The coolest gifts online: Houston entrepreneur aims to make handmade chic & cheap
Online shopping is easier than ever — just a few clicks and your package is on its way. But when it comes to buying chic yet affordable handcrafted goods made in the United States, it's a bit more difficult. That's where Texas-born ModMade Goods comes into play.
Founder and Houston resident Karee Laing created the online retailer in 2011 as a resource for people to buy modern, high-quality, handmade accessories, home decor, paper goods and gifts.
"We have started to refine product offerings by being really selective about the pieces — ensuring every piece has a story," says founder Karee Laing.
"When I started ModMade, it was as a result of the stationery line I created," she says. "After sourcing paper, special ink, packaging and all that great stuff, I realized I loved finding cool things."
Laing and the ModMade team design most of the items on the site; they also source from from trade shows and markets. Artisans can reach out to ModMade about showcasing their pieces online, but Laing says the team is very conscious about what kind of products they offer.
"We have started to refine product offerings, not just by limiting what we carry but by being really selective about the pieces — ensuring every piece has a story and is unique," she says.
How does ModMade compare to a site like Etsy? Unlike the social marketplace, where shoppers purchase directly from the craftsmen, ModMade serves as the retailer. And although everything is handcrafted in the United States, ModMade has a certain aesthetic — equal parts vintage, modern and fresh — as opposed to Etsy, which features a wide array of merchandise.
Laing says "this will never change," mainly because the products offered on the site go hand-in-hand with the name.
The well-curated selection includes jewelry, ceramics, pillows, stationery and stylish hair accessories. As far as the guys are concerned, Laing says they are adding a men's section with wallets, scarves, T-shirts and other accessories. ModMade aims to launch the men's department this summer.
On top of supporting local talent and encouraging creativity, ModMade hopes to give a portion of every order to local charities. So far they've donated to Art League Houston, an organization dedicated to spreading awareness, appreciation and accessibility of contemporary visual art within the community.