The hyper-local initiative offers a new retail setting, expanding the DC maker community.
Washington, D.C. may be known for lawyers and lobbyists, but in every unique neighborhood of the District are creative entrepreneurs and hobbyists. Shop Made in DC, the first brick and mortar store of its kind to offer exclusively DC brands, opened its second location at The Wharf earlier this week. While the company’s original location in Dupont Circle operates alongside a full-service cafe, the shop at the Wharf is exclusively retail.
Curated by business partners Stacey Price and Michael Babin, Shop Made in DC’s second location continues its mission of cultivating a low-entry to marketplace setting for DC creators to sell their goods, increasing visibility of their brands while stimulating the local economy. Price and Babin’s expansion of Shop Made in DC to The Wharf is reflective of the District’s growing small business scene.
Since 2017, Shop Made in DC has worked with over 185 crafters and vendors. Such collaborations are made possible by the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development, Golden Triangle BID and Boston Properties, as part of the city’s MADE IN DC Program to support and promote community-based producers.
More than $800,000 has been given back to producers through successful partnerships and staff members are continually looking to work with new makers. Their scouting techniques follow popular platforms that artists use to expand their presence.
“My staff and I are always searching for creative talent,” Price says. “Sometimes it’s even while wandering through the markets or simply talking with people while roaming the streets.”
Shop Made in DC offers an advantageous space for both business professionals and those who enjoy a creative outlet from their everyday desk jobs to market boutique products in a thriving creative economy, Price says. Those interested in becoming a SMIDC maker can apply here.
The Wharf development offered the District venture a one-year lease. “This is an opportunity to experiment with a new area. We looked into Georgetown and additional neighborhoods, but decided The Wharf would present a new environment to showcase the works of the makers, helping them enter the market and reach new clientele,” says Price.
The modern 1,400 square-foot corner location offers appealing retail opportunities for locals to proudly support their favorite neighborhood artists, and tourists looking for unique mementos. The glass-enclosed shop is decorated with a mural by local artist Meg Biram and a plant canopy installation by Jungle & Loom in the center of the store.
“One of our makers – Designs by Bolu – takes fallen trees from local parks and crafts them into bracelets. Every one is one-of-a-kind. They are crafted in DC, and literally, are made from DC,” says Price.
Other merchandise highlights include jewelry from Langdon Park, candy from Capitol Hill, dolls hand-stitched in the District, bath accessories produced in Alexandria and pieces by Jon Wye, an artist who got his start selling in Eastern Market. Next to the makers’ products are labels with their photos, company name, neighborhood, how many years they have lived in DC, years as a maker and social media handle. It’s easy to recognize the products themselves, but more importantly, the familiar faces who make them.
In celebration of its second location opening, the corner-shop on District Square will host classes, workshops and monthly collaborations with Salon Betty to help participants reach their creative potential. Limited daytime co-working space and monthly Lunch & Learns with featured consultants will provide pro-bono advice for helping individuals launch their brands.
Shop Made in DC at The Wharf is located at 10 District Square SW, Washington, DC 20024 and is open daily from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Grand opening festivities will take place February 16 at The Wharf, followed by sponsored workshops. For more information, visit www.shopmadeindc.com