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 Philly, 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!
Conrad Benner, founder and photographer for StreetsDept, is a Philly-based influencer who uses his love of the art scene and street culture to capture the true spirit of Philadelphia. You can catch his latest project, the Bernie Sanders Mural, and more on his Instagram & Twitter. (CB)
Emily Carris is a photographer, educator and founder of the Art Dept, a gallery and art supply boutique in the heart of the city. You can keep up with Emily and the ArtDep’s monthly exhibitions and classes on Instagram & Twitter. (ER)
Ruth Schanbacher, community coordinator for Handmade Philly, a member-run collective of independent artists, crafters, and designers working hard to grow the city’s local, sustainable, handmade movement. To see what the folks at Handmade Philly are up to, follow them on Twitter. (RS)
Liz Moorhead, a member of Handmade Philly, is the illustrator and owner of Betsy Ann Paper. Since 2009, she has hand-painted watercolor greeting cards from her kitchen table just outside of Philadelphia. You can keep updated on all new releases from Betsy Ann Paper by following Liz on Instagram. (LM)
1. What locally-made Philly products do you use?
RS: I love Phea Jean’s indie clothing line, Nicole Rae Styer‘s purses and Heidi Kelly‘s zip pouches and bags.
CB: This is a hard one. I don’t really buy anything but food. Well, food and art. Lots of Philly-based artists’ work, in fact. So, art! Final answer.
EC: I have a wonderful cotton moon tote from Honest Alchemy Co. that is perfect for holding all my knitting projects. I also use the Harper Pouch and tote by Fabric Horse that is fantastic. Their products are so durable and they have great colors. I really love the soap from Tilted Haggis. They’re soap is so moisturizing and smells amazing. Oh, and I also love the cold brew from Incarnate Coffee‘s home delivery service.
LM: I’m sipping LaColombe coffee as I type! We also love Weckerly’s ice cream, and have Olliver candles scattered throughout the house.
2. If you want to give someone a gift that truly says Philly what do you get them?
RS: I love to buy people artwork by local artists. Whenever I visit my sister in law for example, I get to see the collection of artwork she’s built over the years…each piece really takes me back. Lesley Haas has some truly lovely sculptural items, made of paper. Rachel Udell has some great large scale soft sculpture pieces, as well as delicate jewelry and wearable art. Jon F. Allen, Common Zen Savvy, Mark Mattson and Bonnie MacAllister are some of my fav Philly artists. Dana Henry has been producing some great sculptures lately.
CB: I hate to go back to this semi-obvious answer, but it’s the truth: I buy art for almost all the gifts I give.
EC: A hoagie from Wawa if you really love them. Or a screen printed map from Eyes Habit.
LM: A box of Shane chocolates (one of my favorite gifts to GET also!).
3. Where do you go to discover local Philly makers?
RS: Nice Things Handmade and Vix Emporium. Also the Punk Rock Flea Market and I’m looking forward to the upcoming RAW Philly event.
CB: Instagram! Allllll the creatives are on there. It’s really the best place to find people, in my opinion.
EC: Crafty Balboa and South Philly Handmade Brigade have both turned me on to some amazing local makers.
LM: Philadelphia Independents and the Franklin Flea.
4. I always tend to find out about new local makers via social media, Instagram specifically, are there any feeds you follow that showcase local Philly makers?
RS: I follow a ton of artists and makers on Instagram. Currently I’ve been obsessed with weavers…there’s never a shortage of visual inspo.
CB: Less feeds, more hashtags. Whenever I’m bored, I’ll scan though Philly-specific hashtags to find new people/artists/creatives. #MadeInPhilly might be the most appropriate for this line of questioning.
EC: On social media I follow Nice Things Handmade and the Philadelphia Egotist.
LM: @clovermarket, @craftybalboa and @artstarphilly.
5. Living in a major city, like Philly, 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”?
RS: Nice Things Handmade, Vix Emporium, Cerulean Arts Gallery. And I love visiting the local art galleries each First Friday, to check out the newest exhibits. Jed Williams Gallery is one of my current favorites.
CB: Taking this back to art, Paradigm Gallery in South Philly is an independently owned, Philly-based gallery that I ALWAYS check out. Always love the artists they have. They’re got really great taste.
EC: The bacon at Kensington Quarters really has me coming back over and over again. I like to make my way to Steap and Grind over Starbucks and I always try to hit up Kirk G Kredell Hardware before I have to go to Home Depot.
LM: Occasionette and Vix Emporium.
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 Philly?
RS: Philadelphia is eclectic…a melting pot of everything and the indie scene helps motivate that. Liliglow’s new line of women’s accessories will emphasis on the eclectic style of the urban indie scene through color and fun. Also the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator has some great designers.
EC: My favorite knit hat ever came from Klaus and Alfred. I get a compliment every time I wear it. I also love the work that Lillian Jackson is making, Her knits have a very elegant simplicity. And also love the rings that Mira Ramchandani makes.
LM: National Picnic.
7. 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 Philly?
RS: I love Mamoucha Soaps made by Kate Johnson, U-bee-well Lip Balm made by Barbara Gette and the line of products by Landed Gentress.
CB: Terra Luna Herbals, a line of small batch, whole body, herbal products made right here in Philadelphia! .
EC: For body care products I would have a look at Tilted Haggis as I mentioned above. But I also love really like the beard oil from Urban Cabin Soap Co. It smells great and preserves my skin from the likes of my boyfriend’s beard hair.
LM: Volta Market.