Have you heard? The Wonder Fair Home Shopping Network (WFHSN) has returned! What’s that you say? Only the most entertaining, hyper-local, hard-hitting yet light-hearted, unmistakable new shop-from-the-comfort-of-your-own-home show that broadcasts live on YouTube and Instagram EVERY SINGLE DAY!
Wonder Fair started as an exhibition space in Downtown Lawrence back in 2008. Current owners Meredith Moore and Paul DeGeorge took over in 2011 and in 2015 moved Wonder Fair to its current location, 841 Mass Street, where they began selling art supplies and stationery.
What you find within Wonder Fair is a variety of carefully curated art supplies, stationery, prints, zines, awesome pens, and much more in addition to print exhibitions, super helpful and friendly associates, and a lovely shop cat named Dave.
What you would not have found until the end of March is an online store. Wonder Fair values hand-written notes over e-mail, real-life social interactions over social media, print over digital. They’ve created a brick-and-motor art supply shop that is much more of an experience than the usual trip to the store. They let you sample pens until you find the one that fits your very picky yet totally acceptable preferences. I mean, even using their bathroom (it’s haunted) is an experience! It’s one of those places where you can accidentally spend an entire lunch break. Tip: order lunch first.
When the COVID-19 pandemic closed in-store shopping, Paul and Meredith acted fast, and within a couple of weeks, they had made the “pivot to digital”. They launched their online store and did the very first Wonder Fair Home Shopping Network live broadcast on March 26, 2020. The ambitious duo dove into bringing their brick and mortar store to the masses with no promises except to try their best during this time. They admitted to being “not good at Internet” in the very first broadcast. But they were also not bad at captivating an audience. Side note: they also pivoted their haunted bathroom experience to digital. Check it out at wonderfairsvirtualhauntedbathroom.com.
The unscripted live broadcast became something to look forward to each day. From sharing staff picks, unboxing of new items, and art supply demonstrations to local news commentary, impromptu Dave interactions, and the hilarious and quite adorable side convos between the married duo, it was a joy to tune into. BIG ideas have been born on the WFHSN camera: “Do you think we can get pigeons?”, once said Meredith when discussing downtown delivery options. I have literally laughed out loud multiple times per broadcast. My co-worker and I would discuss what we saw and heard from the show quite often. A visit to the new wonderfairhomeshopping.com leads you to the products that were discussed on the show that day as well as a plethora of other items that can be purchased and shipped or delivered locally.
As the show progressed and events in America led to protests and conversations around social justice, WFHSN focused less on products and more on current news and events nationwide and locally, social justice, and local policy and elections. Broadcasts became less frequent and eventually stopped mid-June. It’s not that surprising considering a part of Wonder Fair’s mission is to “support community efforts to create a more equitable Lawrence” that they halted the show to focus on what was most important to them at the time.
When WFHSN returned on July 15, Meredith explained, “We believe that Instagram is primarily a place for organizing right now in light of very important (more important than retail) uprisings led by the Black Lives Matter movement that are really critical. Particularly being that this is an election year, we feel like stepping back to let folks learn on Instagram and use that as a place for organizing was key.”
The return of WFHSN comes with a new format. The plan is to broadcast live daily (weekends included) for about 15 minutes starting around noon. No worries if you don’t catch them live. Every episode is posted to their Instagram and YouTube channels. Each day of the week has a theme:
Mondays: Local News & Election Updates
Tuesdays: What’s New at Wonder Fair – new products and unboxings
Wednesdays: Special guest Nikita, Stationer to the Stars – astrological tips for the week
Thursdays: Deep Dives on Art Supplies
Fridays: Foodie Day – supporting local restaurants
Saturdays: Staff broadcasts from home
Sundays: Dave Day – Watch Dave do things
Wonder Fair is currently open for quick and efficient masked visits. They have joined hundreds of other Lawrence businesses in signing the Lawrence Promise, a commitment to keeping their employees and customers safe from COVID-19. At this time they are open noon – 6 PM on weekdays. Ten people are allowed in the store at a time. Hand sanitizer is available and required as you enter. Masks are required upon entry. Product sampling is available and requires assistance from an associate to ensure proper sanitation. Private shopping can be scheduled by calling or emailing the store.
The purpose of Unmistakably Us is to share the stories of the people and places that make Lawrence unmistakable. So what is unmistakable to us? Our brand manifesto wraps it up…
Lawrence is your quirky, cool friend who brings fun to the neighborhood. Lawrence works hard and plays hard. Lawrence is both outgoing and welcoming, creating an atmosphere of acceptance and innovation. Its eclectic personality is reminiscent of the proverbial “Renaissance Man,” whose expertise spans a broad range of areas: Education, Arts & Culture, Sports & Social Accomplishments. Lawrence is a catalyst for organic creation and original thought, a lightning rod for cultural change. Its energy is contagious. Like a great film, it leaves you wanting more.
Do you know a Lawrencian or a Lawrence organization that fits that description? Nominate them to be featured on the blog by emailing Andrea Johnson.