Urban Gypsy for gypsy in us all
- Published: July 9, 2015
Nose butter for dogs. Car air fresheners. Handmade jewelry. Flowered sneakers for kids. Baby gifts. Sundresses. Meditation candles. Cowboy hats. Gourmet pretzels. Rain boots. Indeed, “eclectic” hardly begins to describe the wide variety of products offered at Urban Gypsy, one of the village’s newest stores.
“It’s my little gypsy market,” said owner Brenda Kennedy last week. “It’s a little bit of everything.”
The tiny store is housed at 138 Dayton St., the former location of Sweet Sanaa shoe store. And it wasn’t easy to fit everything inside.
“We got creative,” Kennedy said.
Urban Gypsy is the second iteration of retail for Kennedy, who opened the Dirty Fabulous vintage clothing store last year, also on Dayton Street. While Dirty Fabulous isn’t exactly closed — its wares can still be found in the back of Iona Boutique, which took over the location — the store is no longer the focus of Kennedy’s energy, although she continues to love vintage clothing.
But vintage clothing, which depends on finding the right person in the right size for a specific item, turned out to be unsustainable as the basis for a business, Kennedy found. She couldn’t help but notice that the small novelty items in Dirty Fabulous sold better than her clothing, so she decided to open a new store with only those items.
The word ‘gypsy’ seemed a good fit for the new store, Kennedy said, because it connotes something that is both earthy and a bit flamboyant, qualities she seeks in the products she sells.
“Gypsy seems to mean something that’s not only natural and organic, but embellished,” she said.
Pretty much every item in Urban Gypsy looks unique, from the cinnamon/sugar-dusted pretzels from the Ohio company Yankee Doodle to bandeaus from Natural Life to skin products from the Black Kettle Soap Company. Kennedy wants to promote the wares of small businesses, some of which are local and some not. She gets satisfaction feeling that she’s helping small business owners to find outlets for their products, and she encourages local artists and craftspeople to give her a try.
“Let me try your product, and we’ll see what we can do,” she said.
Urban Gypsy also highlights the products of companies that make a practice of giving back to the community or to the world. For instance, Good Works/Make a Difference, a California company that makes jewelry that Kennedy sells, donates 25 percent of its profits to the homeless. Natural Life of Florida uses a portion of its proceeds to hold camps that are empowering to girls. Tom’s Shoes, which makes the shoes for kids and adults in Urban Gypsy, provides help to a person in need with every product sold. Soul Flower, which makes yoga clothing, supports carbon restoration funds with its profits. And Made for Freedom, which produces clothing and bags, provides jobs and protection for sex trafficking survivors.
“I try to find products that I love but also companies that give back,” she said.
Along with the satisfaction of promoting small businesses and companies that do good works, Kennedy gets pleasure in meeting people and providing a space for her customers to relax. Kennedy was once one of those people, coming to Yellow Springs for stress relief when she worked at a high-powered job teaching at the College of Dentistry in Columbus. Now, she enjoys the tourists she meets from Columbus or Cincinnati who have traveled to Yellow Springs for a day out of the rat race.
“I want my customer to feel their day has been enhanced, to make them smile,” she said, adding, “and I want to give a little back along the way.”