Handbag designer Jen Buchanan spent five years selling items at local markets. After getting to know other designers and artists, she was inspired to open a brick-and-mortar store as a permanent place for their goods and her own handmade products.
"I kind of just did it for a hobby," Buchanan explains. "Then it started to grow." So she began visiting other boutiques and gathering ideas for the shop.
"I would go in there and be like, I want a place like this," she says.
Girl's Best Trend, which opened on Lakewood's Madison Avenue in October 2013, relocated three blocks down the street to a fresh spot this past November.
The new cozy, two-room location, accented with hardwood floors and white art deco ceiling tiles, gives Girl's Best Trend a 20th-century vintage feel. Buchanan stocks it with a slew of affordable handcrafted accessories and quirky knickknacks such as Cleveland suburb-themed art tiles ($17), purses made from vinyl 45s ($27.50) and original cartoon oil paintings on birchwood ($100-$300).
Soft alt-rock music plays from an iHome hidden under a shelf adorned with 216 wares, while other wooden shelves and tables filled with items from more than 55 artisans encourage guests to take their time browsing.
While Buchanan's own line of Jenbuza bags ($18-$36), made from a combination of canvas, old suit jackets and even neckties, are also on display, she makes it her mission to find other crafters to showcase. She visits flea markets from Ashtabula to Akron, reads local media and searches Etsy to discover products.
When You Go
Girl's Best Trend, 15725 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 216-408-4891 girlsbesttrend.com
Nearby FindCrafty Goodness carries works by more than 35 artisans, whose creations include candles, pillows and more.
Add a touch of state pride to your walls with these handmade Ohio ornaments ($22) from B. pottery. Willoughby potter Brittany Hoose creates the pieces, which you can hang by twine, in a glossy or matte finish of red, blue, tan or green. "I sell a lot of these to people who have friends who have relocated out of the state," says Buchanan, "or for their kids who have gone off to college to hang in their dorm rooms."