The concept of “living local” has come to define Los Angeles in recent years. As more people shift toward buying local food and hand-crafted products, a vast community of “makers” and independent artisans has taken shape. Artisanal LA, a pop-up event held last weekend at the LA Mart, provided an opportunity for small businesses to showcase their products.
Though primarily focused on food, the event hosted a wide range of vendors including gourmet bakers, small-batch chocolatiers and local jewelers. Robert Siegel Studio, a ceramics company offering hand-crafted porcelain items, displayed pieces from its Beaux Collection, which features minimalistic vases and tableware accented with gold.
Designer Tanner Trowbridge, an alumnus of the USC Roski School of Fine Arts, described the inspiration behind the collection.
“Gold is ‘in’ right now,” Trowbridge said. “We have a lot of vibrant colors that we mix with white and gold stripes.”
BonBliss, a skin-care line “inspired by deliciously sweet candy treats,” creates travel-friendly body scrubs in fun scents. The “Body Truffle” is a single-use capsule that simultaneously moisturizes and exfoliates skin. The “Scrub-2-Go,” a miniature version of the Truffle, allows people to feel instantly refreshed while on-the-go.
“The Scrub-2-Go’s are individually wrapped for convenient use throughout the day,” said Elissa Choi, co-founder of BonBliss. “You don’t have to carry perfume and lotions; one step does it all.”
Fancy Boyz reinvents classic baked goods using quality ingredients. The coffee-donut cookie, a signature item, fuses two familiar flavors into one delectable treat. Each bite begins with a shot of espresso, then transforms into an old-fashioned donut.
“We love the magic of baking,” said Chris Dibble, co-founder of Fancy Boyz. “This cookie is like magic happening in your mouth.”
The peanut butter and jelly sandwich cookie elevates the ubiquitous childhood snack into a crave-worthy dessert. For the filling, Fancy Boyz mills its own peanut butter and sources local balsamic vinegar for the strawberry-balsamic jam.
The cookies themselves possess a luxurious peanut flavor and a soft, crumbly consistency. Despite the recipe’s simplicity, Fancy Boyz’s attention to detail shines through in the final product.
The company Seasoned! delivers flavorful and healthy meals to peoples’ homes. Each meal kit comes in a compostable bowl filled with fresh, never-frozen ingredients. Options include Japanese curry with organic chicken and quinoa with spiced tofu.
“You cook everything in one pot and you don’t have to do any dishes,” said Mia Cho, founder of Seasoned! “It goes from the door to your mouth in about 10 minutes.”
Heather Elery, a fan of the company, appreciates the meals’ convenience and fresh ingredients.
“It’s good for the environment, good for your body and good for your energy level,” Elery said.
ProCakes, a gluten-free, high-protein pancake mix, also focuses on health and practicality. Three pancakes contain 23 grams of protein and no added sugars.
ProCakes founder and fitness enthusiast Caren Magill said the product caters to people watching their weight.
“It’s a great way to enjoy pancakes while getting your protein in,” Magill said.
For some vendors, such as Seasoned! and ProCakes, Artisinal LA was the first time they launched their products to the general public. Others, such as Robert Siegel Studio and Fancy Boyz, returned after receiving positive feedback and sales from last year’s event.
The showroom set-up allowed exhibitors to gain maximum exposure while providing a comfortable browsing environment for attendees. Artisinal LA hopes to produce multiple shows throughout the year, with the ultimate goal of fostering connections between consumers and local makers.