Imagine a shop that provided you with a handpicked selection of uniquely crafted products, jewelry, home décor and gifts from talented designers and emerging brands that would transform your average shopping experience. Brandshop founders, Laura Martin Mills and Hillary Crittendon, have made this vision a reality with the launch of a shopping concept that helps emerging brands with exceptional products but limited distribution connect with highly relevant consumers in new markets. “We wanted to create a highly edited shopping experience that would allow the designers to introduce their collections to new cities while providing consumers with a fun, upscale shopping experience,” says Brandshop’s co-founder Laura Martin Mills.
Laura and Hillary are no strangers to the creative scene, launching The SoGood in 2014, which highlights top entrepreneurs, designers and creatives throughout the Southeast. Their business experience coupled with noteworthy personal style and an innate ability to identify upcoming trends, these lifelong friends understand what people are looking for before they do and appreciate the importance of authentic design and product integrity. Laura and Hillary are sharing their own passion, research and finds with you, the consumer, in their latest venture the Brandshop. The concept brings flagship events, or pop-up shops, to cities showcasing a selection of carefully edited emerging brands with a focus on those created by women.
This December 10-12, 2015, Brandshop will host its first major event in Charlotte, NC, at LaCa Projects, a 9,000 square foot contemporary art space. The event will bring together over 30 emerging brands, many only available through e-commerce or in major markets like NYC or LA, providing the consumer with the opportunity to shop the products firsthand and meet some of the designers behind the brands. This unique shopping experience will not only elevate your gifting this holiday season, but will introduce you to brands that will leave you inspired and products you won’t want to go without.
Noteworthy asked Laura and Hillary for some gifting guidance and what they will be giving this holiday season. Items marked with ** note brands that will be available at the Brandshop later this month in Charlotte.
- Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil: "A favorite find of 2015. I am completely addicted to this wonder-working organic facial oil that feels like a treat for my skin whenever it is applied!" **
- Kule the Modern Long Striped Shirt: "A great triped shirt is seasonless and will never go out of style. Kule makes my favorite!" **
- Mira Fitness Tracker: "A fitness tracker that is actually cute and provides tips that really speak my language (e.g. you have burned enough calories during your workout to have two glasses of red wine)." **
- Strong Boalt Classic Boardshort: "Created by Lily Pultizer's granddaughter, Strong Boalt suits come in a variety of cute, but not too preppy, prints."
- Monkii Bars: "These are great for guys on the go. Monkii Bars are ultra-portable and can be used almost anywhere. It is basically a workout you can carry around in your pocket." **
- Jack Rudy Small Batch Tonic: "Mix this delicious elixir with club soda to make the best gin and tonic you will ever taste." **
For the Home
- Natural Hide Pillows by Forsyth: "I have loved getting to know this brand out of St. Louis, MO. Their natural hide pillows, rugs, and furniture are gorgeously crafted and make a perfect, but fun, neutral in your home. Animal print is a neutral, right?" **
- St. Frank Baby Alpaca Throw: "One of my favorite purchases from 2015. It easily doubles as a gorgeous oversized wrap, which makes for the perfect travel blanket." **
- Becoming by Cindy Crawford: "A gorgeous photo book chronicling one of the world's most beautiful supermodels meteoric rise to fame." **
For the Hostess
- XO Vase by Sarah Anne Bargatze Richardson: "Handmade in Sarah's LA studio, her vases are a unique gift that is sure to leave an impression." **
- Rewined Bar Soap: "Charleston's coolest candle brand now makes soap! Pretty packaging and wonderful scents." **
- Bee Knees Spicy Honey by MixedMade: "This sweet and spicy honey is a new obsession! Just as delicious on ice cream as it is on a gourmet pizza." **
- Heroine Sport Training Jacket: "My new Saturday staple that I can wear rain or shine." **
- Paige Gamble Blakeley Bag: "I have been gaga for Paige's bags ever since we stumbled across her signature clutch a few months back. I adore the mix of print, python and structure that embodies this bag." **
- Holst + Lee Leather and Lace Tassel Necklace: "I love the incorporation of leather into one of Holst + Lee's traditional tassel silhouettes making it feel perfect for fall and holiday." **
- Man Made, The Art of Male Grooming by Dan Jones: "No explanation required." **
- JL The Brand Navy Clover Socks: "Because a little luck never hurt anyone." **
- The Carter Sheet Set from Tuckered Trading Company: "Perfect for your littles, or not so littles. Tuckered sheets are made with the highest quality cottons and craftsmanship to ensure their product is as luxe as it is adorable." **
- The Kane Backpack from State Bags: "Send your babe to school with this super durable, yet chic sack from widely adored State Bags." **
For the Home
- Antler Tray from Times Two Design: "The perfect way to dress up any console or coffee table and a great foundation for an awesome bookcase vignette." **
- Twine & Twig Indigo Bright Lumbar Pillow: "I am a sucker for indigo and the bright color pops bring this happy neutral to life." **
For the Hostess
- Malachite Bottle Stopper by Addison Weeks: "Because your wine bar should look as chic as your home." **
- Always Pack a Party Dress by Amanda Brooks: "This hilarious and darling read is perfect for partygoers, entertainers of any age and women who are generally fabulous." **
In 2016, Brandshop will host events in Atlanta, GA, Dallas, TX, New Orleans, LA, and Washington DC. For more information about Brandshop and upcoming events visit www.thebrandshop.co. During the December Charlotte event, Brandshop will host a speaker series to celebrate inspiring female entrepreneurs covering a range of topics from “The Future of Fashion” to “Mompreneurs”. Speakers include Sarah Easley, founder of Kirna Zabête, Laura Vinroot Poole, founder of Capitol, Poole Shop, House Account and Tabor, gallerist Chandra Johnson and Ann Mashburn, founder and owner of her namesake brand. For tickets and more information about the Charlotte Speaker Series event click here.
Featured image by Victor Jeffreys; Laura Martin Mills (left) and Hillary Crittendon (right).
Laura Martin Mills started her career with jeweler Robert Lee Morris before leaving to run business for Cynthia Rowley in 2008. At Cynthia Rowley, Mills was responsible for licensing, operations, and business development. In 2010, she launched online art site Exhibition A with funding and support from Rowley and served as Exhibition A’s CEO for three years. Laura graduated Summa Cum Laude from The University of Virginia with a BS in Economics and a BA in French. Laura lives in Richmond, VA, with her husband and enjoys travel, red wine, and spending time with her Great Dane Walter.
Hillary Crittendon is a Wharton/McKinsey alumni with a finance, marketing and strategy background. After graduating from Wharton with a MBA concentrated in retail and marketing, Hillary joined McKinsey’s Charlotte office where she focused on omnichannel strategy for a variety of Fortune 500 retailers. Hillary started in the retail space as an early team member at online menswear retailer, Bonobos, where she worked during her time in business school. She received her BSBA from UNC’s Kenan Flagler in 2006 and spent three years in finance at Credit Suisse & MHR Fund Management. Hillary lives in Charlotte, NC, with her husband and young son and enjoys, in no particular order, yoga, Burgundy, ballet and chai lattes.