Author’s Note: This is the second article in a series that will feature James Street North in Hamilton, Ontario. I will be interviewing businesses/organizations on James St. N. about their perspective on the area. In addition, I will highlight how community members are contributing to a more sustainable Hamilton. If you want some background information on James St. N. you can read the introductory article here.
Humblepie on James St. N. is not your typical shop. The space oozes creativity, with an authentic aura radiating from every corner. Everyday items can be spotted throughout the store; however, these items have become much more. Susan, the owner of Humblepie, utilizes her background in art to create extraordinary upcycled products. Upcycling involves converting “useless” materials into new or better quality products. Saving items from the landfill and giving them a new life is the starting point in reducing our consumption habits. Susan finds creative ways to convert “trash” into functional art-pieces. By making use of secondary materials, Humblepie embodies the mantra: “reduce, reuse, and recycle.” Instead of turning their back on used materials, Humblepie embraces the upcycling mind-set and contributes to a more sustainable city.
The underlying lesson Humblepie teaches is simple: we need to overcome our insistence for “new” and buy something used. The mind-set of consumers is to seek out the newest, state-of-the-art product and abandon the older ones. Susan suggests that we should be motivated by the “value” in buying secondary merchandise. As consumers, we are mostly paying for the production and delivery process of “new” items. In comparison, buying upcycled or used products often involves shopping locally and paying for design, creativity, and hard work. Buying used items can put money into the pocket of someone similar to you, rather than a corporate fat-cat. In addition, buying a new product involves shipping long distances, whereas shopping locally reduces transportation emissions. Perceiving an object for its social and creative value, rather than for its monetary value, is essential to reconsider our priorities. We need to evaluate what we are really paying for and the effects of these costs on the environment, the economy, and society.
Humblepie fits perfectly into the patchwork community that is James St. N. People are beginning to recognize the value in buying upcycled products and are more conscious of what they spend their money on. Susan suggests that people want to spend their money on an experience rather than a product. In response to these changing ideologies, Humblepie is considering offering field trips or birthday parties on James St. N. Having trips that promote healthy and sustainable lifestyles can prompt participants to re-consider their current way of life. Furthermore, these trips would provide an educational and artistic experience that exposes children to new ideas. Why have another birthday party at a bowling alley when you can experience so much more on James St. N.?
With a variety of workshops, including music, upcycling, and painting, you can put your creativity and sustainable passion to work at Humblepie. Not only do these workshops advocate sustainability, they show you how to become sustainable yourself. At Humblepie, you can be assured that the materials you use are eco-friendly. For example, CeCe Caldwell paints are used on all the furniture and are 100% people and earth friendly. A visit to Humblepie can be more than just a shopping trip, it can be a creative expression!
You can check out Humblepie’s website here and see what they have for you! With an inviting atmosphere and so much to take in you will not be disappointed. So, take a trip down to 142 James St. N. and discover the art of sustainability!