Black Friday and Cyber Monday may have come and gone, and in case you spent those days more productively, like, eating and drinking and eating and drinking and eating and... well you get the idea... you may feel a little behind on your holiday gift lists. Well, don't worry. It's not like all the shops have boarded up for the winter or the Internet has ended—you still have time. But you know what? Let's make things even easier for you and introduce you to Scoutmob's very own Shoppe, which features the best local artisans in and around DC. Now there's no excuse not to wrap up your shopping a bit early. Check out our 21 featured artisans and their goods.
In a sea of navy and gray suits that fill up our daily lives, The Pink Samurai, a.k.a. an Arlington resident named Becky, created one item to adds a little quirk to our commutes—unique crocheted scarves. While these may seem more suited to the females among us, Becky says her favorite compliment came from a group of men who spied her stuff at a craft fair. “It made me smile for the rest of the day.” We're sure the favor was returned.
After an amazing (read: overwhelming) interest in her Ciao Nina accessory line from friends and friends of friends, this H Street resident finally got that push to make her art available worldwide, but starting first with her hometown of DC. Best compliment she's ever received about her creations? "When a very elegant, conservative friend tried on one of my hats and she said it made her feel conspicuous.''
Born in Thailand and now living in Dupont Circle, Supon Phornirunlit is putting his eclectic background to good use. He's the head of Naked Decor, a home accessory and design company that makes some of the coolest pillows, clocks and lamps we've ever come across. Of course, this shouldn't come as a surprise considering Supon has more than 1,000 design awards under his proverbial belt. His literal belt, we're certain, is also well designed and most likely garners all sorts of compliments when he's out and about greeting his clientele, both locals like us, and international jet-setters. Like Supon, good design knowns no borders.
Vince Bartozzi doesn’t just ride bikes, he wears them, too. Well, pictures of them, printed on high-quality tees made by his design company, Clockwork Gears. “We love bikes and we appreciate everything they do for people,” said the Friendship Heights resident, who also finds beauty in the velo aesthetic. Even better, Clockwork Gears goods don’t just make their purchasers look great, but feel great also. The company donates 5 percent of all its sales to charity.
In DC, the darndest things come out of having degrees in fine arts and psychology, as well as a hefty background in health promotion. For one Falls Church resident named Mary, it means starting bath product company Herban Lifestyle. Her all-natural soaps and balms make grooming both an art and an antidepressant (smelling good boosts one’s self-esteem, right?). Think of it like this: Herban Lifestyle is the antioxidant to all of life’s smelliest ailments.
Dan Lachman isn’t as interested in answering questions as he is in posing them, which is where his company Sharp Shirter comes in. “Sharp Shirter is dedicated to creating products that revolve around the relationship between animals and humans,” he said. “We don’t attempt to give answers to any of these relations but rather we are satisfied with the questions we create.” For instance, why do we keep some animals as pets, yet eat others? While a shirt with a man punching a bear square in the jaw won’t answer these deep human v. beast-related queries, it’ll surely make you think, perhaps about the circle of life, but most definitely about how cool that f@#king shirt is.
Baltimore resident Danamarie Hosler may have started off working in two dimensions as an illustrator for children’s books and magazines, but today her art is fully 3D. Via her company *might, she’s translated her drawing skills into making huggable plush sculptures for kids of all ages. In fact, her work is so 3D now, most don’t even start off as drawings; they begin as tangible pieces of fabric in her hands. “I cut fabric because it feels right,” she said. “I hand-piece the noses and accents without a written plan.” Which means every creation is as unique as it is awesome.
Here’s one way to diversify your day job skill set: download Illustrator, fall in love with illustrating, end up starting a whole line of original illustrations on the side. Such is Amy's story: she started designing cute, funny characters while trying to learn the workings of the Adobe software, and loved it so much, she found herself designing in whatever spare time she could. And that's how all of Mint Parcel's adorable (yes, we said adorable) little characters came to be. We dare you not to say "Awww, how cuuuuute" upon first seeing them.
One of the oldest crafts in the linguistic world, Katie of Moonlight Bindery is breathing, er, binding new life into books. “I can make a book out of anything,” said the Del Ray artist, who discovered her love for her craft when she took a bookbinding class at the Smithsonian several years ago. Today, the student really has become the teacher. She now leads the class, which makes sense her hand-crafted journals are exquisite.
The best way to enjoy the swag produced by The Pedal Pushers Club
is on two wheels. That’s because Brett, the Silver Spring man behind it all, makes straightforward and accessible designs for people who like cycling, just like him. But that doesn’t mean every cyclist is the same. Brett knows cycling cultures differ among cities, so each of his designs (inspired by the places he’s spent time in) offers something unique. “Each city has its own riding culture, and it is important to understand that,” he said.
Dupont Circle resident Lauren McQuistion views fabric differently than most of the world. When she sees a torn shirt or vintage fabric, she doesn’t just see a dishrag, but a beautiful medium from which to produce funky pieces of statement jewelry. “I knew I was on the right track with making things when girls I didn't even know, but had heard [about me] by word-of-mouth, started asking for pieces.” Perfect for the cooler temperatures of fall, make sure your neck isn’t naked when you remove your scarf this season.
One part art and a lot parts geekery, Matt of D is for Dino has perfected the craft of the quirky wall print. That’s because he puts his heart into each one he carefully hand-crafts. But really, it’s this Richmond designer’s “100 percent geeky personality” that sets him apart. The best compliment he’s ever received? He tells us a random passerby once stopped to look at his art, paused and said, “I totally get it.” You can get it too.
When counting sheep to fall asleep wasn’t working for Bethesda resident Lauren Rosenstadt, she decided to sew them instead, and in 1994, Herbal Animals was born. In the meantime, so was her daughter Liz, who helps make these oh-so-soothing eye pillows out of certified organic cotton, flax seed and sweet-smelling herbs like lavender and peppermint. So addictive are these little guys, customers have started sending in photos to Lauren and Liz proving even the most business-y of businesspeople in DC look 100 percent more cuddly while using an Herbal Animal.
Whoever said stuffed animals were just for kids has yet to curl up with one of the plush creature pillows made by Tigerflight, a.k.a. Beth, a Capitol Hill resident who only started making these creature comforts by accident. “I was throwing stuff together on my bed, intending to make a bag for myself, when the combo of this one sweater and fabric scrap looked like an owl to me.” Her new goal? To make your couch/bed/anything needing a one-of-a-kind pillow more awesome.
Lucia of bLuGrn Design lives by one life motto: "Design is Everything." And that's both in her work and in her daily life. This Logan Circle resident finds inspiration everywhere. Metal-smithing was supposed to be just another course she took in architecture school, but she became passionate about it when she found she could "make her ideas into reality" faster than she could with, you know, building a building. (Wearable architecture, FTW!)
Like facial hair or not, mustaches are here to stay. At least we tend to think so. And so, it seems, does John Paul, who created Fuzzy Ink as a way to support his passion for all upper lip pet lovers among us. What began as a few designs printed in a spare bedroom has grown into a warehouse full of everything from shirts to cookie cutters. Give 'em a little time, and the Fuzzy love will grow on you too. That is, literally (if you're a dude) and figuratively (if you just like mustache paraphernalia a whole bunch).
How can procrastination lead to a creative career? Easy: you're Crysten, and you opt to make bracelets instead of studying for a college exam. Since those days, Crysten went on to launch Phul Effect, her own line of retooled vintage jewelry, digging through local antique shops and factory closeout sales to find unpolished gems to repurpose into a new vision. Just another case in point that sometimes procrastination yields the most creative (rad) products.
Rachel started crafting her jewelry from antiques that she’d collected over the years. After making enough of her pieces to sell at a fall festival, she found her collection gobbled up by local patrons who couldn't get enough of the urban-gritty-yet-romantic style. That's when she realized her hobby could become a profession. And so Charms City Company (named after their beloved city of Baltimore) was born. And their pieces have been gobbled up ever since.
After returning from studying fine art at grad school in London, Larissa wanted to fill her new world in DC with truly unique things that reflected her creative passions while making her feel happy. Enter Kokuban City, a.ka. the "anti-boring" projects. Always clever and fun, Larissa's work has become a local favorite.
Elizabeth Graeber has made a profession illustrating everything from cocktail recipes to animals and bicycles, to animals making cocktails while riding bicycles. Basically, anything that might cause a smile. You can catch her people-watching around DC in coffee shops and flea markets, most likely finding her next sketch-worthy subject.
When Tina was just a wee lass, she watched her grandfather make hundreds of small items with his hands with no real concern for the end result, always keeping to a task that no one asked him to take. She found it fascinating and, in embarking on her own journey into making things via the moniker Tina Seamonster, she learned that this kind of thing was a great way to cope with the stress of life. Especially after giving birth to twins. Especially considering the zombie apocalypse is nigh.