Duct tape. Paper scraps. Wax. The ingredients for a successful après ski happy hour at Everything Hunky Dory differ from those of its Village at Squaw Valley neighbors, but the energy inside bears a striking resemblance. “Similar to the Chamois it can get a little unruly,” says Lauren Hickey, owner of the village craft store, which opened a year ago. “I can’t lie; I love the chaos a bit.”
Passersby often pen Hickey’s store as a candle making shop, but it’s much more. Though candle making is a customer favorite, Everything Hunky Dory also specializes in walking customers through duct tape projects (like crafting wallets out of colorful and patterned duct tape) and button making, the “sleeper craft,” according to Hickey. I have to admit, button making was the last on my wish list for my afternoon spent at Everything Hunky Dory, but I left addicted. Hickey and her staff provide markers, fabric, paper scraps, and stickers that you can collage onto one of three differently sized buttons, which can function as pins, zipper pulls, magnets, or pocket mirrors. Hickey even sells a selection of her premade pins and magnets made of dried Tahoe wildflowers laid over pretty fabrics. There is also a selection of arts and crafts books, gifts, and jewelry, all with a handmade spin. Local artists like Alix Klein, who makes earrings out of old bike tires, are represented as well as global favorite art products like Tattly temporary tattoos.
The ambiance inside the shop is cheery and fun with bright pinks and oranges, and mismatched painted chairs around a T-shaped crafting table. Depending on how you time it, it can be quiet and calming inside, or a jungle of ski team kids squealing and chatting over their projects. It’s a spot that attracts everyone, “from 2 to 92,” Hickey likes to say. Hickey and her staff are constantly humming with side work like finishing cooled candles and assisting customers. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think they were all sisters instead of employees and boss. Topics on craft trends like “squirrels are the new owls” are discussed in depth. And though Hickey is the sole owner, she says “we” a lot when discussing her operation, a testament to the community feel of the store and how much she values her staff.
Hickey grew up in Connecticut with three sisters and a crafting mom; she now has 11 nieces and nephews. “Some of my happiest memories from childhood were crafting with my family,” she says, “from learning to cross-stitch on the way to Hershey Amusement Park when I was 9 to making Christmas gifts each year for my friends.” Her store is an extension of that “happy,” a way to “spread the stoke,” she likes to say. Crafters at Hunky Dory don’t just churn out a product; they learn valuable skills that they can build on further at home, like the best way to tear duct tape. “We give pointers that really make a difference so you can cast all worries aside,” she says. “It’s 100 percent grin-guaranteeing crafting.”
In addition to the drop-in button, duct tape, and candle crafting workshops, there are Friday Fun Nights in the off-season that feature a specific project like making cards, stamps, or candles in teacups, and a functional featured project each busy season. This past summer, crafters could make flip-flops entirely out of duct tape; this winter, it’s adding flair to your ski poles by wrapping them in duct tape. During events in the village, you’ll typically find an Everything Hunky Dory pop-up offering hands-on activities like tie-dye for the Brews Jazz Funk Fest or button making for Bluesdays. Everything Hunky Dory is also active with the local schools, spearheading projects out of the shop’s waste wax that the schools can then auction off. One such example is Tahoe Expedition Academy’s ice candles, lacy hollow candles made by employing ice in the process.
On Feb. 8, Everything Hunky Dory celebrated one year in business, but it’s already etched an important place in the North Tahoe community and will continue to evolve. Hickey picked the name because it’s all-encompassing and can apply to a number of crafts. “I may have had a great idea, but would be nowhere without the support of my rock star staff, my amazing friends that spread the stoke, and the loyal customers that have made my first year in business one of the best years,” Hickey says. “The network of local businesses in Tahoe are so unique and awesome; I count my lucky stars to be one of them. Believing in Tahoe, this community, is why I’m here, why we built this business.”
For more info, visit everythinghunkydory.com
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