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Beth Kierstead - The Enchanted Stichery

This is the first of our occasional series highlighting tenants of The Shirt Factory, interview by Maury D. Thompson, photograph by Behoff Photo:


Beth Kierstead of the Enchanted Stitchery at The Shirt FactoryThe Shirt Factory, at the corner of 71 Lawrence 21 Cooper streets in Glens Falls, offers more than just space for artist studios and retail shops, said Beth Kierstead, owner of The Enchanted Stitchery and The GypsyFae.


The early 20th century former garment factory provides a sense of history. “On these floors and in these walls, there was production and creativity,” said Kierstead, who designs, makes and sells embroidered goods and “up-cycled” clothing.

The term “upcycled” means that she adds new elements to refresh the look of vintage and contemporary clothing. “I re-fashion existing clothing into new clothing,” she said.


Kierstead said the business is a tribute to the values that her grandmother taught her. “She grew up in The Depression, and always said ‘Waste not, want not.’”


Kierstead, who has a studio on the second floor and a retail shop on the first floor, said, at this point, the majority of her revenue comes from her Etsy store—The GypsyFae. In September she opened Enchanted Stitchery, the retail shop, on the first floor, where she sells her own merchandise and other items. Hours are noon to five Thursday-Saturday.


Kierstead, who previously had an embroidery business in New Hampshire, said other arts centers she has worked in or is familiar with are more like warehouses, with partitions instead of the floor-to-ceiling walls at The Shirt Factory, which provide privacy for artists without sacrificing a community character.  Other art centers often have little customer traffic, but The Shirt Factory owner Eric Unkauf and his wife consistently stage events such as Food Truck Corrals and festival-like artist open houses that bring foot traffic to the building.


“He really works hard to bring us business,” she said.


Kierstead’s entrepreneurial journey is an example of the connection between tourism and economic development.


“We came here on vacation and absolutely fell in love with The Shirt Factory,” she said.


Kierstead and her husband were living in Massachusetts at the time, and her husband wanted to show her Lake George, where his family often vacationed when he was a child.


The couple stayed over night at The Queensbury Hotel in downtown Glens Falls, and ventured out to see local attractions, including The Shirt Factory.


As they walked the halls, they had a sense that it was a place they belonged, and determined to move to Glens Falls. The move took longer than expected to accomplish. Shortly after their vacation, the building where they lived in Massachusetts was flooded, and the couple wound up homeless for about eight months, but they persevered.


“It’s definitely a story about holding on to your art, no matter what you do.”


Interview by Maury D. Thompson, photograph by Behoff Photo,

The Shirt Factory, 21 Cooper St., Glens Falls

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