Aside from being a local favorite for housewarming gifts or handcrafted jewelry, The Nook in Gig Harbor is a mecca for inspiration. Fitting to its name, the footprint of the space is minimal, but it also is curated floor-to-ceiling with beautiful home décor and handmade accessories highlighted by soft sunlight.
Friends Stephanie Hammel and Linnea Bergstrom opened The Nook in downtown Gig Harbor in June 2017. The store came together as a fusion of each of their passions — Bergstrom had been operating an online boutique of ethically made and fair-trade products, and Hammel was reclaiming tired furniture and selling it.
Hammel has since taken over as the sole owner, and Bergstrom is branching off again as an online-only retailer with MadeGH.com. This past year has been all about discovering an identity and learning about the needs of the customers, she said. Prior to opening the store, Hammel worked in the insurance industry, and after years of being in the corporate grind, Hammel said she wanted to step into something more creative. Thus, The Nook was born.
When The Nook first launched, it sold a variety of fair-trade and ethically made products, and some small household furniture. Recently, Hammel’s steered away from the furniture aspect and is now focusing her attention on showcasing local artisans, from jewelry makers and apparel designers, to woodworkers and creators of home products.
“Furniture is fun for me, but it’s hard to be passionate about it when you’re pumping it out like that,” she said. “I enjoy finding local artists and representing them here. So that’s essentially the big, big change I made and discovered in the first year.”
At least 10 local artists’ works are sold at The Nook, but one of Hammel’s favorites is Seattle-area woodworker Jared Van Vegten. The two collaborated on a round, midcentury modern piece that’s mostly white, accented by warm, natural wood insets reminiscent of fern fronds. Hammel also partnered with local artist Elle Karel to create a local brand inspired by the salty sea and air of the Pacific Northwest. The pair is in the midst of designing more products and hopes to offer more gear and apparel under the brand.
When you’re perusing the shelves of handcrafted products at The Nook, it will likely stir your creative side, which is why Hammel began hosting workshops as a branch of the store, called The Nook Studio. She’s been bringing in a handful of artists to teach chalk art, furniture painting, leatherwork, and so much more.
“It is cathartic to find a craft to enjoy, and that’s kind of my hope,” Hammel said. “You can enjoy shopping and spending money as a fulfillment, or you can create things to find joy and fulfillment. My dad taught me that a while ago, and it really stuck with me.”
For The Nook Studio events, visit the nookgh/studio, and check out the store’s extended hours.