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Meet Alison Murphy of Concord Handmade in Concord

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alison Murphy.

Alison, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Concord Handmade started as a pop-up holiday shop in 2011. I was interested in opening a storefront, but having one year round felt daunting. I knew of a few other seasonal shops in the area, and the idea of using an empty storefront for a pop-up shop was becoming more popular. I connected with artists I knew to sell their goods in the shop, and it grew from there. In 2014, the mobile shop was born. I wanted a way to continue to sell goods all year, but I wanted a unique take on shopping. Turning an old camper into a mini store was right in my wheelhouse, so I took on the project. Now, Concord Handmade’s mobile shop is at events throughout New Hampshire all spring, summer, and fall, and the pop-up shop takes place in the winter and features over 50 local artists.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No. Unconventional retail has been tough in that people expect to go into a traditional brick and mortar shop, and they expect it to be there all year. I end up explaining a lot how my pop-up is only open through the holidays, and that my camper is in fact safe to shop in.

Please tell us about Concord Handmade.
Concord Handmade sells handmade goods from makers throughout New England. It is known for unique products and high quality handmade goods. I am most proud of the community of artists my shop supports. Its great watching artists and their craft grow over time. The nontraditional selling venue sets Concord Handmade apart. I describe it as ‘adventure shopping’ because it’s a unique experience being in Concord Handmade.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
When I look back at the first year of the pop-up shop, I can’t believe I made it. The business and I have grown so much over the last 8 years. If I could start over, I would open the mobile shop sooner. I’d been dreaming about the idea for years before I did it, and starting sooner would have been lovely.

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