Creative Women of the World Shop Stocks Fair Trade Items

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Some of the beautiful jewelry sold at Creative Women of the World

One of Fort Wayne’s newest and coolest downtown shops is Creative Women of the World.

Located at 125 West Wayne Street across from Cindy’s Diner and in the same block as J.K. O’Donnell’s Irish Pub, Creative Women of the World is filled with beautiful handmade items made in countries around the world such as: Cambodia, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Kenya, Nepal, Tibet, Turkey, and Tajikistan.

From purses and jewelry, to home décor, the store stocks all of these stylish and well-made items. The store has a two-fold goal – everything is made by women who desire to better their lives through their artistic talents. The other goal is to pay the women a Fair Trade salary for the items which are usually made from discarded items found in their countries. These include discarded tires, plastic bags, gum and candy wrappers, and soda can lids to make something new and attractive. I challenge you to look at some of the items and guess a) which country it came from and b) what it is made of. Hint: Look closely at the black purse and you may spy the tread of the original tire. It just makes the pattern look great!

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Chocolate is also sold at Creative Women of the World!

The items in Creative Women of the World are not expensive. I was just in there again last weekend and double checked – most of the jewelry items are under $20. The items I bought for Christmas presents last year were a hit with my sisters and nieces and daughters. Two of them shopped with me last weekend. One bought a purse for a friend and the other purchased a gorgeous flowery wrap for her shoulders recycled from a sari. They also stock chocolate and coffee made around the world.

On July 11 the shop is coordinating a fashion show with the Fort Wayne History Center to combine the focus of both of these great locales. The show, called Empower Her World, is a celebration of fashion and culture. There will be a runway showcasing global fashion. Attendees can also participate in a live auction of new items carried in the shop.

For more information you can call Creative Women of the World at at 260.267.9048, or go to the Empower Her World website.


Kayleen Reusser has written children’s books and had stories in Chicken Soup books. She writes features for the News-Sentinel newspaper and profiles for the Ossian Sun Riser. She loves to travel and write about her experiences at her website:

Barr Street Market is back and bigger than ever!

When Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana revived the historic Barr Street Market 8 years ago, no one could have predicted how large it would grow. The first year, it featured four vendors, and this year it has grown to over twenty, ranging from baked goods and produce, to ceramics and ice cream.

Open every Saturday from 9 AM to 1 PM, May through September, at the corner of Wayne and Barr Streets, the market is a producer-only market. This means vendors personally make or grow the products they sell, and every vendor is local as well.

I love visiting the market. Since it is downtown, it makes me feel like I’m a part of the city – alive with the hustle and bustle of people and vendors. My husband and I live close enough to ride our bikes, which offers us a chance to spend time together and enjoy the trails. For those outside biking distance the History Center offers free parking. It is also open to the public for free during the market, making for a great family outing opportunity.

BSM 286x300 Barr Street Market is back and bigger than ever!

This year, my husband and I are vendors at the market, which provides us with a deeper appreciation for YLNI’s efforts to organize the market each year. We started our own business earlier this year and the market offers us the opportunity to get our products in front of a larger audience. Our goal is to make people happy and improve their quality of life through our products, and Barr Street is a great fit because its goal is to improve quality of life in our community, too.

Make plans to head downtown soon. Barr Street Market won’t disappoint.


Amber Recker moved here from Illinois in 2002 and is proud to call Fort Wayne home. She's a marketing professional, freelance writer, community volunteer, and food blogger, with over ten years of writing and editing experience. By day, she serves as the director of marketing for PUNCH Films. In her spare time, she volunteers for several non-profit organizations and creates content for a service-centered blog, She and her husband also own Ginger Kitchen Gourmet Ice Cream, preparing small-batch, locally sourced ice cream. The two also enjoy spending time in the kitchen and share their culinary creations at

Find your summer style at Fort Wayne stores

Spring is in full spring, and that means summer is right around the corner. It’s easy to stay on top of the latest trends by shopping at local stores. Here are a few places where you can find male and female-centric  options for sweet summer threads:

Belyst: This boutique specializes in designer apparel and accessories for creative and free-spirited women. Check out their selection of vintage and handmade jewelry and works by local artists. They even carry swimwear by local designer OFabz.

photo 300x197 Find your summer style at Fort Wayne storesJophiel:  Located in Covington Plaza near Belyst, Jophiel is another destination for women who want higher end clothes. Here you can find some of the hottest trends for spring/summer 2013, including digital prints, abstract prints,  snakeskin, fun dresses, and shoes to complement the styles.  If you need help sorting thru all the trends, the staff at Jophiel are here to help. Personalized wardrobe assistance, a single outfit or a complete makeover. They look at what you own, then collaborate on what you may need.

Christopher James Menswear:  While women are shopping, men should head to Christopher James. They have been a part of the community for over 20 years.  Friendly and knowledgeable, staff take the time to get to know you to deliver the best service possible. They carry a variety of high-end, stylish brands that will take you from work to play and everywhere in-between!

Clothes Mentor: For the budget conscious, Clothes Mentor is a great option to find in style clothes, at a budget-friendly price. You can buy the most sought-after brands “gently-used” in like-new condition for about 70% off of mall store prices. They carry  sizes 0-26, petites and maternity.

Rockin’ Ruby’s Vintage Threads:  Old is new again, and what better way to show off your personal style than with vintage clothes? Check out the merchandise from 10 am to 5 pm most days, at 835 W. Wayne St., Suite 202 (across from JK O’Donnell’s) You’re sure to find that one-of-a-kind item!

So, there you have it: five ways to get in style for summer 2013. Your friends and family will wonder how you managed. Tell them your secret is a visit to Fort Wayne!


Lauren Caggiano was raised in Fort Wayne, and returned in 2007 upon graduation from the University of Dayton. The president of WriteOn LLC, she specializes in writing, marketing, and French translation. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, yoga and volunteering. In the summer you can catch her riding around downtown on her vintage green Schwinn. For more information, check out her website:

411 on Matilda Jane’s 435 Art Fair

A summer day under a tent in the park. You’re browsing the latest creations of talented artisans and meeting new people along the way. You might be shopping for gifts or maybe it’s a day out with your girlfriends. Either way, you’re at an Art Fair.

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That’s where it all started for local girls clothing company, Matilda Jane. However, it’s grown from its art fair roots into a privately-held, successful company that releases several clothing collections each year in addition to its “Platinum” brand that are limited release, locally sewn dresses, pants, tops and accessories.

Despite the large scale of its operation now, Matilda Jane is still at its heart, creating clothes that make girls of every age feel fun and beautiful.

Once a year, MJC (as it’s known to its throngs of followers around the country) goes back to its roots and hosts Art Fair. On the last Saturday in June, you have eight hours to shop in the 435 Building that until recently housed MJC operations.

When and Where is Art Fair?

Art Fair is June 29, 2013 at 435 E Brackenridge Street, Fort Wayne, IN. Shopping will be open from 8am-12pm and again from 1-5pm.

What to expect?

Oodles and oodles of beautiful clothes for your darling daughter. You won’t necessarily find them at a discount, but it’s not about the price with these pieces. It’s about the access to unique items designed in very limited quantities that are sold through the year on the Platinum website. These items usually disappear before you can click “buy!” Prices at Art Fair range from $38-64.

TIP FROM THE INSIDER: Look for a tag inside the garment that shows a number. This indicates how many of that design were produced and which limited addition piece you have. You might even find something that’s one-of-a-kind!

What time do I need to get in line?

That is up to you. First, be aware the MJC Team will be restocking Art Fair throughout the day and specifically during the break at Noon. You shouldn’t feel like you need to sleep through the night outside in order to get your darling daughter something she’ll love. Remember, this building is located on a fairly vacant downtown street so you’re waiting at your own risk.

TIP FROM THE INSIDER: You can get updates on where the line will start or where the entrance is by following the Matilda Jane blog.

If I get to the Art Fair at 10 or 11am will I have time to shop before 12pm?

As long as you are in line to check out by 11:00am you will be good for the first session. In previous years, the line outside is gone by 8:45 or 9am. However, each year has surpassed previous expectations. But, not to worry, if you miss the first session, you’ll be right there to start the second session at 1pm! Also, four Fort Wayne food trucks will be out front from 11am – 1pm and the Coffee Beanery will be onsite from 6:30am – 5pm to keep you fueled.

Do I need a ticket to get in?

No. For the shopping portion of Art Fair on Saturday, there is no ticket required and the event is open to all.

Is there a limit to how much I can purchase?

You can only check out with 20 items or 4 bags at one time. However, you can check out as many times as you want.

Do they offer a babysitter service?

No, but I’m sure this is a great opportunity for a budding entrepreneur!

TIP FROM THE INSIDER: If you have the option, leave your little ones at home. We ladies are passionate about our Platinum and it can get crowded with Moms and armfuls of garments.

What should I do in Fort Wayne after I’ve shopped the Art Fair?

If you didn’t purchase tickets through Matilda Jane for any of their other weekend events, don’t feel like you’re missing out! There are still plenty of things to do whether you’re visiting on a girl’s weekend or a mother-daughter-trip. You might consider a walking tour of downtown, a visit to the Botanical Gardens, taking in a TinCaps game at Parkview Field or simply dining al fresco at any number of our local restaurants.

See you there!



A Fort Wayne native, Heather is a married with two children and works as Director of Community Engagement for Parkview Health. She's passionate about living and serving in the community with organizations including Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Indiana, Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. In her free time, you’ll find her spending time with her family or friends - most often in downtown Fort Wayne or on Sylvan Lake in Noble County. Team Schoegler's favorite activities are cheering on the TinCaps and Komets as well as catching area concerts. What keeps her calling Fort Wayne home are the many opportunities to make memories and create traditions with her family. Follow her on Twitter at @HSchoegler.

View Comments

3 Responses to "411 on Matilda Jane’s 435 Art Fair"

July 8th, 2013
They haven’t announced it yet, but traditionally, Art Fair is held one of the last weekends in June.
MatildaJane love aka Luvmi
July 8th, 2013
When's 2014. Date time please lol.
Erica Scott
June 20th, 2013
Thank you so much! Very helpful post!!

Enjoy Art in the Park this Summer

I love Art in the Park so writing about it (and keeping it brief) is both a highlight and a challenge for me. As part of the Three Rivers Festival, Art in the Park boasts over 40 vendors and more than 30,000 visitors.  Many consider it a cornerstone of the kick off weekend of the eight-day Three Rivers Festival.  Personally, I see it as an opportunity to find something fabulous I wouldn’t find anywhere else.

TRF Favorite1 300x178 Enjoy Art in the Park this SummerWith vendors selling a large variety of art at the festival you’re sure to find something that fits your personal style.  Last year, I found the perfect glass and driftwood wind chime for our garden.  Each time I hear it in the breeze I think of the great day we had at last year’s festival enjoying park.   Not in the market for wind chimes?  Past vendors have sold photography, painted glass, hand made soaps, yard art, jewelry, rugs, kitchenware, clothing, and sculptures.  This year’s vendor list hasn’t been announced yet but promises to have even more great artisans for visitors to enjoy.

That’s what makes shopping for art so much fun.  The digging, the exploring, and the shopping all makes it a great day.  Of course, shopping in the beautiful Friemann Square Park makes for an enjoyable day as well.  With the warm summer air and the beautiful setting you’re destine to have a great day.

Set in front of the Arts United Center, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, and next to the annual Chalk Walk event there’s plenty to do in those few blocks.  If it’s an unusually hot July day, pop into the Museum of Art to relax.  Be sure to explore Chalk Walk as locals create works of art on the pavement out of chalk.

Art in the Park will take place Saturday July 13 from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday July 14 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.   The show is free to attend.  Street parking can be found throughout downtown and is free on the weekends.



Michelle Merritt moved to Fort Wayne in 2008 and has found it to be one of the most warm and welcoming cities she's ever lived or worked in. She and her husband Jason live and work in downtown Fort Wayne. Together they are blending their big city urban experiences into life in America's biggest small town. Michelle writes and manages The Momish Blog and the Merrfeld Manor Blog. She is also a contributor to Moms Fort Wayne and The Paperblog where she writes about the joys and challenges of step parenting. Michelle also works as a professional career coach and recruiter.