Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Little shop of courage

Success at farmers market gave Brenda Weiss the confidence she needed to quit her day job

  • Print

It all started with a booth at the St. Norbert Farmers' Market more than a decade ago, where Brenda Weiss first offered her original beaded pieces to the public. Her creations sold like crazy -- so much so, it gave her the courage to quit the insurance business, where she felt like a purple and orange person in a blue and brown industry.

She started a shop on Academy Road and set up beading classes as well. That location wasn't the best for her; traffic went whizzing by on the short cut to the St. James bridge. Where many people might have given up the dream, she and her husband, Shane, took the "Go big or go home" attitude. Instead of folding, they went to China, where Brenda loaded up on thousands of unique beads and came back to reopen at 653 Corydon Ave., where her shop, Boutique Unique, is much busier.

The sexy split-level shop, which used to be the Ooh La La hair salon, now looks like a fancy French brothel in hot pink and charcoal with demi-mannequins and mirrors on the walls. Most days, it's full of women checking out the glitzy cocktail dresses and funky accessories -- although guys are welcome.

"If a guy knows what his woman likes, I'll take him around the store, help him pick something great, gift-wrap it, get him a card and have him sign it. In a few minutes, he's out of the store looking all thoughtful and ready to go."

Weiss tends to think the best of people. When she first arrived in Corydon Village, a busy neighbourhood with lots of foot traffic, she decided to put a display of colourful purses outside to attract people. Quite a few people were attracted -- and many went home with "free" purses that day. Now she's got them discreetly chained.

Weiss teaches jewelry-making courses in the back, such as Seven Days of Bling, where you take a group of your BFFs and everybody goes home with seven pairs of earrings they made themselves.

This month, the shop is hopping with brides and their entourages picking up custom-designed beaded fantasy headpieces to go with their veils. While some brides want a tiara and the whole nine yards, Weiss said a hot trend this season is bird-cage veils -- feather and bead "fascinator" pieces on combs for the side of the bride's hairdo, with detachable short net veils.

Weiss hasn't forgotten her roots, though. Every Saturday, rain or shine, you can still find her from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Booth No. 59 at the St. Norbert Farmers' Market, selling beaded jewellery and chatting with the locals.

"The greatest people come there -- people who like to shop local, people who have come year after year."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 24, 2012 A8

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart - The Floodway Connection

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.
  • A mother goose has chosen a rather busy spot to nest her eggs- in the parking lot of St Vital Centre on a boulevard. Countless cars buzz by and people have begun to bring it food.-Goose Challenge Day 06 - May 08, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What's your take on a report that shows violent crime is decreasing in Winnipeg?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google