-founder Elyse Marie Welcher originally opened the Parliament Collective boutique in 2013 as a studio space and founding store for her brand, Littlewing Designs.
“Operating a studio separate from our shop was a necessary step for us to grow, but it wasn’t necessarily sustainable,” says Welcher, who owns the space alongside Harbinger Leather Design’s Jacob Vroon and Megan Roach of Adventure Textiles. “Finding a new space where both our studio and storefront could flourish together was an important step for the long-term existence of Parliament.”
Roach says the new space affords both the artists and their customers a unique avenue for transparency into the creative process of the products they sell there.
“It gives us a way deeper and more meaningful way to connect with the people who love our goods,” says Roach, who is a business owner and Parliament Collective co-founder. “You can explain what a loom is and what it means to weave to a certain extent, but seeing the loom in action, that is a completely different level of experience.”
Hosted by Avenue for the Arts on as part of its First Fridays monthly gallery and shop hop, The Parliament Collective will hold a grand-reopening event of its new boutique on Feb. 3 from 5-9 p.m. The event will give attendees a chance to not only check out Parliament’s new digs, but also learn more about upcoming community workshops that will include lessons on things like basic leather craft and natural dyeing.
To learn more about The Parliament Collective or its new boutique space, visit www.parliamenttheboutique.com
or find it here on Facebook
Written by Anya Zentmeyer, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Parliament the Boutique