Northeast spotlight :: Crafty entrepreneurs

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February 1, 2010
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie
Stroll into I Like You and you are bound to find something that catches your eye. There are adorably hip outfits for little ones, artwork by notable local artists like Amy Rice and Adam Turman and all kinds of other handmade odds and ends you likely won’t find anywhere else. Owners Sarah Sweet and Angela Lessman recently moved their store to the neighborhood after a couple years in Kingfield in southwest Minneapolis. They plan on offering craft classes this spring to inspire other people in the community to tap into their own creative powers. Sweet recently spoke with the Downtown Journal about the business.


DTJ: What do you look for when thinking about items for your store?

Sweet: We look for things that you don’t typically see in other gift stores. We look for things that people have obviously thought out — really good ideas. We look for things that a lot of times are repurposed. A lot of times things that are repurposed strike that nostalgic chord … we look for stuff like that. We look for things that obviously people put time and effort into thinking about.


What’s your long-term vision for the store?

I don’t know that we have a long-term vision. It’s not that we don’t expect to be here, but both of us take it as it comes, and you’re always on the search for something new. You just don’t know what that’s going to be. Everything is so cyclical and everything changes. I know that both Angela and I feel like this is what we should do. She still waits tables. I waited tables forever and a day. I always had this idea that I’m going to have this store. My garage was filling up with stuff to have this store. I had my youngest child. A year after he was born, I was like, I have to do something. I can’t be this stay-at-home mom, and I need to do something that would be easy enough to do with my kids.  


Any key lessons you’ve learned?

We have learned that not to take it to heart when things you make aren’t everybody’s cup of tea. … It takes us a while to let that roll off our backs. I also think we really primarily work with people who do these items as a hobby. We try to do our best to keep things in stock, but it’s hard when you’re working with people that this is what they do in their free time — sometimes free time is not easy to come by. Sometimes we need to relax a little bit.


What about the impact of the economy? Has it been tough to weather?

It has been. The good thing for us is you start a business pretty much knowing for a certain amount of time you will not be making money. … We do get paid for what we make and sell through the store. For a large part, part of the appeal of the store is that we enable people to make a little bit of extra money. Every single person in here has their own business, and it’s up to us to help that along. It’s also up to them to do it as well. We’re just this little conglomeration of all these independent people starting their own businesses to try to keep themselves going.


FYI


I Like You
Where: 501 1st Ave. NE
Website: ilikeyouonline.com