Every time I hear “Shop the Loop” mentioned in conversation, it’s always met with a remark of excitement and anticipation. While it may be among the newer Taylor traditions, it has quickly become an event loved by all.
If you’ve been out of the loop — pun certainly intended — Shop the Loop is an event where students can peruse the hobbies, side hustles and small businesses of their fellow Taylor students. Customers come away with new products to call their own or gift to others — whether it be paintings, mugs, jewelry, donuts or stickers. Shop the Loop is an amazing experience, but more than that, it’s an opportunity to support the passions of your peers and the dreams they hope to build from them.
Now, I’m not saying that everyone at Shop the Loop is going to turn their booth into their full-time job. Regardless of the future pursuits of the vendors, your support is funding their dreams — whether it be med school or just some groceries. Even when you’re only spending a few dollars here and there, sooner or later those multiply to make a real impact. Sure, you can probably buy something quicker or cheaper from Amazon, but by shopping locally at Shop the Loop, you are getting a product made by hand for the purpose of bringing joy.
I began my business, Dang Good Dangles, when we were sent home from school in 2020. I had run out of steam on all my other artistic pastimes and was in desperate need of something new and challenging. I initially just made whatever came to mind, and some of my first pairs of earrings were downright laughable. They were poorly constructed, brittle and lacked creativity. But we all have to start somewhere in order to see how far we’ve come, right?
Perhaps the greatest joy of my day is when someone comes up to me and exclaims, “Look!” and shows me their earrings with a huge grin on their face. There is no greater compliment than that. Every time I make a pair of earrings, I look forward to these moments, where friends and total strangers fall in love with the things I create. There is no greater joy as an artist than having someone deem your work valuable and precious, and seeing the ways my customers style their earrings shows me that I am bringing joy to them, even if it’s only in a simple way.
So why should you shop locally at Shop the Loop on Oct. 20? First, our community is filled with incredibly talented people, and this is one of the opportunities where we get to come together and celebrate them. Second, you get to explore new and unique products that you can’t find anywhere else. Shop the Loop booths are full of one-of-a-kind products that bring an extra element of whimsy and individuality to your shopping experience. Third, you are supporting friends and even strangers as they work toward their dreams. For some, Shop the Loop may mean going out on a social limb and discovering that people aren’t actually all that scary. For others, it may mean finally sharing their passion with the Taylor community. It may mean someone is told — maybe even for the first time — that what they create is good, beautiful and worthwhile.
Shop the Loop gives us — artists and entrepreneurs alike — the opportunity to share the love that is ingrained in making our products. By doing so, we reveal some of the deepest, truest parts of ourselves, and we get the opportunity to be grateful for a community that chooses to support us. By shopping from local vendors, you are getting far more than some new jewelry, clothes or snacks. You are participating in something infinitely greater than yourself — you are funding the future. And who can say fairer than that?