Moonbeam Le May is a maker. Like many makers, she sells on Etsy, and has a community of people around her who share and support that passion to create.
A few months ago, Le May began utilizing those community connections to host a monthly second Saturday market at a University Drive warehouse in Tempe. But rather than content herself with this sort of sporadic gathering, Le May thought bigger. Thus, the idea for The Treehouse Collective was born.
On Saturday, September 6, The Treehouse Collective will open its tiny, nondescript doors to the public, presenting an overflow of local artisans offering everything from metaphysical herbs and stones to cleaning products, jewelry, and vintage clothing. Open daily to the public, Le May hopes to offer something local and purposeful to the diverse denizens of Tempe.
While Phoenix already offers shopping and learning opportunities in celebrated storefronts like Practical Art, Le May saw a void in Tempe's local, creative marketplace.
"Tempe doesn't really have anything like this. I know Phoenix has a couple places... I figure this is the perfect spot, it's not far from ASU," Le May says of her motivation.
Le May, a hairstylist, jeweler, and painter interested in the metaphysical, sees firsthand how the confluence of diverse creative media can help create something much bigger and more rewarding both for herself and the community.
As for local options, Le May observes, "I mean, there's Etsy. People shop online all the time, but we don't really have a hub [for shopping locally]. I was hoping that by making something like [Treehouse Collective], that's readily available for people to come and see, and then they feel good when they make a purchase.
"It's more like somebody down the street went and picked this stone out, and hammered it all together and made this, and I'm wearing it! And it was made with love and intention."
In addition to merchandise, Le May already hosts a weekly sewing circle in the space, and has plans to add more classes and group activities as the store opens and stabilizes, including painting, metaphysical healing, and other crafts.
"It's just to make us have more community... We can teach each other how to paint and then laugh at what we came up with, or be in awe of what we came up with. Just something so that you really can meet people who are like-minded... and feel like you really did something with your time, instead of having a hangover the next day," Le May chuckles.
Rather than catering to a single audience, Le May sees her mission as one which reaches across age and other boundaries. To her, there is something quite special in creating a space for personal, creative interaction in the community.
For her, it's all about mutuality. "All of these things I know how to make, I want to be able to share it. And all my friends who know things, they really want to share it. And now that we have a way to share it, a way that's not awkward...we can all sit in a big circle and laugh! This city really needs it."
Selling in the store will remain open, and prospective makers can submit their work to Le May directly at the store's e-mail address. If work is accepted, Le May offers a consistent monthly rental rate for space on the store's shelves, owing to the "collective" name.
And the monthly markets? Le May will continue those as well. With a front and rear parking lot, and a mostly vacant plaza, the owner sees the space as an opportunity for expansion, drawing attention both to her shop and the many artisans she supports.
"I'm not really concerned about my background...it's more about everybody else. I just want [the store] to be about everybody else, and having this opportunity to share."
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The Treehouse Collective hosts its grand opening celebration from 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, September 6, featuring dozens of local artists and crafters, live painting, and live music from Owl & Penny. Complete information is available on the event's official Facebook page.
Editor's note: This post has been modified from its original version.