Wall-to-wall artisan shops, flaunting colorful awnings and “we are open!” signs line both sides of a quiet street downtown…this is a familiar picture to most Michiganders. Many Michigan suburbs are home to small artisan shops featuring the work of local talent.
One such store, Made in the Mitten, just opened it’s doors in July 2017. Located at 706 S Washington Ave in downtown Royal Oak, this store exclusively features work made by local, Michigan-based artists. The variety of work sold at this artisan shop is astounding, and can cover many of your everyday needs. Paintings, woodwork, jewelry, body soaps, lotions, home decor, apparel: you name it, someone in Michigan is a master of that craft!
Below are 5 local makers to watch, and who has art stocking the shelves of Made in the Mitten:
1. Gen D. Rustic Creations
This business, started by a mother who has always had a love for antiques, sells unique woodwork and other home decor. All of her pieces are homemade and one of a kind! Many of Gen’s pieces repurpose old construction equipment and make them into useful home appliances. For example, the nail used on the key rack pictured above comes from an abandoned railroad in metro Detroit. The number stands for the year that particular nail was put in the track: 1953. For a full look through Gen’s products, you can visit her website or Facebook page.
2. Fresh Fotos
Fresh Fotos was started by Pete Brazle, a minister in metro Detroit. Most of the photos in his collection are of scenic Detroit shots and other Michigan landscapes, and are once again one of a kind. He’s known for his typographic collages, like in the image above. Pete does custom orders as well. You can order framed photos online or by dropping by his booth at the Made in the Mitten store.
3. Riddell Wood Works
This particular vendor is actually a group of veterans who specialize in wood pieces. As you can see in the image, they make serving trays along with furniture and home decor made from repurposed wood found all over Detroit. Some of the wood Riddell Wood Works uses is taken from aged and abandoned homes in Detroit. The history associated with these pieces, along with the superior craftsmanship, make them worth a look.
4. The Sassy Olive
This business was started by a young Michigan-native who was attending medical school when she began designing her signature headbands. She started off selling a few to friends and family, then the business exploded. Now, she works full time crafting these unique accessories. All of her headbands are custom-designed and assembled. These headbands can be styled in a variety of ways, and are perfect for everything from working out or going out. You can see more samples on the Sassy Olive Facebook page, or by visiting their website.
5. The Foxy Hipster
Definitely one of the most fun brands in the store, Foxy Hipster was started by a woman from Auburn Hills who really enjoys making custom earrings featuring pop culture references along with other jewelry, mugs, magnets, apparel and more. These unique items are fun and stylish, and if you don’t laugh at least once while perusing her booth at the store, you just aren’t doing it right. You can visit the Foxy Hipster’s website or Facebook page for more information on their products.
If you are interested in learning more about Michigan-made products, stop by the Made in the Mitten shop in Royal Oak, or go exploring in your own hometown! Local talent is everywhere, you just have to find it.
For a full product list, or to check out their online inventory, visit Made in the Mitten’s website. They will also be hosting a Holiday Market in Royal Oak’s Farmers Market on Saturday, November 25th. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.
What local talent did we neglect to mention? Who should we feature next? Tell us in the comments below!