Shop Made in DC debuts its locally sourced wares in Dupont

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Mayor Muriel Bowser checks out the locally built wares at Shop Made in DC. (Brian Kapur/The Current/October 2017)

Shop Made in DC — a store and cafe selling only items made in the District, with offerings ranging from stationery to pottery to jewelry — opened last week at 1330 19th St. NW.

The shop is operating as part of the city’s broader Made in DC program, which means that the creators they partner with have a District business license, and live and produce within D.C.

The store’s creative director Stacey Price told The Current that the items offered are similar to those sold in a boutique, except that all of the products are made by District residents.

“We’re just becoming the clubhouse for that creative, maker class,” Price said. “I think the consumer can always have a little bit of an element of discovery when they come in.”

The shop has the space for two years as part of a partnership with the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District and Boston Properties, which is subsidizing the space. The D.C. Department of Small and Local Business Development, which oversees the Made in DC program, is also one of the store’s partners and provided seed funding. Price said that the city helped with fast-tracking the project so that the store could get up and running quickly.

Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke during a preview event for the new Shop Made in DC store. (Brian Kapur/The Current/October 2017)

“Shop Made in DC is giving more DC entrepreneurs the opportunity to sell and promote their brands while growing their customer base,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a news release. “When Washingtonians share their talents and creativity with our city, we want to make sure we are doing all we can to support them. Shop Made in DC just made that a little bit easier to do.”

The partnership with the city will last for six months, but Price said the store won’t stop focusing on District-made products.

The store launched with 24 makers’ products being featured on the retail floor, and more continue to be added, Price said. The shop and its cafe are supporting more than 50 District businesses, with a waiting list of 200-plus makers.

“Supporting them is essential,” Price said of the cafe’s merchants. “These people want their own brick-and-mortar locations, and they’re test-driving it for the first time in this space.”

When choosing which products to include, Price looks for those that are retail-ready — meaning a high-quality product with packaging ready for a retail space and assurances that production can keep up with demand.

Since the store’s opening, a variety of local groups and businesses have shown support, Price said. Shaw Main Street sent the store cookies, and some Dupont businesses have sent flowers.

“It just warms my heart,” Price said. “To me, we’re creating community first, commerce second.”

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B (Dupont Circle) discussed the project at its Oct. 11 meeting and expressed support for the shop.

“I think it’s amazing that you chose Dupont Circle as a home for this,” commissioner Randy Downs said at the meeting. “It’s definitely a welcome neighbor in my view.”