Big cities mean tons of options, which unfortunately can also mean too many options when you’re pressed to find the best. So to share the best local makers in Boston, we’ve assembled the A-team of insiders: some of our favorite Krrb members and resident influencers with knowledge on where to go and what to pick up. Let’s meet the team!
Natalie Chassaigne Kurtzman of The Boston Day Book and Wishful Nals is a social marketer for beauty brand Follain and finds the best of Boston to share with her own followers! Follow along with her on her personal Instagram account and also Boston Day Book’s feed. (NK)
Joyelle West is a Boston-based photographer with some serious style. While all of her photos are beautiful, her focus is on lifestyle and interior shoots. Follow her along on Instagram to get an inside look at the projects she has been working on! (JW)
Liz Murphy and Lindsay Burke of Slow it Down Girl are two twenty-something year olds in Boston who have set aside time from their careers in order to create their blog together. From fashion and decor tips to healthy recipes, you can find it all here! (LM) (LB)
Kaylyn Hewitt of 1956Blooms has an eye for the most aesthetically pleasing floral design out there! As a floral designer and stylist, Kaylyn encourages everybody to enjoy flowers and to celebrate one another. Follow along on Instagram, but be prepared to have some major floral envy. (KH)
Kristin Bassett of It’s Kristin works in technology marketing by day and runs her blog by night. From beauty tips to travel to wellness and everything in between, you’ll surly be able to pick up trick or two after stopping over at It’s Kristin. Also, be sure to follow along with her day-to-day life in Boston over on her Instagram! (KB)
1. I always tend to find out about new local makers via social media, Instagram specifically, are there any feeds you follow that showcase local makers? Let us know so we can follow along!
NK: Social media is such a wonderful discovery tool! It’s my favorite resource while traveling, and there are so many wonderful people to follow in Boston. Liz Wible of @lizandlavender shares her favorite coffee shops, beautiful city scenes, and a peek inside the world of local businesses. For everything devoted to Cambridge, we love checking out @cambridgeusa which is run by the team at the Cambridge Office for Tourism. When it comes to local makers, we love everything that @_wildhumm shares. She’s so talented!
JW: I love @olivesandgrace, a store in the South End who’s feed is full of local designers. @westelmfenway also has local popups in their store almost every weekend and they share the news on Instagram, it’s a great way to find out about local makers.
LB: Jill Rosenwald of @jillrosenwald is a designer and maker of colorful and chic table-top goods, bedding and rugs. Her studio is in the Fort Point. @Jsgd_ is Jessica Sutton’s boutique graphic design firm. She and her team are constantly evolving small business brands and I love seeing new logos, print collateral and websites they launch. @Alicestable is a local florist company that offers custom made weekly arrangements as well as arranging classes. @Brassclothing is a Boston-based clothing company that is currently designing and manufacturing simple, classic pieces.
KH: There are so many incredible makers in Boston! A few favorites— @myrthceramics, @taylorceramics, @faycetextiles, @apothekerskitchen, @theeveryday_co, and @forestbound.
KB: For drool-worthy local food makers, you have to follow @bostonpublicmarket and @bostonfoodies. Every photo makes me hungry. Thank god you can’t gain weight by liking food photos. You also need to check out Made By New England by @toricruice, @domestikateblog, @bostonfashionista and @bosbloggers.
2. Living in a major city can leave you ambushed with shopping options—are there any mom and pop stores you’ve become loyal to rather than sticking to “the big guys”? (Think: You’ve Got Mail)
NK: Absolutely! My personal favorite is Follain (I am biased — I’m on their digital team) with locations in the South End and Beacon Hill. The healthy beauty store is curated with the nicest beauty and skincare products. For gifts, I love visiting Olives & Grace in the South End or for quirky gifts I visit Black Ink in Beacon Hill. I love popping in to Viola Lovely in the South End to browse clothing and accessories. Boston has a really supportive small business community and the majority of consumers are really excited to shop local (and small).
JW: Yes! Loyal Supply Co in Somerville’s Union Square is one of my favorites. They have such beautifully curated modern pieces. I also love Templeton General in Fort Point and Pioneer Goods in the South End.
LM: In Boston there is no shortage of mom and pop stores. It may require you to veer off of Newbury and Boylston Streets (the two big shopping streets in Boston), however with minimal effort you can easily find independent shops that have carefully curated selections of goods that are also priced competitively amongst bigger box stores like Anthropologie, West Elm or Sephora. My top three shops (in no particular order) are Flock, a women’s clothing and accessories store located on Shawmut Ave, Olives and Grace, a perfectly curated gift shop located Tremont Street, and Follain, a healthy beauty store with locations on Charles St. and Tremont St. and is truly one of a kind.
KH: Olives and Grace, Farm and Fable, Sault New England, Loyal Supply Co. and Black Ink.
KB: There are unlimited options for local shopping in and around Boston. For food I like to pick up smaller more speciality groceries from Bee’s Knees and Boston Public Market, grab a burger on the go at b.good and devour a burrito from Boloco rather than shopping at Whole Foods, Five Guys/Shake Shack or Chipotle. If you want something more local than Starbucks, stop by Thinking Cup or Tatte for a coffee and baked good. For picking up gifts, Olives & Grace is always a fabulous choice, and Crane & Lion is a Boston-based replacement for Lululemon.
3. One thing that I am always trying to find is locally-made beauty products (lotions, soaps, perfumes etc). Any suggestions of where to snag some locally in your city?
NK: Yes! Follain has the best refillable soap (you purchase a glass bottle the first time and then bring it back for refills!) and they change their soap taps every few months so you can try new scents. They also sell beautiful soap bars from Saipua, which is a small business based in Brooklyn, NY. All of their products are made in the U.S. and many are from New England.
JW: Follain is the best place in the city! Hands down.
LM: Yes! Boston is lucky to be home to Follain, a healthy beauty store that carries naturally made skincare, haircare and beauty products all made in the U.S. (some of which are made locally here in Massachusetts and our neighboring New England states). If I were to choose one must-have item from Follain it would have to be the gentle hand and body soap that they have on-tap in each of their stores!
KH: Follain is so so so wonderful. Stop by if you’re ever in town!
KB: While Follain has a location in D.C. and sells non-local products as well, they carry a wide range of natural beauty products, some of which are locally made. Plus, the space is gorgeous and the staff is always welcoming and helpful. They also regularly host educational events open to the public.
4. Where do you go to discover local makers?
NK: I love wandering around the Boston Public Market. The market is mostly comprised of food vendors, but I always leave feeling inspired (and with a bag of cider donuts!). There are so many markets in the city, especially in the warmer months. I love visiting the South End Open Market on Sundays in the summer, where you can shop for everything vintage, handmade, and pick up some delicious farmer’s market items. There are often local makers popping up on The Greenway, too.
JW: The SoWa markets are a great place to start. I also like going to some of the Open Studio events around the city, Somerville Open Studios is one of my favorites. Seasonally, the holiday markets are fun – Remodelista had a New England Market in December that had an amazing selection of gifts and home goods.
LM: As a blogger I do get some exposure to emerging local makers through blogger and retail events, but the majority of my discovery happens quite organically while browsing Boston neighborhoods like Beacon Hill, the South End and the North End. Boston is such a walkable city that it is quite easy to stumble upon a pop-up shop or local market like the Boston Public Market or SoWA open-air market. Upon discovering a local maker or brand I am not shy about looking them up on Instagram and browsing their feed!
KH: Just a short walk in a neighborhood can reveal so many gems. Boston has these wonderful neighborhoods with very distinct styles and shops, and there is so much to uncover. If I’m looking for new inspiration or new places to shop, often I’ll visit a neighborhood that I’m not as familiar with. It’s amazing what you miss if you stay put in your own neck of the woods.
KB: Have I mentioned Boston Public Market yet? Oh, just about a hundred times, you say?! I can’t help it – it’s a fabulous option for local food options. I also love checking out the South End Open Markets (formerly SOWA) because you can get everything from home decor and beauty items to produce and food truck eats.
5. If you want to give someone a gift that truly says “Boston” what do you get them?
NK: Great question! It depends on the person whom I’m giving the gift to, but I’ll likely always choose something food-related. I love the food in Boston, especially when it comes to seafood and ice cream! I’d probably give a nice gift card to J.P. Licks for yummy ice cream (you must try the oatmeal cookie hard yogurt) or to Row 34 in the Seaport area for ceviche and lobster rolls. Another great gift that also doubles as an experience is a ride on a Boston Harbor Cruise which they can take over to Charlestown or to one of the Boston Harbor Islands. If you are looking to send a gift, I love everything that comes out of Porcelain & Stone’s studio. It doesn’t necessarily scream Boston, but it’s authentic and beautifully made in Boston, and many of her items resemble things found in the ocean or nature.
JW: Boston has a major obsession with craft cocktails, so I’d stop by The Boston Shaker in Davis Square, Somerville and pick up something unique for their bar cart.
LM: I take pride in not being a kitschy gift-giver and prefer to give gifts that have meaning but don’t have “Boston” written all over them. Since I can’t just choose one, I have narrowed it down to two gifts. First up, a Gurgling Cod pitcher from Shreve Crump and Lowe. This is a quintessential Boston gift that is fit as a mother’s day and/or a bridal shower gift and is a great piece to pick up for yourself! For something a bit less expensive, you can never go wrong with a growler or mixed 6-pack of beer from Harpoon Brewery.
KH: I was in Black Ink a couple of weeks ago and they have the most amazing “Boston” gifts—from cool tote bags with Boston neighborhood graphics to coffee table books, or Boston puzzles, they have so much. I’d probably stop by there!
KB: For the women in your life, I think the Cape Cod bracelet (see below) is a solid option. For guys, it’s hard to find something unique to Boston without going the pro-sports or college route (Red Sox and Harvard, anyone?). Adult beverages from local brewers are a good option for the men (or anyone, really) in your life. You can go with the global brands – Sam Adams or Harpoon – or you could go with some of the smaller brewers like Night Shift, Downeast Cider and Cambridge Brewing Company. What’s more Boston than drinking, right?
6. Every city tends to have a different style in terms of fashion—what local designer would you say embodies the overall fashion sense of your city?
NK: I would say the girls at Brass are getting it right! Their collection is always stylish but easy. I love their dresses, perfect for everyday and dressing up for a night out.
JW: Jessica Klein of Oh I Design – her style is fresh, clean and simple with rustic touches. A great combo for Boston, a city where old and new converge all the time.
LB: Hmm this is a tough one! I am not super familiar with a lot of local Boston designers (to be honest, I seem to be more familiar with NYC and LA-based local artists) – however I am going to name my favorite, Jill Rosenwald. Her hand-painted pottery is unique, yet preppy – and we all know Boston is known to be preppy!
KH: I think one of the best things about Boston is that it really captures that idea that the “whole is a sum of it’s parts”. Boston is a mixture of all different design styles coming together to create something super interesting and unique. It would be hard to say that one person embodies the spirit of design in Boston. It’s truly a unique city and I feel so honored to be apart of it.
KB: Boston is definitely more preppy and nautical than its big-city counterparts. For me, the Cape Cod bracelet is a staple New England girl item (I’m wearing one as I write this). It’s simple and classic but is unique to the Boston area. I’ve also recently discovered Sailormade (through Boston Fashionista) and like how the designs are nautical without being covered in anchors. Praise the heavens!