Since the late 1800s, Atlanta has been known as the Empire State of the South. Bustling with entrepreneurial spirit, our roots have laid the foundation for handcrafters and makers to stop dreaming and start doing. Leading the way is Crafted Westside’s Shanna Kenyon. Shanna opened Crafted Westside in April 2014, and has been at the helm ever since.
Originally from Houston, but an Atlanta resident for 17 years, Shanna is a local artist herself who took a leap of faith when she opened her store. She explains Crafted Westside’s inception as organic and natural. “Six years ago, I designed and launched a line of infant apparel and accessories under the brand Orangeberry Baby. Through that experience, I saw the rewards and challenges of being a maker and small business owner. As a result, I started Crafted Westside to partner with and help grow the maker community.”
Comprised entirely of Southern and, more specifically, local Atlanta artisans, Crafted Westside is a revolutionary store that brings to the local shopping scene something unique: a real life Etsy store. As a maker herself, Shanna understood the importance of building a community of fellow craftsmen. “I understand the challenges of starting up a small business and finding an outlet to sell my work. I wanted to partner with other makers to create a supportive environment where they could grow their businesses and build brand recognition.”
And build brand recognition they did. Within the space of Crafted Westside are local Atlanta artisan celebrities like Britt Bass Turner, Malvi and French Silver. Each brand carried at the shop must produce locally made goods, which keeps the spirit of the city alive and the heart of the store pumping. It’s about producing items that speak to the consumer in a way that other stores simply cannot. “Our goal is to offer a wide variety of jewelry, accessories, apparel, art and home goods that offer a better combination of value and style than the mass-marketed, mass-produced alternatives,” Shanna says.
Getting lost in the shop is easy, and the heartfelt pride of the store is almost tangible. As a shopper, you can feel the energy in each and every item. It’s both inspiring and incredible to think of the person responsible for each small-batch collection of goods. The pottery you pick up? Someone’s hands labored over that imperfect circle. The necklace you can’t live without? Someone’s fingers placed each tiny bead on the string by hand. There’s a story behind each piece; a face behind every brand.
Shanna speaks highly of the artists in her shop and describes their backgrounds with pride: “These brands are created by makers who come from all walks of life. Some are full-time professionals in other fields, and some have decided to dedicate themselves fully to building a business around their craft. Their level of experience varies dramatically, from hobbyists to lifelong artisans, but the quality of the product is always high.” She continues, “Several of our featured artisans, like The Conversation Piece, have formed purpose-driven companies that teach a craft or skill as part of a rehabilitation program.” Whether they’re a baker, a woodworker, a seamstress or an artist, one thing remains the same: the creator’s commitment to beautiful work that they are proud to sell.
Customers of Crafted Westside can look forward a store stocked with the best selection of the best handmade goods. Shanna explains further, “Expect to find a dynamic inventory of unique, high-quality, high-design, locally made goods. We are always looking for new products from talented artisans to stay on trend and to offer shoppers the latest.”
And, as a visitor, expect to find Crafted Westside at other spots beyond their Marietta Street location. With pop-up shops happening around the city, you never know when you might bump into a Crafted Westside location near you. “Our ultimate goal is to continue to grow and to be able to come alongside emerging makers and help them grow their business by providing opportunity, visibility and exposure.” And you just might bump into one of the shop’s many artists who often work in the store while you’re browsing their booths.
Crafted Westside is located at The Brickworks Midtown, 1000 Marietta St. in Atlanta. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m. Learn more at craftedwestside.com.