Alexandria Column: Local Maker Spotlight

Alexandria Column: Local Maker Spotlight

From the Old Town Boutique District

The movement to shop small and support locally-owned businesses is alive and well in the DMV area, and that includes supporting the makers themselves. Northern Virginia and the District’s handmade communities are thriving and there’s certainly no shortage of creativity here in Old Town.

Happy Dough Lucky, which is owned by Arlington-based mom, Heidi Drake, produces natural and safe modeling dough for kids. But it isn’t like the simple playdough we’re all used to. Each tub comes with a little something extra, like rubber bugs you have to dig out or a wooden spoon and sprinkles to make a pretend ice cream cone. You can see all the different themes at Red Barn Mercantile.

Curated carries several local jewelry designers, including Mallory Shelter of Washington, D.C. and Hannah Lois of Arlington. Both make classic, delicate pieces using only semi-precious stones and gold or silver metals. They’ve become a favorite among brides choosing jewelry for their big day, but also make a great gift for any other occasion.

Speaking of beautiful jewelry, Sara Campbell carries Meg Carter Designs, an Alexandria-based business that has been featured in the Washington Post, Washingtonian and In Style Magazine for her one-of-a-kind statement pieces.

Kristin Try is a talented local artist who creates exquisite, color-filled abstract paintings out of her studio in Alexandria and offers a variety of different sizes and styles. Whether you’re looking for something to fill the space over your dining room table or something small, but impactful, you can commission whatever you have in mind and Kristin will bring it to life beautifully. You can see her work at Red Barn Mercantile, Curated or her website,

And if you’re feeling crafty, stop by fibre space. You’ll find Neighborhood Fiber Co. of Baltimore and The Fiberists of Herndon, indie hand dyers who dye their yarns in their local studios.

Of course, just stroll through the Old Town Farmers’ Market and you’ll see that there’s plenty happening in the food scene as well. Local bakers, cheese and yogurt makers and tea blenders can be found sharing their crowd favorites on Saturday mornings. And Olio Tasting room carries a local honey from Backyard Farm, produced locally by a husband and wife team.

Here’s one final tip: if you’re ever looking for artists to support, try searching Etsy Local. Not only can you look online for local retailers who carry these independent makers, but you can also see a calendar of upcoming events, like farmer’s markets or craft fairs where some of these makers may be featured. It’s a great way to see what’s happening in the handmade world right in your own community.