Shops Review: Mish Mash Studio
Prepare to be overwhelmed—in a good way—when you step into Mish Mash Studio. Located in a strip mall on Valley View Road, this shop is a treasure trove of vintage clothing and household items, handmade goods and jewelry by local artists, retro favorites and much more.
Consider the finds of one recent visit: Colorful oil-cloth kitchen tablecloths (and funky tote bags made from the same durable material); gorgeous one-of-a-kind bridal bouquets fashioned out of sparkling vintage brooches; elegant initial-pendant necklaces; old-school dinner plates; and a Brady Bunch coloring book, circa 1970.
Mish Mash Studio grew out of the friendship and common passions of Edina resident Annie Schilling and Marlena Barry, who lives in Richfield. Schilling had been making and selling handcrafted jewelry (the pendants and bridal bouquets are her creations) for three years when she met Barry (a longtime crafter and first-class baker) while both were on the craft show circuit. Before long, a brainstorm began to brew.
“Everything happened pretty fast. We came up with the idea for Mish Mash Studio around Valentine’s Day of 2011, had the keys to this place by March and opened in April,” Schilling says. “Then the fun really started.”
The “vintage scouting” began in earnest, as the pair scoured church rummage sales, estate sales, Craigslist and newspaper ads; they even have been known to execute the occasional “Dumpster dive.”
“Our model is to watch trends, but provide items for a much more reasonable price,” Barry says. “One of our customers always says ‘a fast nickel is better than a slow quarter,’ and we really believe that’s true.”
Another major trend—repurposing, reusing and recycling—is the mantra at Mish Mash Studio. It’s a concept they see clicking with their younger and older customers, but not as much with those in between.
“The hipsters, who are 25 to 35, totally get it. They are fully on board with the cool factor,” Schilling says. “The older generation is very nostalgic about vintage items and really values them. It’s the group in their 40s who seems to be more interested in the latest trends and the disposable things,” or at very least haven’t been frequenting the shop as much, thus far.
Melinda Kordich is one of 30 local artists who sells handcrafted items at Mish Mash. She also works at the shop twice a week and loves to see customers making emotional connections with the store’s merchandise.
“I’m a nostalgic person. I’m still using my grandmother’s mixing bowl,” she says. “In this day and age, I really think many people long for those connections to the past.”
Beyond the shopping component of Mish Mash, there is a special area devoted to creativity. Kids and adults gather around a big table covered with colorful oil cloth and participate in a variety of workshops (listed on the store website monthly) for making everything from jewelry to T-shirts to maps.
“We are always inspired by our customers and their ideas,” Schilling says. “We also wanted to establish a space in our store where people can create and have conversation.”
Mish Mash even offers 90-minute birthday parties for up to 10 guests in this “glitter-friendly” space (the store is a former bike shop, so the back area has a rubber floor), with shelves full of art supplies like markers, wallpaper books, fabric, buttons and more. Customers can bring in food or order a birthday cake from house baker extraordinaire Barry.
Even in the midst of running a new business and raising families—Schilling has two children and Barry has four—the women are forever trying out new art and craft projects themselves.
“I just love the way Annie’s mind works. She’s always saying ‘I’m going to make this with that,’” Kordich says. “It’s amazing the ideas she comes up with.”
“Oh, that’s a blessing and a curse,” Schilling inserts with a laugh.
Mish Mash Studio
4504B Valley View Rd.
Hours: 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday
10 a.m.–6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday
Closed Sunday and Monday
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