Foundry was opened in 2010 by Shelly Piper and Natalie Hood, friends who were looking for a career change, but who also wanted to do some good in the world. “We were talking about opening a store, but the problem always seems to be that everybody already has enough stuff,” says Piper. But having grown up in crafty families, the idea of selling “stuff made out of other stuff” was appealing to the duo.
The cozy shop, which shares a block with other local businesses on the edge of downtown Asheville, features display fixtures built by Hood, who modified vintage doors and furniture pieces to create shelves and racks. She also takes charge of crafting the shop’s stunning window displays.
Piper says that 75 percent of Foundry’s inventory is made in western North Carolina, and 95 percent is made in the USA. Customers are delighted by the buried treasure candles from Big Dipper Candles, which are made from the ends of used candles; and Art from Empties’ pendant necklaces, made from reclaimed glass bottles. Foundry also sells a selection of inventory via its online store.
“To us, upcycling means improving something rather than just recycling it,” says Piper. “We feel like it makes people think about what’s around them and what they could use in a different way.” And while Foundry is focused on items and products, Piper points out that what upcycling is really about is creativity. “It’s important to be creative in your life in general,” she says, “and to exercise that part of your brain.”