Artisanat Home Decor is a craft-lover’s dream. Nestled off Kuykendahl Road in The Woodlands, the airy, open space is holds an eclectic mix of Mexican-made wood furniture, gifts from around the country, and local art.
Owner Melissa Arteaga opened the store last December as a natural extension of her own crafting. Arteaga, who was born in Mexico, studied biology as an undergrad at St. Thomas, where she created wall signs and string art as an outlet for stress. After sending some of her pieces to friends in Mexico, Arteaga found people wanted to buy them off her.
“It actually helped me a lot to make things, so if I could get a little bit of money out of that, what was the harm, right?” she says.
Friends back in Mexico wanted their company logos made from Arteaga's string art, and suddenly, business was booming. What was once a side hustle became an opportunity for a legitimate career. With support from her father, husband and friends—many entrepreneurs themselves—Arteaga decided to open a storefront in her home in The Woodlands, where there was a drought of outposts for home- and artisan-made art. Arteaga's husband, who studies business, has been her “rock and biggest cheerleader,” she says.
The endeavor didn't come without challenges, though. At 27 and with no business experience of her own to rely on, Arteaga had a hard time finding landlords who would take her seriously.
“There’s no actual manual that you can just go to and be like, okay, I’m trying to open a home decor store, what do I need?” she says. “You have to just figure it out.”
She did, and the store doesn’t just sell art—it offers customers an opportunity to make it, too. Artisanat holds how-to workshops on crafting everything from Arteaga's beloved string art to copper fixtures to plant hangers.
“I firmly believe that almost everyone is capable of making their own thing if they just have the right instructions or understanding of the process,” Arteaga says. “I know that there are a lot of people like myself who are crazy about DIY. It was a little bit of that creative side of me that wanted to provide these people with the tools and the instructions and the understanding of everything that goes into [it].”
Classrooms hold up to 16 people, but Arteaga likes the personalized attention that comes with smaller groups. String art classes are particularly popular; workshops range in price from around $27 to $120 depending on what students will take home.
Arteaga’s goal for the store is simple: “I want to get all the community and all the people to understand and appreciate everything that goes into a piece of art,” she says.
Eventually, Arteaga wants to open a larger location, and there's plenty of demand for more stores, she says. For now, though, she wants The Woodlands spot to be the best it can be and to develop some name recognition around Artisanat.
“I’m just trying to make people understand there’s a lot of value and a lot of sentiment into everything that is handmade,” she says. “I think we should keep supporting people who make things, not only to help them make money, but to actually preserve everything that these people are capable of.”