Lisa Gibson Mansfield was looking for a change in her life when she stumbled upon the idea that would become L&M Busy Hands Crafts and Gifts Shop.

“As a busy mom of three and wife to a hubby with a progressive neurological disease, I wanted to slow down a bit and stay close to home,” she says. She had been setting up at craft shows when she wasn’t working as a hospice nurse, but found them to be tiring and less profitable. “I drove by a cute little shop in [Independence] with a for-lease sign in the window. I turned around, called the number and next thing you know, I had found my first brick and mortar. I drummed up a few friends and talented crafters with varying products and we opened two weeks later.”

Mansfield compares L&M Busy Hands to a craft show, but one that is open on a daily basis. About 70 crafters sell their handcrafted, upcycled and vintage goods through the store. However, items are sorted by type, not the vendor, to make shopping easier for visitors.

With so many vendors, shoppers have plenty of options. Featured items include jellies, blankets, glassware, furniture, hand towels, wine racks, bath bombs, glass ornaments, jewelry, yard signs, wind chimes, wreaths, T-shirts and more. “If we don’t have it—wrong size, wrong color, etc.—ask! Someone can make it,” says Mansfield.

L&M Busy Hands opened in its current location at 2508 Dixie Highway in Fort Mitchell in August 2017. The move increased the store’s square footage from 440 to almost 2,400. The move allowed Mansfield to host more products, but it has also allowed her to hold crafting classes.

Those who sell at the store are invited to host classes showing off their craft. The classroom holds 16-18 participants. Mansfield says her goal is to offer options for any price point, age and skill level.

“We have designed necklaces, built dream catchers/mobiles, and painted stencil projects/signs/barrel heads so far,” says Mansfield. In addition, the store has started a new workshop series called Swag Your Door. “Each workshop offers a different project designed for the front door,” she says. For example, the first project was a baseball sign for Opening Day.

Mansfield’s dedication to the store has paid off—L&M Busy Hands won Best Gift Shop at the 2017 Best of NKY event and is nominated again in 2018.

“We are not a traditional ‘retail’ shop, but are so proud that our shoppers appreciate the handcrafted, locally produced aspect of our products,” says Mansfield. “We operate bare bones—our vendors are our workers. We do not employ anyone, and I make no profit from others. Our business model is to put as much into the pockets of the crafters as possible.”

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