Brooklyn hipsters and Berkeley artisans might be the subject of a few Saturday Night Live and Funny or Die sketches, but they also make some pretty damn cool stuff.
And in an age where Dunkin’ Donuts and Urban Outfitters are replacing mom-and-pop shops left and right (i.e. Williamsburg), sometimes you lose track of where to find your fave locally-sourced lip balm.
That’s where Benjamin Chaikin, David Mehlman, Zachary Terzis, and Peter Smith, come in. The Brooklyn-based (obviously) best-friend quartet started MadeClose earlier this year—an online marketplace that lets you shop for American-made clothing, beauty, jewelry, and food, and learn about cool indie brands in your area.
“I live in Brooklyn and we’d been noticing, more and more, that while there are these independent creators, it’s getting harder to find them. As Brooklyn became more popular, independent chains started moving out,” says Smith.
While there are many sites out there selling homemade goods, like Etsy or Brika, MadeClose does things differently by focusing on local, established brands (not hobbyists), and by keeping you up to speed on the cool ones.
And interestingly, MadeClose introduces you to indie brands it might not even stock, under the “Explore” section, like Channing Daughters Winery and Love Nature, a Brooklyn-based candle company. “While we may not sell a maker’s products on the site, if we love their brand, message, and process, we might feature them on the site so customers can learn about them,” says Terzis.
The site also features maps, so you can look up local shops and brands based in your ‘hood. “When we first started, we were really keen on the idea of someone who lives in a specific neighborhood in Manhattan and wants to buy something within a radius of their apartment. Now, local means a lot more to us,” says Mehlman.
Meaning, you might want to buy a “local” product from across the country just because it’s nice to support small businesses with unique goods. “You could be a kid in Idaho who loves New York City fashion but has no way to access it,” Mehlman explains. “Our goal is to put local at everyone’s fingertips.” —Molly Gallagher
For more information, visit www.madeclose.com