A sustainable fashion boutique, plant-based skin care products, a welcome expansion, and five standout local Etsy sellers make our list of Cincinnati’s best shopping-related items and entrepreneurs of 2020.
Sustainability Warrior: Shop Wolfpack
In 2016, after reading Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost Of Cheap Fashion, a book by Elizabeth L. Cline that exposes the downfalls of the fashion industry, Katherine Dalton knew she had to change her consumer habits. She took her journey a step further in September 2018, when she launched Wolfpack, an online retailer of ethically sourced and sustainably made clothing, accessories, home goods, art, and gifts. The following spring, she opened a storefront on Main Street, which she relocated to Elm Street in April. Despite the location change, Dalton’s goal remains the same: educate shoppers about the waste and unethical practices tied to fast fashion and empower them to buy ethical, sustainable products. She does so by carrying items that are handmade in the U.S. by woman- and minority-owned small businesses and independent artists who pay their employees living wages. Wolfpack also uses recycled and biodegradable packaging materials, plants one tree for every order, and pays a monthly fee to neutralize the carbon emissions from each package it sends to customers. • 1813 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, shopthewolfpack.com
Plant-Based Skin Care Products: Flora Lee Naturals
Inspired by her passion for skincare and a desire to live a more natural lifestyle, Nia Baucke launched her natural skincare line, Cypress Beauty, in 2017. A year ago she rebranded her business to Flora Lee Naturals, a tribute to her late grandmother Flora Lee, whom Baucke grew up with in Michigan and who inspired her appreciation for natural remedies. Today, Flora Lee Naturals carries a handful of cleansing and toning products, which are made from plant-based ingredients inspired by Baucke’s grandmother’s garden. Her best-selling cleansing face scrub-slash-mask, for example, is made with aloe vera, lemon, lavender water, grapefruit, carrot seed, sunflower oil, and other “powerful, brightening ingredients.” Her mission? “To brighten your day and remind you to care for your already beautiful skin.” • floraleenaturals.com
Brand Reinvention + Expansion: Handzy Shop + Studio
Best friends and UC DAAP alumnae Brittney Braemer and Suzy Hinnefeld opened Handzy Shop + Studio on Covington’s West Pike Street in July 2016 as a stationery gift shop and graphic design studio. Two years later, after realizing their inventory was too specific for Covington’s demographics, they transitioned Handzy into a lifestyle boutique, offering cards (designed in-house), prints, gifts, clothes, and accessories. Last November, they moved Handzy into a larger space next door and debuted Gumdrop, a children’s clothing, toy, and accessories shop, in the former Handzy space. Last month they opened second locations of each concept in the historic West Fourth District downtown. Since 2016, Braemer and Hinnefeld have worked hard to reinvent Handzy to fit the needs of the community, but they’ve successfully maintained their brand’s unique, lively identity, which keeps customers coming back for more. • 15 and 17 W. Pike St., Covington, handzyshopstudio.com, gumdroptots.com
Etsy Breakout Star: Circle Circle Jewelry
Before Jill Goulait started making jewelry full time, she worked as a funeral director in Latonia. Jewelry had been a passion of hers since she was a little girl, but it wasn’t until she took a weekend soldering class that her “world opened up” and she started making pieces for friends and family. In 2009, she launched an Etsy shop named Grey Goose Gifts to sell her delicate designs. Her new business quickly took off, and she left the funeral industry just one year later. Nearly 19,000 Etsy sales later and Goulait’s company now goes by the name Circle Circle Jewelry (complete with a standalone website) and specializes in reasonably priced, dainty necklaces, earrings, and bracelets crafted from gold and sterling silver. • circlecirclejewelry.com
Standout Female Business Owner: Spruce Nail Shop’s Molly Nagle
In September, local entrepreneur Molly Nagle was named Woman-Owned Small Business Person of the Year by the Columbus District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Nagle launched Spruce Nail Shop in Over-the-Rhine in March 2016, with just five employees. The salon has since outgrown its flagship Vine Street storefront and relocated to a larger space at Findlay Market, added a mobile salon service to bring the “good, clean fun” straight to your doorstep, and expanded its staff to more than 20 employees. Nagle has also added a line of skin care services, including facials and cacao-based spray tans, and continues to offer nail care using only safe, eco-friendly polishes. Talk about a glow up. • 1818 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 818-8749, sprucenailshop.com
Made by Hand: Five more local Etsy sellers we love.
Science-Themed Gifts: Kim & Kimberly
Science nerds will appreciate this shop for its amino acid–themed greeting cards and prints featuring the molecular breakdowns of beer, bourbon, and other alcoholic favorites. We personally love the duo’s beaker terrarium kits for air plants and moss balls. • etsy.com/shop/kimandkimberly
Antiques: Antique Revolution
Jon Wood sources antique items from all over the country for his shop, from graphic T-shirts to industrial drafting tables to Depression-era multi-drawer cabinets. He typically restores his rare finds before selling them and occasionally handcrafts industrial benches and desks of his own. • etsy.com/shop/AntiqueRevolutionLLC
Linocut Prints: The Diggingest Girl
Erlanger-based artist Emily Louise Howard reproduces her distinct linocut prints using hand-carved linoleum blocks to transfer oil-based inks onto heavyweight tagboard paper. Her mostly black-and-white illustrations often feature animals; nature; and strong female subjects like Medusa, Venus, and Idun. • etsy.com/shop/TheDiggingestGirl
Custom Jewelry: Old Hills Design Co.
This woman-owned, Middletown-based company specializes in handmade jewelry featuring clean designs with natural gemstones and precious metals, including absolutely stunning custom engagement rings and wedding bands. It also offers ceramic mugs and custom wood signs and cutting boards. • etsy.com/shop/OldHillsDesignCo
Soaps And Sundries: Orange Fuzz
With 10,000-plus sales since 2009, this popular shop sells handmade soaps, candles, deodorant, laundry detergent, and face and shaving products made from all-natural, eco-friendly ingredients. Find them locally at Deerhaus Decor, Lentz & Company, and Toko Baru. • etsy.com/shop/orangefuzz