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Shorewood Welcomes Hummingbird Art Boutique

Jul. 12, 2011
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The two friends named Leslie say it was kismet when they met at a Fourth of July party and discovered they both enjoyed art. Leslie Phillips and Leslie Spencer shared a dream of opening a boutique offering artwork that would be affordable, handmade, repurposed and unique. When a small retail space appeared in a block of older buildings at 4415 N. Oakland Ave. in Shorewood, they agreed that it would be the perfect location. On March 21, Phillips and Spencer opened Hummingbird Art Boutique, named in tribute to their favorite bird—a bright, fun, happy and interesting creature that reflects the qualities of the shop.

What was your inspiration for Hummingbird Art Boutique?

LP: We had been going to art fairs to see local artists and thought it would be a good idea to put all the art we saw into one space. We wanted a little spot in Shorewood where people could come to buy affordable and handmade gifts. Almost everything in the store uses recyclable or repurposed materials.

LS: Then we saw this space, and rented it from a photographer who was very artsy. After putting a note on craigslist to call for artists, and using the business cards we collected from the art fairs, we found the artists for the boutique. Now, we have more than enough artists—over 36 from all over the state.

What type of art and gifts does the boutique offer?

LS: We wanted the boutique to be approachable, cozy and comfortable. Most of the art is under $50, and there are numerous items under $20. We also have handmade cards in the store, so you can come in, buy a gift, buy a card and then be on your way to your party. We both make the handmade cards, and we're open on Sundays when other stores are closed.

What are some of your favorite items?

LS: Our friend Kamryn buys 98% repurposed fabric from dresses, shirts and shorts and makes clutch purses. We also have a librarian, a Madison artist, who buys old books from antique and resale shops and makes them into handbags. Actually, Leslie's coasters sell very well. They are 4-by-4-inch tiles and can be custom designed with a personal photograph or picture.

How has the initial response been?

LP: It's been great. We have a lot of repeat business now.

LS: We've been very well received. People want unique businesses to come to Shorewood. With the price of gas, customers are riding their bikes or walking over to the store just like we do because we live in Shorewood. We're still at that stage where we're trying to get the word out about the store. While we're still working at our day jobs, we'd love to do this full time someday in the future. We love supporting the community.


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