With earrings designed from deer antlers made by an Alaskan Eskimo and pens hand-carved by woodcrafters, The Purple Monkey features an assortment of items from local art vendors.
“We like to think ‘unique’ is our middle name,” said Linda Martin, the store’s co-owner.
The Purple Monkey, 11 S. Water St., is a craft store that opened in September.
“People chose us because we have great prices,” Martin added. “It’s hard not to come in and not find something you like for under $10.”
The store consigns work from local crafters, who receive 65 percent of the profit from sales.
“It’s hard for smaller crafters to rent booths (at craft fairs) for $125,” she said. “This allows them to sell their products.”
Martin met Josi Dautel, the store’s other owner, at a garage sale a few years ago.
“We just clicked,” Dautel said. “We had a lot in common. We even shared the same birthday.”
Dautel was a project coordinator for construction sites, while Martin had worked as a bookkeeper on the East Coast for most of her life.
“I worked in the industry for a while,” Martin said. “I worked with some pretty big firms.”
After moving to Las Vegas, finding work was hard.
“I had to beg for a data entry job,” she said.
Despite having her career most of her life, Martin said she was discontent.
“I was just going through life wasting space,” she said. “I only now just started living.”
Dautel said she had dreamed of the store concept for about 25 years.
“People are tired of getting the same things from Walmart or Target,” she said. “They are looking for something different.”
Around the same time, both got laid off from their jobs and saw this as an opportunity to start something new.
“I don’t believe in fate. I believe in God,” Martin said. “Sometimes he has a plan laid out that maybe we didn’t recognize or follow through. But when one door closes, another opens. So I put on my big-girl panties and picked myself up.”
They had fallen in love with other vendors and stores with similar models and knew this concept would work.
“It’s two sides of the coin,” she said. “I get to help shoppers discover new things and help crafters who couldn’t market their crafts. It’s fulfilling.”
Dautel said she always wanted to have a business on Water Street.
“I want to bring the artsy fartsy back to the area,” she said.
Martin added that they chose the Water Street District because they saw the potential of the area.
The store started with about four crafters. It now has worked with more than 50, ranging from woodcrafters to welders and dollmakers.
“All the vendors are just incredible,” Dautel said. “It feels like family.”
She added that she is more the creative side while Martin handles the business and marketing side of things.
Dautel came up with the name the Purple Monkey.
“It was originally going to be called the Pink Rhino until we realized it was a strip club,” Martin said. “So we changed the color and the animal slightly.”
But the new concept has helped funnel in curious customers.
“I am shocked at the amount of people who come in because they said they love the color purple so they needed to see what the store was all about,” she said. “That’s the same with monkeys.”
The store has done some advertising in an attempt to attract customers. “But mostly it’s immediate neighbors and word of mouth,” Martin said.
She also gets people who were referred to the shop by other businesses in the Water Street District.
“We help each other out,” she said.
Martin said her next business venture is going to be an antique store.
“I would like to have it on Water Street if I can,” she said.
For now, the team is trying to continue to spread the word about the store.
“About half the city knows about us,” she said. “Now I need to get the other half, and I won’t stop until I do.”
For more information, visit purplemonkeynv.com.
Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at email@example.com or 702-387-5201.