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Desert Companion

Umba redefines the care package

Handmade without the hassle. That’s what motivated Lauren Thorp to launch Umba Box. After a frustrating search for handmade items for her wedding, Lauren found a promising niche: Women wanted to buy handmade goods and accessories, but they didn’t have the time to sift through the profusion of products available online.

“Buying handmade lets you take charge of the types of products that you bring into your home, items that are ethically and responsibly made,” says Thorp. But what about convenience? She started Umba Box to address that, too: It offers curated handmade goods offered via a monthly subscription and an online store. For $25 a month, Thorp and her team tuck handmade treasures — home goods, jewelry, stationery, bath products — into a box and send it to subscribers’ homes. Customers can rest assured the goods are, well, good. Swahili for “create,” the word umba reflects the company’s commitment to working with handmade artists and small-batch producers.

That’s why you might see Thorp at First Friday, building relationships with artists. The entrepreneur recently moved to downtown Las Vegas from Washington to “tap into the amazing community that’s developing here.” Already, she’s even considering a mobile boutique. A physical shop would be a new venture for her, but she says there’s no better place than Vegas to try it. She says, “The city itself is like a start-up.”

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