Nothing beats the quality craftsmanship of a product lovingly made by hand. No detail is overlooked and imperfections and variations are a plus. When you’re looking for something truly special, handmade is the way to go. Find it at one of these fine local establishments.
Will Leather Goods
1360 Abbot Kinney
Founder Bill Adler is the man behind Will Leather Goods, a brand conceived with humble beginnings as a leather belt stand in Venice. Today, it offers high quality handcrafted bags, wallets and other leather accessories. These classic goods are functionally designed to suit any lifestyle, from the urban jungle to a rainforest hike and everything in between. Will Leather Goods has come full circle with the opening of their awe-inspiring flagship store on Abbot Kinney in October.
Thoughtful product design pays homage to Americana, whether it is the inspiration for a bag shape or the charming details, such as their vintage lock closures. The special “FOUND” collection is where connoisseurs of fine leather goods can discover rare finds. Select pieces are made with leather that has been collected from Adler’s more than 30 years of scouring the globe for interesting leather, such as U.S. postal bags from 1950-1970. Will Leather Goods is the place to go to obtain a timeless piece of renewed American history.
Held at California Market Center
110 E. 9th Street
Los Angeles, CA. 90079
UNIQUE L.A. is the largest independent design show in the country. An estimated 20,000 attendees come to check out independent designers and buy local. Show attendees can buy directly from hundreds of hand-selected designers and artists, many offering handmade goods, such as Pasadena-based Anenome Letterpress. UNIQUE L.A. is a one-stop shop for rare finds while supporting the local “Made in the USA” community. In addition to shopping, guests can enjoy free drinks, craft projects and other fun happenings. The next event is the spring show taking place May 11 and 12. Check the website for updates on future shows.
Available at Aviator Nation
1224 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA. 90291
What happens when two Southern California friends go on a five-week college graduation trip to Costa Rica? Pura Vida (“pure life” in Spanish) becomes an inspiration-turned-handmade bracelet enterprise. Founders Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman are the names behind the beloved string bracelets that adorn the wrists of proud wearers everywhere. In addition to the classic 3-string bracelets, Pura Vida features braided, beaded and most recently introduced, the gold-plated bar styles. It’s not just a bracelet — it’s an expression of a lifestyle, with demand so high, the business provides full-time jobs and a comfortable living for more than 30 Costa Rican artisans who make them. To further the goodwill, Pura Vida donates a portion of its proceeds to the Surfrider Foundation; they also have an entire collection dedicated to charity bracelets. Additional retail locations throughout L.A. can be found here.
14556 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
With a location in the same 5,000-square-foot building on Ventura Boulevard for more than 18 years, they must be doing something right. Handmade Galleries offers an eclectic variety of handmade gifts, jewelry and décor from more than 100 artists and independent crafters. Customers are treated as dear friends, from their first to their 50th visit. This is a fantastic place to spend a few hours hunting for a one-of-a-kind treasure for yourself or a deserving gift recipient.
Available at Casmaine
2914 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA.90405
Venice-based designer Dolores Melgoza draws inspiration for SOIYL from the elements, her Mexican ancestry and the simple way of life of those she observed during her travels.
SOIYL offers strikingly elegant, vibrant sandals that are made with fair trade materials and locally handcrafted in Venice. With each purchase, a donation is made to Raincatcher.org, a non-profit that provides clean drinking water to the impoverished regions of the world. With top notch quality, comfort and made with love, these sandals exude effortless style as you wear them to wherever your journey leads. SOIYL is also available at The Dailey Method in Venice.
Joy Bitonio has the phrase “Joie de Vivre” tattooed on her shoulder, a reminder to enjoy life every single day. She has a voracious appetite for fun, adventure, food, good cocktails and works out like a madwoman to keep it all together. Her fitness articles can be found on examiner.com. Follow her on Twitter.