A Palouse woman named her business after a common sight among the rolling hills of the region.
The store is called Swale, which is the word for a low area between two places of higher ground.
“If you drive through the Palouse, the shape is everywhere,” owner Jessie Twigg-Harris said.
That is one example of the way Twigg-Harris has embraced the community she lives with her new business venture. Three years after moving to the Palouse with her family, she could not think of a better place to make her mark.
On Friday, she hosted a pop-up market in her workshop on Main Street to showcase Swale items, which include her own handmade screenprints, textiles, jewelry and other goods. Some of the items on sale were created by other local artists. That afternoon, a steady stream of visitors took time out of their Black Friday to peruse the pop-up’s selection.
Twigg-Harris is looking forward to expanding her passion into a brick and mortar business to go along with her online presence. That retail store will be located in the same space as her workshop at 125 E Main St.
Her store will continue to feature her own products, as well as items created by several local artists that are already on board to sell at Swale.
Twigg-Harris has operated her workshop for three years, but has worked at her craft for much longer.
“I’ve been doing some version of all of these things for the past 15 years,” she said.
To her, though it is small, Palouse was the right place to take on this venture because of the community.
“Palouse is a little bit of a magical town,” she said.
She said that running a business in a small town can be challenging but small businesses like hers are crucial to keeping a town like Palouse vibrant. She said it adds to a sense of community that she hopes to promote.
In addition to running Swale, she also wants to teach her skills to others by hosting a folk school that will offer classes and workshops downtown. A folk school, she said, teaches traditional craft skills, such as making beeswax wraps that can be a good substitute for plastic, she said.
She hopes the school can become another place for locals to connect with each other. Just as important to her as achieving success selling clothes and jewelry is finding ways to bring people together, she said.
“A lot of what I aim to do is celebrate the community,” she said.
Anthony Kuipers can be reached at (208) 883-4640, or by email to email@example.com.