Emily Fritz | A&E Editor
Used originally as a historic carriage house, Phipps Garden Center has become home to adult education classes and experimental gardening research.
From Sept. 8 to 10, however, it was overflowing with local vendors and craftspeople sharing their sustainable, nature-inspired products and specialties.
Popular attendees included Sol Patch Garden, Una Biologicals, 1:11 Juice Bar, Lil Fairy Co. and Sand Hill Berries.
Tandem to botanical illustrations, mushroom dyeing and Phipps’ own Master Gardeners was Mellon Park’s annual “A Fair in the Park,” organized by Craftsmen’s Guild of Pittsburgh.
For many of the vendors, this brings in a larger and more diverse group of local consumers.
“The Garden Center staff invited us years ago and we have come every year,” said Susan Lynn, co-owner of Sand Hill Berries.
The Sand Hill Berries tent offered fresh berries and homemade pies either whole or by the slice.
Similarly, 1:11 Juice Bar found success outside of their brick-and-motar location on East Carson Street.
“It was a great weekend. We were able to see some of our farmer’s market vendor friends, meet so many new people — which also meant we got to introduce our products to a whole new category of future customer, — and the atmosphere was relaxing and fun. We moved hundreds of bottles of juice, so it was really well received,” said owner and president Emily Thorton.
Although her business is just shy of a year-and-a-half-old, profits have soared from particpating in multiple Phipps Garden Center events.
“We’ve doubled, tripled and at times quadrupled numbers from last year. Those are things dreams are made of, and it just gives us a sense that we are on the right track and fighting for something worthwhile. Each opportunity to participate in events [like this one] has launched us further and further toward our goals,” Thorton said.
Attendees had the opportunity to purchase from and interact with small businesses selling a variety of products, including fresh and dried botanicals, gardening resource books, fairy garden decor, all-natural skin care and soaps and original and printed artwork.
“The dried flowers last at least a year,” said Collette Walsh, owner and founder of Sol Patch Gardens.
Sustainable and long-lasting products were a staple at the boutique, encouraging guests to savor products and reduce their single-use purchases.
“People use what they’re used to,” said Jessica Graves, CEO of Una Biologicals.
Graves’ products last far longer than the average jar of moisturizer.
“I usually get about four months out of the larger one,” she said.
Many passerbys sampled her products generously.
“That’s enough for your whole leg,” she joked as a customer took a quarter sized amount of sample lotion.
“I am passionate about helping people find their healthy way of living and have been blessed to be able to work with so many truly amazing people through Una. It is a joy to create happiness and healthfulness for our client-family, one great product at a time,” Graves said on her website.