Monday, May 5, 2014

On Shopping Small

Every 6 months, I highly anticipate a weekend long event called UNIQUE LA.  350 selected designers and artists are housed in the California Market Center Penthouse for 2 days of shopping, tunes, raffles, sample snacks, and hangs with talented entrepreneurs.  All the products featured at the event are handcrafted in small batches and Made in the USA.  The shopping experience is a personal one--many samples are given and the designer is usually on hand to answer questions or explain their product.  Sonja Rasula created UNIQUE LA in 2008, to learn more CLICK HERE.  

Since moving to LA in 2011, I have been to several of the bi-annual shows.I always leave with a cool tote bag (giveaway at the door), handfuls of Luna Bars (given as free samples), a stack of business cards, gifts for special people in my life, and creative ideas for projects of my own.  I was so inspired by yesterday's show, I stopped by a pile of rubbish in my neighborhood and loaded some scrap wood into my trunk this morning--what becomes of it will be blogged about.  

For now, here is a list of some of my favorite vendors from the Spring Show, a brief description of their goods, and a link to their website:

Pommes Frites Candle Co- Soy candles handpoured in DTLA.  I am very sensitive to scent (re: upon entering Yankee Candle Co. and/or Bath and Bodyworks I contract a massive headache) and P.F. Candles are a delight. (Get it de-light!) They are not overly odoriferous, but pleasant.  I currently burn their Jasmine & Fig.  The jars and the typeface of the labels are small details that draw me to this particular product.  (Oh, and pommes frites is French for French fry!--what's not to love!)

Treeline Woodworks- Reclaimed wood = all the more reason to go through other peoples' trash! Treeline is LA based and their Skyline Hangar (pictured left) is something worth saving for. 

Hedley & Bennett- When I am not working, working out somewhere outside, or sleeping--I am in my kitchen.  I love to cook and love all things that involve cooking so it is no wonder that I love aprons, but I don't love the frilly housewife, lacey concept most people have of aprons.  I want something stylish, androgynous, and of industrial strength.  Hedley & Bennett--thank you, you've done it!

PEI Designs- I love papergoods--prints, cards, small notebooks, anything of that genre.  I am one of the few people of my generation that still uses stationary and hand-writes letters.  The other few people of my generation that also still use stationary and hand-write letters are my friends writing ME letters.  I picked up a few cards (Mother's Day is upon us!) from this delightful booth and I still have my eyes on this adorable, très Parisienne print.  

Ellsworth & Ivey As my late twenties set in, I find myself gravitating to what one would call a "classic style".  Most things in my closet are neutral colors--blacks, whites, and tans with the occasional navy, gray, or red pieces.  I now think maturely in terms of quality vs quantity when I shop--I don't need a lot of clothes, but few high quality, well crafted pieces. I think one of the capes from Ellsworth & Ivey needs to make a closet debut.  The founder, Taylor Ivey, seems to have some roots in Litchfield County, Connecticut which is where I am from.  (Cue children singing, "It's a small world after all.)

Shopping small is such a meaningful experience.  It makes me proud to own products and give gifts that were made by a hard-working individuals, especially when I have met them.  There is a story (usually heartwarming) behind every booth that makes it to a UNIQUE LA market.  I can't help but leave the event with a huge smile on my face.  Just wondering, when was the last time you left the Glendale Galleria/Grove/Americana {insert shopping mall name here} grinning ear to ear?  

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