Alex Sanso first found her love of souvenirs, gifts, and merchandise at the happiest place on Earth: Walt Disney World. She spent several years working in the creative department as a merchandise designer before moving to a small island in Washington State with her family. 

savvy shopkeeper retail podcast

Right off the bat, Alex noticed that Bainbridge Island was home to a plethora of beautiful gift shops—but there wasn’t much merchandise that focused on Bainbridge itself. 

With Seattle day trippers, Alaskan cruisers, and other tourists visiting Bainbridge Island on a daily basis, Alex knew that souvenirs to mark these special visits would sell well. That kicked off her journey towards opening Island Life Artisan Gifts. 

Listen to this episode of the Savvy Shopkeeper Retail Podcast and learn how Alex eventually opened her shop, why souvenirs are so special to her and her customers, and how joining Master Shopkeepers has changed her perspective as a newer store owner. 

savvy shopkeeper retail podcast



  • [01:35] Alex’s journey to opening her shop, Island Life Artisan Gifts
  • [09:18] What Alex’s shop is like (size, team members, & location)
  • [13:36] How souvenirs make a difference in people’s lives
  • [14:45] Unique gifts a customer might encounter at Alex’s store
  • [17:36] Alex’s business model: consignment, wholesale, & eCommerce growth
  • [22:27] What led Alex to join Master Shopkeepers
  • [28:41] Alex’s favorite part of Master Shopkeepers
  • [30:26] How Alex envisions the future of her business
  • [34:15] Alex’s favorite & least favorite parts of owning an indie retail store
  • [36:14] How to connect with Alex and her shop

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