Digital Curation

These local shopping sites deliver artisanal style, virtually.

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    Photo Courtesy of SHOP MILLE
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    Photo Courtesy of Ship & shape
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    Photo Courtesy of A Mano

MILLE Most devotees of Mille’s selection of hot-hued Clare Vivier handbags, striped Ace & Jig smocks, and supple Martiniano shoes probably have no idea that their go-to boutique is based here in Minneapolis. And that’s fine. “Ninety percent of what we sell is online,” says owner Michelle LeBlanc, who started Mille (formerly Pretty Mommy) in 2009 and added its brick-and-mortar companion in southwest Minneapolis (316 W. 48th St.) last November. LeBlanc picks her lines based on what she and her home would “wear”: bohemian luxe apparel, jewelry, and decor from small-batch designers—a look she calls “your kooky high school art teacher with expensive taste,” and one that has attracted a following on both coasts. LeBlanc has strong retail instincts—her first batch of Mansur Gavriel handbags, an overnight sensation at Fall Fashion Week, sold out within days, and she already has a waitlist a couple of pages long for the next collection.

SHIP & SHAPE An age-old problem for artists is the actual selling of their work, but three friends—Erin Smith, Maddy Nye, and Annika Kaplan—set out to change that when they opened Ship & Shape in the summer of 2011, creating a clean, curated site for an eclectic grouping of goods made by themselves, their artsy friends, and makers around the world. Their shop is named for the “ship” they were sailing on Lake Minnetonka when they came up with the concept, as well as the shapes in the ceramics, jewelry, and paper goods they ship to sophisticated hipsters who place their orders from as far afield as Australia and Scandinavia. “We don’t hop on trends,” says Kaplan. “We choose what we like,” whether that’s hand-painted mugs from Recreation Center in Brooklyn or the beaded earrings and necklaces of Minnesota native Whittney Kebschull. As with most art, these are limited edition—once a piece goes, it’s gone.

A MANO The most recent site to the scene was created by photographer Louisa Podlich, who also clerks at Gallery 360, where she admired the work of owner Merry Beck and the local artists rotating through her space. Podlich launched A Mano (“by hand” in Spanish) last May, with 20 makers in the first collection, which she plans to change every two months. “It reminds me of First Thursday in Northeast, where you hop from studio to studio. But here you can find all the great artists I’ve chosen in one place.” Podlich says she obsessively wades through Pinterest and Etsy to find hand-sewn Pendleton clutches by Seaecho or silk crepe and bead necklaces by Chicago’s Sarah Fox. An early fan of Ship & Shape, Podlich also sells Erin Smith’s colorful pottery and Annika Kaplan’s silver and brass jewelry, proving there’s more than enough room to share an artistic vision.