Having grown up in a small town in southern Arizona, it was no wonder that Bainbridge Island appealed to sisters, Rebecca and Rachel Ringdahl. Both having relocated in adulthood to the Seattle area, they’d already fallen in love with the PNW, and the desire to return to a small-town community drew them to our island. When their father beckoned them to help clean out their late mother’s crafting room (which was filled to the brim with every imaginable crafting supply), the sisters sadly, but with great love, agreed. Their mother was an avid crafter and quilter, and their childhood was filled with time-honored crafts as well as “newer” craft projects—whatever the sisters and their two brothers desired to make, Mom encouraged them to create—from leather stamping to painting to cotton moulds to paper making to creating cyanotypes, and much more. When they began going through their mother’s crafting supplies it didn’t take long to realize they had a treasure trove—But, what to do with it all?
Rebecca, having first made the move to the island (Rachel was still living in the Seattle area) reached out to the BI community, and received an overwhelming response, “open a craft store!”. Considering that Bainbridge Island is home to a very large population of artists of all genres, it was surprising that the closest full-service craft and art supply stores were either in Seattle or Silverdale, so it made perfect sense, and Little Island Crafts was conceived.
The sisters admit to being a bit naïve, their first thought was; retail is one of the oldest professions, how hard could it be to get a store up and running? It was hard, and they learn something new every day, but more importantly, they’ve received so much assistance and input from their island retail peers, as well as from the community, as to what they’d like to see the shop carry. Today, they feel that naivete was an asset, as it allowed them to be open to new craft concepts, products, and ideas for events they could hold at the store.
Pre-Covid, they held a Bob Ross Painting Night (a mini-version of paint & sip, complete with a Bob Ross video as their “instructor”), arm knitting classes, as well as classes for kids. They were also happy to host birthday parties for small groups of children, as well as their popular “Make and Take” which comprises of a quick 5-10-minute session in making a simple project, which you then take home with you. They hope to resume these events in the future, and add some new fun events as well—they thrive on community input, so feel free to email or call them with suggestions.
When the lockdown hit, the sisters, like many of our island businesses, had to rethink and adapt their business model. They updated their website to increase their online inventory and added curbside pickup and daily home delivery for Bainbridge Island residents.
When I visited the shop recently, they were in the midst of a mini remodel. Included in their mother’s collection were a vast array of instructional books on just about any crafting and artistic subject you can imagine, and it was obvious what to do with that; they created the “Jo Ann Ringdahl Memorial Library”, you can peruse the books for ideas while visiting the shop, or borrow the books to take home and study, whatever your creative needs are, the books are there to assist. In addition, they’re expanding their fiber section of the store to offer a much larger variety of supplies. They’ve of course implemented safety precautions as well, masks are required for employees and customers, hand sanitizer is available at the door and check-out counter, and surfaces are cleaned and sanitized regularly.
Little Island Crafts also carries a variety of niche items and just about anything else you could need for your artistic, crafting, fiber projects, and school supplies—the website currently has 34 pages of online items (click here), but if you don’t see it there, give them a call, they probably have what you’re looking for, and if not, they’re happy to order it for you.
Little Island Crafts is located at 278 Winslow Way E, Ste. 103, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 (206) 565-3996
*Images and logo used with permission by Little Island Crafts