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Bespoke Brooklyn: 9 Artisans to Watch Right Now, Part 1

Brooklyn: the new frontier. Or as some of us like to call it, home. In what is likely NYC’s most diverse borough, there are people creating everywhere. But some of the handiwork stands out above the rest. These Brooklyn artisans have started their companies with heart and soul at the base, and we can’t get enough of their bespoke offerings. Read on and get inspired by some of BK’s finest.

If you hung out at Rockaway between Beach 80 and B110 this summer, you probably spotted Justin Harter dancing down the sand with his bright orange Citysticks bag. And if you tried one of his handcrafted ice pops, you understand why they’re the best frozen treat in the city. Made using fresh fruit and whole spices, refreshing flavors like kiwi lemonade and fig, hibiscus and lime are delivered in cute compostable packaging. Wholesome and environmentally-friendly? We’re on board.

While walking through their Williamsburg neighborhood in early 2011, sisters Ann and Janet Chung talked about how much their friends loved their Korean BBQ home cooking. Then the Texas-raised girls had a thought – what if more Americans could prepare Korean BBQ in their own kitchens? And that is how the idea for WE RUB YOU was born. They launched the brand at Smorgasburg where the response was so positive for their marinated meats, they decided to bottle their traditional Korean BBQ sauces. Whether you prefer sweet or spicy, now you can enjoy them in your own kitchen.

Brooklyn Grooming
“I wanted to create something very genuine, and I felt like Brooklyn was the perfect place for that,” Mckenzie Santiago, co-founder of Brooklyn Grooming said. “I feel like people here are in more of a transition towards who they want to be.” It’s with this creative mindset Mckenzie, along Alfredo Catedral, created their all-natural, fine men’s grooming line. Handmade in their studio in Brooklyn, products like beard oil, hair pomade and mustache wax are meant to evoke memories of a time when a gentleman truly cared about keeping a dapper appearance. Thanks to Brooklyn Grooming, the modern man can be just as debonair.

Kika NY
While in film school, Kika Vilegenthart wandered into Barbara Shaum’s leather workshop in the East Village and was immediately captivated by her work. For the next 15 years, she learned the leather craft from Barbara in between film jobs. In 2009, she set up shop for Kika NY with Sabine Spanjer in Clinton Hill. Now they work with gorgeous, high-quality leathers from France, Portugal and Belgium in their new Brooklyn Navy Yard studio and collaborate with local brands like The Brooklyn Circus to create their covetable and timeless bags and accessories.

Brookes Boswell Millinery
Brookes Boswell Millinery was founded in 2009, born out of the great millinery tradition of New York City. And with a background in architecture, fine art and textiles, it’s easy to see where Brookes gets her eye for precise, classic details. Meticulously crafted in her Ditmas Park studio, each piece is 100 percent hand-blocked, almost entirely stitched by hand and custom made-to-measure for each individual client. From formal velour felt to braided straw for a garden party, Brookes Boswell has a hat for every occasion.

Amanda Gabriele
Amanda Gabriele is a food and travel writer at The Manual and the former senior editor at Supercall. She can’t live without…
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