Made in MN

 

Photo by Todd Buchanan

February 2012

Busy Bees

In 16 months, Worker B has developed 10 products, ranging from light facial moisturizers to intense putty for cracked hands and feet. They also took home Best in Show from the New York International Gift Fair and an AIGA award for their letterpress packaging. Worker B products are available at multiple locations, including The Bibelot Shops, Bachman’s, and worker-b.com.

 

 


 

Photo by Todd Buchanan

December 2011

Photo Sensitive

Meeting Andrew Kamin, founder of Canopy, a line of iPhone “app-cessories,” calls to mind how influential Steve Jobs continues to be. Kamin, a photographer, was frustrated with the limitations of the iPhone camera. So he obtained an Apple license—no easy feat—and developed a line of protective cases, tripods, and, in the case of the Kapok, a tripod that adds a button to the iPhone, turning it into a camera, with exposure and focus controls and the ability to make stop-motion movies. For aesthetes, his gadgets fit the bill; tech geeks will love the open-source software. It’s Jobs’s version of the American dream: tech prototypes once built in the garage will be seen the world over, on the world’s most coveted devices. canopyco.com

 


 

Photo by Todd Buchanan

November 2011

Super Jewels

Jennifer Merchant’s jewelry matches her personality: bold and retro-yet-modern, in that Lynda Carter-as-Wonder Woman way. Merchant took her metalsmithing background and applied it to her hand-carved, hand-polished Corian and acrylic pieces, the latter layered with found images, which creates an avant-garde, double-sided design. She also tried out for Lifetime’s Project Accessory, but was cut after the second round. Undaunted, she plans to try again. “I’m scrappy and I want it,” she says. “I’m pushing the boundary between fashion and fine jewelry.” Jennifer Merchant Design is available at Bumbershute, Gallery 360, and jennifermerchantdesign.com

 


 

Photo by Todd Buchanan

October 2011

The Better to See You With

If the eyes are windows to the soul, consider Eyemusement’s sassy frames the best window dressing. Savvy sexagenarians Susan Moore and Mary Jane Pappas, friends of 35 years who share a passion for design, weren’t about to sport “little old lady” frames when it came to transitioning into readers and progressives. So they pooled their experience to create feng shui-, French-, and vintage-inspired designs made from acetate and metal—along with colliers (essentially necklaces to hold glasses) designed by local artists Talin Spring and Helen Wang. A marriage of fashion and function, they’re also affordable—under a hundred bucks. eyemusement.com

 


 

Photo by Rod Hasse Photography

September 2011

Unmentionables Worth Mentioning

Sarah White, couturier and proprietress of Jagress Intimates, walks into Urban Bean looking the very picture of a lady: blouse, pencil skirt, kitten heels, Kate Spade handbag. First impression: this is the woman I would want shaping my silhouette. But she also has the credentials to design and sew couture lingerie, having attended DeMontfort University in Leicester, England, the only school that teaches the art of making intimates. Her designs are heirloom quality, not to mention glamorous and comfortable. By making beautiful things, she loves to make women appreciate their own beauty. “I love helping women feel that what they have is good enough,” she says. Jagress Intimates, 612-703-9298, jagressintimates.com

 


 

Photo by Todd Buchanan

August 2011

Read These Lips

“Lipstick is bold, daring, and demands to be taken seriously,” says The Elixery founder Karoline Wells. She would know. She has developed a seriously beautiful lipstick line that she makes herself, built on a platform of equality and kindness to animals, people, and the environment. Wells’ 100-percent vegan, PETA-certified lipstick isn’t all talk, either: Her line is also long-lasting and moisturizing, with a color palette that gives MAC a run for its money. All her concientious thinking lets the wearer experiment with a fun accessory and make a statement, too. After all, don’t we all feel more courageous when we wear a gorgeous lipstick? $18 @ Elixery.com

 


 

Photo by Terry Brennan

July 2011

Lovingly Odd

Molly Spilane creates art reminiscent of antique anatomy books or Gregor Mendel’s genetics experiments. Back then, reference materials and research didn’t feel so much high-tech as they did occult or slightly dangerous. Spilane’s cuffs, lockets, pendants, plates, and prints feature similarly odd and “off” images—not unlike a flight of fancy written by Roald Dahl or Lewis Carroll. But the popularity of her work—buyers include Kate Beckinsale and Billy Bob Thornton—confirms we’re all still contemplating the mysteries of the universe. Sold at the Walker Art Center, Guthrie Theater, I Like You, and etsy.com/shop/uniqueartpendants
 


 

Photo by Terry Brennan

June 2011

On a Soapbox

StormSister Spatique owner Becky Sturm had had enough. Her relentless requests for products with better, safer ingredients went unanswered, so she decided to do it herself, closing her brick-and-mortar shop (she’s still open online) and lassoing investors and manufacturers for her own line. The result is the Shhh Bar, a superfatted soap free of synthetics, preservatives, and artificial scents, suitable for shampooing, showering, and shaving. The packaging is compostable and recyclable. And the unisex-scented essential oil blends are to die for. So naturally, Sturm followed up with the matching perfume blend, 8. Shhh Bar, $17, 3waybeauty.com
 


 

Photo by Todd Buchanan

May 2011

Mother Lode

Martha Lunde of Martha’s Gardens has been on the Twin Cities’ floral scene for years, but recently she moved her shop from St. Anthony Park to Snelling and Selby in St. Paul. Two tips if you plan to visit: give her a call a few days beforehand for the best picks, and choose pickup over delivery. Why? Because you should present these flowers in person, and you’ll want time to browse. Martha’s retail space feels like the aunt’s house you always wanted to explore, full of charming bits such as tiny letterpress tags, terrariums and cloches, jewelry, and spools of ribbons. 1593 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-696-2993, marthasfloralstudio.com
 


 

Photo by Todd Buchanan

April 2011

Ionator Hom

Its time to retire your spray bottles and harsh chemicals. Developed by Rogers-based Activeion Cleaning solutions, the Ionator Hom looks like a sci-fi weapon, but it destroys bacteria–not aliens.  This clever cleaning gadget gives plain tap water and electric charge, transforming it into negative and positive nano-bubbles that attract and annihliate dirt.  It’s a sure shot for pure cleaning satisfaction.  $169 at activeion.com

  


 

Photo by Todd Buchanan

March 2011

Rapport Handbags

Fresh out of college, Michele Henry and Wesley Uthus have launched a grown-up line of clutches. Rapport Handbags pays homage to local landmarks with collections such as the Walker, France Avenue, and Lake of the Isles. The design duo handcrafts each one-of-a-kind bag using leather, silk, and magnetic embellishments which can also be used to pretty up a jacket lapel or pair of pumps. From $80 @ shoprapport.com

 


 

 

Photo by Todd Buchanan

February 2011

Awesome Blossom 

Alex Lehr named her floral-design business after her favorite flower: a thistle. “It’s this angry flower among soft, pretty things,” she says. Its prickliness is hardly analogous to her bubbly personality, but its hardiness might be a metaphor for her decision to open Thistle solo. Lehr handles each order, from design to delivery. And not all her deliveries are romantic: Weekly office drops inject vibrancy and, she says, provide a perfect colleague thank-you. “My customers’ budgets are smaller,” she says, “but there’s room for creativity.” At this budding young shop, anything’s possible. Thistle Floral Design, 952-237-7487, thistlefloral.com

 


 

Photo by Todd Buchanan

January 2011

Pack Your Bags

BlueBernice is the Etsy shop run by Colisa Lemal, an oncology nurse with an MCAD art degree. The shop is named after her grandmother—and her Grandma’s hair color—because Lemal’s love of vintage and upcycling came from her grandparents’ lifestyle of “making do.” “They lived that way out of necessity,” she says. “I like honoring that.” Her love of luggage began at a garage sale where she bought a red case for a dollar. “Vintage luggage is incredibly durable. I just wanted to freshen it up,” she says of the woodland creatures she hand-paints on the cases. This is one suitcase you’ll never lose at baggage claim. bluebernice.etsy.com

 


 

Photo by Todd Buchanan

December 2010

Fabulous Fascinators

Anna Lee is returning to Ruby3. For the past few years, Lee has been serving as creative director of MN Fashion and producing the Voltage runway show, so her own millinery-design work has been put on hold. But she recently re-immersed herself in the endeavor. Intensely vibrant, her fascinators explode with color and texture, and put a glamorous, more-is-more touch on holiday hair. “It’s like a symphony,’ she says. “You add something a little dissonant, and it strikes a deeper chord.’ Lee loves seeing that chord resonate with her customers: “Fascinators make flirtatiousness come out,’ she says. “And that is so fun to watch.’ ruby3.com

 


 

Photo by SARA RUBiNSTEIN

November 2010

In the Loop

“There’s no reason you can’t dress cute even when it’s cold,” says Kedrin Likness, the crochet artist behind Atta Girl by Kedrin. Well said. Likness expertly crochets wintry must-haves with unexpected twists: ear warmers bedecked with bows, loopy scarves, and even multi-“chain” necklaces made of yarn and adorned with vintage buttons. Now, Likness is debuting a line called Hazel + Haverly, sweetly named after her grandmothers, who taught her the craft. The line will include lofty lovelies made with cashmere, silk, and leather. Minnesotans: Make a statement with your winter-weather wardrobe. Start here. Available at Corazon and attagirlbykedrin.com

 


 

Photo by TODD BUCHANAN

October 2010

Beautiful Baubles

Tracy Bennett started going to flea markets in search of bargain furnishings after moving into her first home. “My mom had this way of making something from nothing,” she says of her inspiration. Eventually, Bennett’s home became too crowded for all the tables and knickknacks, so she began refashioning flea-market jewelry into necklaces. Bigger is better and more is more for Bennett, who is both inventive and judicious, forging an edgy aesthetic while keeping the original spirit. “Some things I can’t tear apart,” she says. Those, she keeps for herself. Thankfully, she sells the rest. Scout Vintage is available at Ladyslipper, A. Michele, June, and 612-205-7498.

 


 

Photo by TODD BUCHANAN

September 2010

Up Her Sleeve

When Minneapolis architect Angie Davis lost her job, she packed up her design sensibility and set up a shop, Byrd + Belle, on Etsy.com. Design-conscious iFans, looking for something stylish with which to store their beloved Apple gadgets, began snapping up her modern-meets-J.Crew sleeves for laptops, iPods, iPads, and iPhones. Davis, who grew up on a farm, has married her upbringing with her education: “It’s a very clean, simple product, steeped in traditional materials,” she says. “The end product feels modern to me, but wool and leather are the oldest known materials. I’m evening out my two former lives.” etsy.com/shop/byrdandbelle

 


 

Photo by TODD BUCHANAN

August 2010

Scene Setting

Meghan Elizabeth Pottery evokes a sense of place, and that place is St. Paul. Artist Meghan Lunos starts with a photograph she has taken of an interesting local setting or landmark. Then, she handpaints that image onto her pottery. The result? A spectacular, black-and-white vignette: Maybe it’s a familiar place, such as the cathedral, from an angle you’ve never considered. Or an everyday sight, such as delivery trucks making neighborhood rounds, elevated to an iconic image. Lunos’s pieces look just right on any wall, counter, or tabletop. In fact, they would make a showstopping dinner setting. mepottery.com

 


 

Photo by Terry Brennan

July 2010

Sleek Vessels

Ernest Miller is a potter who creates sleek vessels with otherworldly, crystalline finishes in his northeast Minneapolis studio (see page 77).  We’re drawn to them because of the resemblance to Minnesota windshields on December mornings, and because of the almost-three-dimensional depth that adorned this piece’s surface. “We have strong traditions of classic shapes, so I like to push the finish to a contemporary level,” Miller says. So is it a sculpture? A vase? “It’s more of a sculpture, meant to be looked at and appreciated,” he says. We’d appreciate it in our living room. Ernest Miller Studios, Northrup King Building, Mpls., 612-386-2291, ernestmiller.com

 


 

June 2010

Nice Ring To It

Sculptor-turned-goldsmith Emily Johnson has been producing gorgeous wearable art part-time since 2006, but 2010 marks her first year full-time, on her own. Her mixed-metal stackable rings, earrings, necklaces, and cuffs, have a tough, yet feminine style—a connection to her sculpting past, and a perfect accent for this season’s girly-meets-biker style. (P.S. She makes great wedding and commitment rings.) Pictured: Bud Rings, sterling silver, 14K pink gold, and rose-cut champagne diamonds. $475 each, Ecdesignstudios.com.
 


 

Photo by Todd Buchanan

May 2010

Sunleaf Naturals

After years of developing beauty products for other companies, local chemist Teresa Andrys became disenchanted with their use of synthetic ingredients and excessive packaging—so she launched SunLeaf Naturals. The plant-based products for home and body are biodegradable and preservative-and petrochemical-free. Because they’re scented with 100 percent essential-oil blends, like Grapefruit Ginger and Lemon Vetiver, they smell just as good for you as they actually are. Visit sunleafnaturals.com for retail locations.
 


 

 

April 2010

Ionator Hom

It’s time to retire your spray bottles and harsh chemicals. Developed by Rogers-based Activeion Cleaning Solutions, the Ionator Hom looks like a sci-fi weapon, but it destroys bacteria—not aliens. This clever cleaning gadget gives plain tap water an electric charge, transforming it into negative and positive nano-bubbles that attract and annihilate dirt. It’s a sure shot for pure cleaning satisfaction. $169 at activeion.com

 

 


 

March 2010

Rapport Handbags

Fresh out of college, Michele Henry and Wesley Uthus have launched a grown-up line of clutches. Rapport Handbags pays homage to local landmarks with collections such as the Walker, France Avenue, and Lake of the Isles. The design duo handcrafts each one-of-a-kind bag using leather, silk, and magnetic embellishments which can also be used to pretty up a jacket lapel or pair of pumps. From $80 @ shoprapport.com
 


 

February 2010

Pierrepont Hicks

She’s a fashionista from Brooklyn who’s worked for guys named Ralph and Calvin. He’s a gent from Minneapolis who shares her love of dapper design and woolen textiles. Together, Kat and Mac McMillan launched Pierrepont Hicks, a nifty new line of neckwear. Crafted from fine fabrics like tartan plaid and Dupioni silk, the two-toned ties pair perfectly with a three-piece suit—or a pint at the pub. $59–$89, pierreponthicks.com

 


January 2010

J.W. Hulme

For more than a century, St. Paul–based J.W. Hulme has crafted classic canvas-and-leather luggage, sporting bags, and accessories—rugged yet refined pieces that have never gone out of style. Now helmed by a former high-fashion-handbag designer, the company is turning out designs—like this luxurious all-leather duffle ($620)—that are as timeless as ever. 678 W. Seventh St., St. Paul, 651-222-7359, jwhulmeco.com

 


 

Photo by Todd Buchanan

November 2009

Too Many Suitors

By day, Sara Linter designs products, packaging, and posters for big names like Carlson Companies and Target. By night, she unleashes her creative magic on a collection of canvas totes, paper goods, and Twin Cities–themed T-shirts for her independent label, Too Many Suitors. We have a soft spot for Linter’s whimsical wall art, which she screen-prints by hand on French paper. Trés chic. $20, toomanysuitors.com

 

 


Photo by Todd Buchanan

October 2009

Bodylish

So often “homemade” bath and body products look like a science experiment and smell like a bouquet of patchouli and old-lady perfume. If you prefer clean, fresh-picked scents, you’ll eat up Nora Schaper’s Bodylish collection. The soaps, bath bombs, and foot soaks are handcrafted in small batches using organic and sustainably grown ingredients from Schaper’s family farm in Minnetonka. $7–$15, bodylish.com
 


 

September 2009

Silvercocoon

As the daughter of renowned Duluth-based architect David Salmela, Tia Keobounpheng knows a thing or two about design. Her Silvercocoon jewelry collection juxtaposes natural shapes with industrial materials for an organic, unfussy effect. Find Keobounpheng’s pieces at Silvercocoon.com. She is also hosting a trunk show from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 12, at Danish Teak Classics, 1500 Jackson St., Mpls., 612-362-7870.
 


 

Courtesy of LollDesigns.com

August 2009

Loll Designs

If your lawn furniture looks like it could use a vacation, consider the maintenance-free designs of Duluth-based Loll, whose chairs, benches, and tables can be left outdoors in even the harshest Minnesota weather. The company makes each piece using 100-percent-recycled materials (it took 400 milk jugs to create this chair) and donates a portion of its profits to local environmental organizations. lolldesigns.com
 


 

Photo by Todd Buchanan

July 2009

Post Handbags

The brainchild of two local art historians, Post handbags pay tribute to renowned artists and their era. The Bramante collection (pictured) features a rendering of the brass medallion that Italian Renaissance artist Donato Bramante designed for Our Lady of Grace church in Milan. Each luxurious Post bag is handcrafted in Minnesota using fine leathers and exotic skins. Pick one up posthaste at postdash.com.

 


 

Photo by Todd Buchanan

June 2009

Nelle Wedding Collection

For her new Nelle Wedding Collection, local handbag designer Laura Nelli took cues from the runway, incorporating rich silks and romantic ruffles. Her hand-sewn clutches, which make regular appearances at Henri Bendel trunk shows, are now available in 32 different color combinations, making it easy to customize them for your bridesmaids—or yourself. They make posh evening bags, too. $65 and up, nellehandbags.com
 


 

Photo by Todd Buchanan

May 2009

Jessica Rust Designs

Inspired by the birth of her own son, tabletop designer Jessica Rust creates personalized plates, platters, and mugs to commemorate important life events.What better way to celebrate Mom than by commissioning a silhouette plate, illustrated by Rust using a submitted photo of a son or daughter? The oversized porcelain plates are simple, modern, and—most important—dishwasher-safe. $110, rustdesigns.com

 

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