Destination Tacoma: Revisioned—An Urban Boutique

This column seeks to provide key spots on the map for those with adventurous spirits to get out of the school bubble and explore this amazing town we call home. Please direct all comments, complaints and suggestions/requests to trailfeatures@pugetsound.edu.

Boutiques are great for finding tidbits from a variety of local artists but Naarah McDonald of Revisioned strives to go far beyond that. Her mission is to re-educate people in purchasing local, not just to support the artists, but to better understand and appreciate the quality of craftsmanship that goes into these products, as well as the stories of the people behind the products.

McDonald started as a costumer for a variety of theatre and dance companies. She later opened a business called Revisioned Fibers in 2009 that reimagined everyday items in unique and creative ways. Then about six months ago she came up with the idea for this business, and merged the two into Revisioned.

Revisioned hosts about 30 vendors, ranging from knit hats and scarves to makeup to wooden carvings to beaded video game-themed keychains and jewelry to the company that leased them the space—Pip & Lola’s Handmade Soaps—whose products take up most of the store. They use natural ingredients to create one-of-a-kind soap bars, shaving bars, lotion bars and even shampoo bars!

McDonald explained that her goal was to build community that was local and sustainable but also with great quality, a standard held by the kinds of companies she represents. She hopes to re-educate people in the value of purchasing local, not just because it helps artists and business owners financially, not just because they’re your neighbors and you want to support them, but in what craftsmanship means.

“Why would you buy a cheap version at WalMart that’s only going to last a year, when you can buy a local, quality version made by someone who truly cares, that will last 10 or more years?” she said.

She also talked about wanting to connect people to the artists themselves, and particularly the stories they had to tell. Everyone has a story of how they got there, why those products, why that way—stories that people miss in bigger stores.

Revisioned supports artists by giving them an opportunity to get their name out there without having to go through the hassle of finding and running their own store. It’s also a little different from other boutiques in that it gives the higher percentage of the profits to the artists, rather than most of the profits going to the boutiques themselves. It still isn’t a lot, but at least the artists can cover costs, rather than having to pay to get their names out there.

McDonald also had a piece of advice for fellow students.

“BE BOLD. Don’t be afraid to take risks in this world. Your generation has been gifted with the opportunity to create your own paths in life, so take full advantage of that!” she said. “And if you find yourself having to work four jobs, make them ones you create for yourself, things that inspire you and you are passionate about and can use to challenge the world.”

She also said for those who have created something—writing, art, scarves, whatever!—to be sure you find someone to look at your work and give you its true value. It can be hard to judge your own work, but find someone you trust so you can harvest in your work’s full quality and value. Travel, inspire, create, challenge and be bold!

Find this lovely little boutique at 741 St. Helens Ave, www.revisionedfibers.com, or by calling (253) 271-9174. You can find more info about all the vendors at the store, but Pip & Lola’s soaps can be found on Etsy and www.pipandlola.com. The owners are moving this summer though, and it is uncertain how long they’ll continue to supply to that store, so be sure to check them out before it’s too late!