Michelle Larrabee-Martin has always been a big proponent of local artisans. Following her passion, she and her husband Greg opened Atlanta MADE with a commitment to create a unique shopping experience by offering only Atlanta-made products. From home accessories, furniture, lighting and art, to jewelry, organic skincare and even dog treats, this brimming Westside showroom is a testament to Atlanta’s robust creative community. Welcome, Michelle!
Tell us about your latest venture, Atlanta MADE?
I wanted to bring the push to purchase MADE IN AMERICA to a local more personal level. We are showcasing the very best artisans in Atlanta. All product must be locally designed and locally made AND be of the very best quality.
What kind of objects will customers find at Atlanta MADE?
Lighting, upholstery, chocolate, herb sea salts, organic skin care, jewelry, art, sculptures, accessories, veneer images, blown glass, pottery, doggie treats, Georgia marble bowls and vases…ever changing.
Now you oversee not one, but two stores. How hectic is your life now?
It’s wonderfully hectic. I also have 2 young boys, 8 and 4, so between the showrooms and the boys, there’s never a dull moment.
Why was it important to you to create a space to showcase the amazing artisans we have in Atlanta?
My family and I have always tried to buy things that are MADE IN AMERICA and also buy from local farmers, so Atlanta MADE just seemed like the next logical step. We have amazingly talented artisans in Atlanta and we should all be supporting them and our local economy.
Did you draw inspiration from similar concepts in other cities, or is this an “out of the box” idea?
Out of the box, or out of my head, rather. (Ha.) I came up with the idea on January 23 EARLY in the morning, and 3 months later we were open.
Your other space, Kolo Collection, is a showroom for outdoor and exterior furniture. If a client is starting with a blank space, what are a few of your favorite pieces that will transform the space into an outdoor room?
That really depends on the customer, the home they live in, and the space I’m designing for. (i.e., covered, uncovered, what do they want from the space, like dining or lounging, etc.)
If I have a blank space, the first place to start is with the homeowner to find out more about them because this isn’t about me and what I want, it’s about how they will live in the space.
Both of your stores are located on Atlanta’s Westside. What are your favorite things about the area?
I LOVE the Westside. I also live 1.5 miles from here, so this is truly my neighborhood. I love knowing all the store owners and managers. We are a team over here, always helping each other out and watching each other’s backs.
Where did you grow up? If not Atlanta, how did you make your way here?
I grew up in Columbia, SC. I moved here in 1986 to attend the Art Institute of Atlanta. Never left.
If you didn’t own Atlanta MADE and Kolo Collection, what would you secretly love to do?
I’m doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do. Honestly. When I was a teenager, I dreamed about owning my own high-end boutique and marrying the man of my dreams. I’m living my dream and have 2 amazing boys to add to my teenage dream.
What inspires you?
I draw inspiration from my everyday life. People, travel, my children–everywhere. I’m not sure how you can walk with blinders on. Take the blinders off and look around. We are so fortunate and we should draw inspiration from each other.
What is the greatest piece of advice that you have been given?
Live each day to the fullest and please remember to treat others the way you wanted to be treated. No truer words have ever been spoken, and I remind myself of them daily.
What is your favorite way to begin your day?
Waking up with my boys early in the morning for snuggling.
What can be found on your bedside table?
Books! One is Eat Right For Your Blood Type–I study that book. I’ve owned it for almost 18 years now.
Where are some of your favorite places to take guests when they visit Atlanta from out of town?
Kolo Collection and Atlanta MADE. A fab restaurant would be Abattoir. LOVE it! It’s always great.
What are 3 things you can’t live without?
My organic skincare, DARK chocolate and red wine.
And thanks, Amy Lesesne, for the beautiful photographs!