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LAB Goes Beyond the Maker Market with the Collective


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Koonyai Studio's Beau Sinchai presenting at LAB's first Collective event in 2016

Courtesy Koonyai Studio

In the Twin Cities, a weekend doesn't go by without a maker's market—so many, in fact, that it's hard to keep up.

So when Minneapolis workshop series LAB decided to host its first shopping event last year, it decided to change things up. For the second year running, LAB is hosting the Collective, a curated day of shopping from local brands and discussions led by local business owners, this Saturday, April 8 at Loring Social Event Center.

The idea was sparked when LAB hosted a Makers Mixer event at Shinola, aimed at offering local makers and other creatives the opportunity to meet their Instagram "crush" IRL. "The biggest takeaway from that night was feeling lucky to have the chance to connect with so many people we really admire," says LAB co-founder Jessica Moriarty, "and it inspired us to figure out a way to share that experience with our audience."

A major part of sharing that experience is happening—where else?—on social media, through a series of custom promo images styled by LAB promoting each business. But the central idea is offering LAB attendees and local creatives the chance to experience some of the Twin Cities' best brands in person.

This year's event includes an expanded lineup of makers and vendors, including Anywhere Apparel, Arden Trading Co., Byrd & Belle, Golden Rule, Goldfine Jewelry, and more, with an all-new lineup of speaker sessions featuring the founders of Hackwith Design House, Wit & Delight, Wilson & Willy’s, Bittercube, Ashley Mary Art, and Martha O’Hara Interiors.

The speaker sessions is a key aspect to the Collective experience. "We didn't want to just offer another pop-up market," says Moriarty. "We wanted to take it a step further. We thought creating an event like the Collective would help create more awareness for all of the amazing businesses and creatives here in the Twin Cities. We strongly believe that when you understand the process behind something you appreciate it so much more"—which is why they will have local artist, Ashley Mary, live painting a custom piece throughout the day. Plus, enjoy refreshments by BET Vodka, Coffee Cart, Lion Heart Cider, and bites from D'Amico & Sons, Thumbs Cookies, Isadore Nut Co., Karmic Kitchens, Maddy and Maize, and the Cookie Creative.

Some highlights from the maker's market include:

Anywhere Apparel

About: Founded by the husband-and-wife team of Kelly Koster and Nick Hansen following a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2016, St. Paul–based Anywhere Apparel sells clothing for men and women that geared toward traveling—versatile, practical, and stylish.

Key products: The Antipodes Reversible Coat for women and the Stowaway Jacket for men, which converts into a messenger bag. anywhereapparel.com

Arden Trading Co.

About: Founded in 2016 by Stefani Arden Ellenbecker (who also works as a creative and editorial director for Wit & Delight), Minnesota-based online retailer Arden Trading Co. specializes in bohemian goods crafted by traditional artisans in Turkey, Morocco, and Mexico.

Key products: Hand-woven kilim shams from the central Turkish plains of Anatolia, pillows made by artisans in Morocco, Zapotec wool textiles from Mexico, and indigo-dyed African mudcloths. ardentrading.com

byrd & belle

About: Angie Davis is the designer, maker, and studio runner of byrd & belle, which was founded in Minneapolis in 2008. She has a degree in architecture and practiced for several years before starting the studio. She also owns Adavis, a product and process design studio specializing in U.S.-based manufacturing with an emphasis on cut-and-sew design development.

Key products: Sleek wool and hand-dyed leather covers for iPhones, iPad, MacBook, and Kindle, plus colorful wool felt coasters. byrdandbelle.com

Golden Rule

About: The charming Excelsior store is a torch bearer for the maker movement, selling handmade goods by local favorites such as Spring Finn & Co., Solid Manufacturing, and Sanborn Canoe Co. Golden Rule recently expanded to include women’s clothing, shoes, and handbags into its maker-driven selection.

Key products: Look for beauty products from Herbivore Botanicals, beautifully packaged chocolate from Minnesota chocolatier Mademoiselle Miel, stationery from Berlin print shop Karte Design Fabrik, and minimalist jewelry by Washington-based brand Material Wit. goldenrulecollective.com

J.Lux Jewelry

About: Founded by Minnesota designer and brand strategist Jen Kreilich, J.Lux creates small-batch and one-of-a-kind jewelry with a modern bohemian flair. 

Key products: Leather bolo ties decorated with metal spikes, suede fringed necklaces, and leather earrings cut into the shape of feathers. jlux.co

Honour Essentials

About: This just-launched Minnesota brand founded by brothers Jarad and Matt Poling sells naturally derived men's skin and shave products—and single-origin coffee. The unconventional combination is geared toward improving men's morning rituals, and also has a practical element: The small and broken coffee beans are pressed for oil that's used in their moisturizer and shave cream, and the ground remnants are used in an exfoliating rinse. Plus, all products are available in compostable refill pods made from recycled materials.

Key products: Honour Essentials Exfoliating Rinse, Shave Well Cream, Revitalizing Moisturizer, Safety Razor (manufactured in Fridley, Minnesota), and Single-Origin Estate Coffee Beans. honouressentials.com

Koonyai Studio

About: Koonyai Studio designer Beau Sinchai creates her unique, architectural concrete and metal jewelry designs out of her Bloomington-based workshop.

Key products: Concrete Half-Moon Necklace, Statement Geometric Necklace, and Circle Concrete Earrings. koonyaistudio.com

Minny & Paul

About: Gift box services are becoming increasingly popular. New brand Minny & Paul adds a Minnesota twist to the trend by curating boxes with locally made products.

Key products: Beeswax candles and artisanal nuts to Dead Sea salt–infused bath soaks and hand-dyed scarves—each arriving in a custom-made keepsake box by local maker WAAM Industries. minnyandpaul.com

Still Kickin

About: When Nora McInerny’s young husband fell ill, she founded the nonprofit Still Kickin in his honor. It sells branded products to help others who are struggling with sickness, death, or other challenges, and every month, the organization chooses a Still Kickin Hero to receive the proceeds from sales of its branded products and donation-based workouts with small gyms around the country.

Key products: The original Still Kickin tee, Still Kickin Baby Onesie, and co-branded Lululemon activewear (available by special order). stillkickin.co/shop

Timber & Tulip

About: Mid-century modern furniture gets a futuristic twist with Timber & Tulip, a new furniture maker out of Minneapolis founded by designer Brianne Boettner.

Key products: Modular coffee tables, credenzas, side tables, and nightstands—plus a just-introduced line of color-blocked cutting boards. timberandtulip.com

While the event is free, RSVPs are requested at labmpls.com/collective-speakers to attend the workshops. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat., April 8 @ Loring Social Event Center, 1629 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. Visit labmpls.com/collective-members for the full list of makers

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