As evidenced by the soaring popularity of websites like Etsy, arts and crafts are making a comeback. But gone are the hokey items your grandmother coveted. Today’s craftsmen are turning out quality, handmade, one-of-a-kind, fashionable gems.
What’s behind this wave of hypertalented independent artists? Julie McCullough Kim credits social networking, blogs, and online stores for connecting designers and audiences. Kim helps designers find buyers on a local level. In 2005, she opened Make Shop & Studio, a “modern craft lounge” in the Bishop Arts District. The studio aids budding designers by offering classes in sewing, screen-printing, stamp-making, and more, and sells the better creations in an on-site shop.
The success of Make Shop & Studio recently propelled Kim to create IndieGenius, a “microboutique marketplace” also in Bishop Arts. IndieGenius is a place for more established yet still independent designers to open a minishop alongside other designers—all overseen by Kim and the artists themselves, who each volunteer at the market a couple of days a month. IndieGenius is open to the public and is a unique shopping experience for those looking for handmade and exclusive items that you won’t find at the mall.
(clockwise from top left) Wire flower necklace ($59, Aliona K Jewelry); Zebra finch wall decal ($16/One Up Designs); Octopus handbag ($35/Cykochik); Children's knot dress ($45/Three Yellow Starfish); *Wine wrap (Vino 100, Brumley Gardens, Rocket Science Salon, or wineblingbling.com); Reusable felt coffee cozie ($10/One Up Designs); Rosemary tea soap ($5/The Hibby Shop); Owl beanie ($20/Dowdy Studio)
*Finally, an alternative to shiny paper wine bags. Urbano Cafe pastry chef Minok Suh spends her off hours making festive yet chic wine bags from recycled materials such as discarded clothing and discontinued fabric samples. You can find the ecofriendly sacks at Vino 100, Brumley Gardens, Rocket Science Salon, or online at wineblingbling.com.