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And everything in be(Twee)n
Of the questions Melanie Davis fields about the gallery boutique she just open on Wishon Avenue in the Tower District, you get the feeling she hears a lot about the name.
“It's in the dictionary,” says Davis, who co-owns the store with Patty Cappelluti. “It's a real word.”
To point: the shop is called Twee, an English slang that plays off how a baby might say sweet. It means affectedly or excessively dainty, delicate, cute, or quaint. Like, so-cute-you-can-hardly-stand-it.
It's also a genre of indie-pop music if you're cool enough to follow such things.
They came up with the name by Googling words that are fun to say. This after Googling the names of fruits and animals. No doubt chimpmunk and squirrel were on the shortlist for their business cards.
The store, which sells hand-made art goods and accessories, is cute. But not overly so.
Here you'll find hand-made jewelry (an awesome Fresno flag necklace), kids wear (a tiny onesy with an embroidered octopus is a personal favorite from the guy with no children) and assorted knick-knacks (a wall clock made from a vinyl record). There's a set of high ball glasses etched with the words “Look out Gums,” and super-cute (there's the name) pet clothes.
Most of the merchandise is locally made and sold on consignment. Which means the money you spend is going back into the economy not only to Davis and Cappelluti, but the very people who manufacture the stuff.
That means artists getting paid.
In a way, Twee is an extension of Fresno's Etsy movement, and Davis and Cappelluti find much of what they sell via the Web site. The store is a good start for those interested in the hand-made movement, says Silvia Chenault, president of Fresno Etsy Especial (who's hosting an art show at Twee tonight).
She's been doing this for awhile. But she remember what it was like when she started, how scary it was. Cappelluti and Davis wonder why vendors don't return their calls, she says. But you've got to give them time to get used to the idea that a place like this exists. Twee is starting that conversation, she says. It's a place to meet and share crafty ideas.
In fact, there's a table set up in the back for just that purpose. The last Thursday of each month it hosts a craft night, a “ladie's night out.” There's also the craft of the month, which you can make at any time. All you have to do is ask. This month its thank-you notes. In February, Valentines cards.
Shoppers meanwhile, seem to be taking to the idea just fine.
Rebecca Rangel leaves with a journal she bought for the “teenager in her house,” even though this wasn't officially a shopping day. Her friends kept talking about the store, and when she saw it from the road driving by, she just had to stop in — almost caused an accident, she says.
And that's what the handmade movement needs, Cappelluits says.
“There are lots of people who offer support. But it's nice to have some support,” she says, rubbing fingers together in the universal sign for money. Kind thoughts are great, she says.
“But I need to pay the rent.”