#96 on my life list is to buy from local and independent artists and businesses. This is something I do quite a bit of already so I guess my intention is to find more local and independents to support and to expand the network of people I know are making cool shrit (Shrit, I recently learned, is what they say in Georgia to avoid saying the s-word!). Here's a short list of people and places who are making things I covet, the list I want to add to this year. This is sort of in honor of holiday gifts since it's December and all but I think it's just as fun and sometimes more meaningful to give when there's no occasion except that you felt like it so this is a year-round endorsement, suckas.
- Sock Dreams Portland, OR
I recommend Sock Dreams to someone approximately four times a week during the colder months, every time I get a comment on my arm warmers. I once led myself and Monica on a high speed chase through the one-way streets and many confusing bridges of Portland in order to visit the Sock Dreams store before it closed instead of just buying online. We barely made it, the girl behind the counter was cool, and now I'm just as happy to keep buying online since they make sure your bundle of socks, arm warmers, leg warmers are sent out and sitting on your porch within a couple of days.
- Queen Bee Creations - Rebecca Pearcy. Portland, OR
I've bought vinyl bags and wallets from Queen Bee over the last ten years (at least), most recently a wallet at the Portland Airport. It's black, red, and blue, my favorite colors. It snaps shut and is easy to use, it doesn't show any sign of wear after a year, and it's big enough to hold all my shrit. I have a lot of shrit.
- The Commission Project, Art by Paul Ferney San Francisco & Paris
I found Paul Ferney on Mighty Girl and think a small commissioned painting from a photograph is just about the best present possible.
- Cats in Clothes - Heather Mattoon
I'm not even a cat person but I can totally get behind Cats in Clothes. My friend has a cat who looks like Vincent ("Vincent plays football, or soccer for Americans, he is European. He takes acting classes and loves his hoodie.") Oh, we laughed. I tried to find out more about Heather Mattoon but the About the Artist section on the website appears to be in Latin so we are going to have to let the cats speak for themselves.
- Pyrrha - Wade Papin and Danielle Wilmore
Wax seal jewelry handmade in Vancouver from reclaimed and recycled 14k gold and sterling silver. I bought Matthew a wax seal necklace of a bee in the Los Angeles Pyrrha store this time last year. I let him wear it for awhile but have had it around my neck every day since June so I guess I'm taking the "reclaim" part of Pyrrha's mission statement a bit too literally.
- Blackett Body Basics Seattle, WA
My girl, the notorious powerhouse Laura Blackett. Handmade all-natural body products that she whips up in between the raising of three children and the other dozen projects that she has planned each day.
- Art & Invention Gallery Nashville, TN
I found Art & Invention over the summer and have been back three times when I've been in Nashville. I've found handmade wedding presents, birthday presents, and no reason at all presents here. My second time back the door was locked so I was peeking through the window. The owner was inside painting the walls but she opened the door, excused the mess, and welcomed me in to walk around and then counted out the change by hand for the artwork I bought since the register was off. That is some seriously friendly Bob Roncker-level of customer service.
- Our own RACECAR
Independent music label by Matthew Cooper, Evan Sharfe, and Cody Norenberg based in Oceanside, CA soon to be Nashville, Cincinnati, and Weimar, Germany.
- Buy Olympia
A small business in Portland, OR that started in 1999 in Olympia, WA to help their friends sell handmade goods online. Art, paper goods, books, journals, clothes, jewelry, household, bags, belts, etc. I think I found Buy Olympia when I was interning for Seal Press and writing a resource section for a book back in my Seattle days.
Halle invited me to Fab.com a few months ago. Fab.com is based on good design and big discounts. A page of daily shops appear in your inbox each day, many by artisans and small businesses. They can be crazy expensive or crazy inexpensive but they are all good deals for what they are and they make it waaaay too easy. Sometimes I have to tell myself, "You will not look at Fab.com today, you are too emotionally vulnerable to be trusted around all those designers." Get thee invited to Fab.com. Psst, I can invite you so just ask.