Collective Spirit

A new crop of collectives drives a new model of retail

A spread of women's apparel, including shorts and shirts with decorative flowers.
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Clothing: Winsome Goods shorts, $120, mudcloth top, $160, and denim top, $140, @ Winsome Goods, 201 Sixth St. SE #2, Minneapolis. Ceramics & Jewelry: There There vases by Lucy Voller, $60 each, and There There earrings by Lauren Traver, Lucy Voller, and Katie Woodling, $45–$50 per pair, all @

Photos Tj Turner.  Prop Styling Mandy Finders 

Since the 2008 recession and the rise of e-commerce, models of retail have drastically changed. Nationally, a so-called “retail apocalypse” has been underway, with more than 3,000 store closings in suburban malls across the country—the result of a shift in shopping habits from in-person to online. The neighborhoods and malls that are thriving (and even expanding), such as the North Loop in Minneapolis, Edina’s Galleria shopping center, and the Mall of America, offer distinctive experiences and great service. 

In this evolving economic landscape, a new trend has emerged: the collective. When it opened in 2013, North Loop’s D.Nolo was the first local boutique to embrace a cooperative model. The business is made up of six retailers spanning women’s fashion to home goods, offering a one-stop shop for multiple shopping experiences. Golden Rule, a maker-oriented shop founded by jewelry designer Erin Kate Duininck two years ago in Excelsior, showcases goods from a collective of designers and artisans from Minnesota and beyond.

Earlier this year, designer Kathryn Sieve opened a sewing studio in Minneapolis that doubles as a storefront. It sells a mix of clothing by her label, Winsome, and a rotating selection of goods from other independent clothing and accessories designers. “In the past, I had people asking to come into my studio to try things on,” she explains. “Now, people don’t have to schedule time—they can just walk in the door. Plus, it’s helpful from a design perspective because I’m constantly watching people try on clothing, so I can hone in on a particular fit or style that works best.” 

A new partnership of four local jewelry designers, artists, print makers, and ceramicists known as There There has taken a collective approach to their businesses. United by a shared aesthetic and a desire to create objects that are both useful and beautiful, the group sells their handcrafted wares online, at Forage Modern Workshop, and at regular pop-up sales. “We all work from separate studio spaces but get together often to drink wine and share what we’ve been working on,” says There There’s Lucy Voller, who makes ceramics, jewelry, and mixed-media artwork. “It’s a great source for creative critique and inspiration.”