apps, tech + online

10 Must-Shop Brands on Tictail

by Garrett Fleming

Just as 2016 was kicking off, a new shop called Tictail opened in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. At first blush, it appears to be a clothing brand or maybe even a home goods store. Curious to learn more, I spoke with Co-Founder and CEO Carl Waldekranz to get to the bottom of what exactly Tictail is. As it turns out, the brick-and-mortar store is really a small part of what Tictail is all about. At its core, Tictail is a global online community of over 100,000 independent brands, each one using the platform to house their online storefronts.

It’s also the result of years and years of hard work and dedication by Carl, a man who’s not unfamiliar with entrepreneurial spirit. “I was surrounded at a very young age by people who worked tirelessly on pursuing their passion projects,” he says. It was this influential dynamic that instilled in him the spark and drive necessary to get an independent company off the ground. Working alongside Co-Founders Birk Nilsson, Kaj Drobin and Siavash Ghorbani, the team has slowly but surely worked to curate a beautiful collection of makers, the majority of which sell jewelry, fashion, art and interior decor.

Democratizing e-commerce — and giving power back to small businesses — is always top-of-mind for the company. In fact, seeing the brands on Tictail thrive is the most rewarding part of their job, the founders tell us. Their site has helped creators quit their day jobs to pursue their passions and has also seen online shops grow into brick-and-mortar spaces. Through Tictail, Romeo Hunte even became a go-to resource for Beyoncé. I’m not surprised in the least by these success stories — the entire site is full of some fabulous finds.

Now for the big question: How does Tictail differ from Etsy and other DIY marketplaces? Founder Carl says that while others are focused on handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces, Tictail is more geared towards the maker who is ready to make it big. “They are choosing Tictail to build their business, to take it to the next level through the reach, distribution, marketing tools, and community that Tictail has to offer,” he explains.

I love finding new resources like this. In all my giddiness, I’ve combed through Tictail and hand-picked some of the best up-and-coming creators for you to peruse. Who knows, you may even snag something from a shop that’ll be the next big thing. Click through to see which 10 caught my eye, and to take a peek inside the recently-opened NYC shop. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography courtesy of Tictail, Inc.

10 Must-Shop Brands on Tictail, Design*Sponge
Rachel Stewart's shop is full of boldly-patterned clutches and wooden jewelry. Each of her works is a celebration of how "art, culture, music and afrofuturism" blend together.
10 Must-Shop Brands on Tictail, Design*Sponge
Eva Gernandt is a master ceramicist, and her shop by MUTTI was the very first brand on Tictail. She's also Co-Founder Carl's mom. Her work, inspired by the ocean and its movement, always features her signature, delicate decorations. Tea pots, platters and bowls are just a few of the pieces waiting to be snatched up.
10 Must-Shop Brands on Tictail, Design*Sponge
The woven blankets Lilian Martinez sells in her shop BFGF are some of her favorite pieces she's ever made. The aim of each one is to "... provide a state of ease and freedom for both your body and mind." (Source: Tictail)
10 Must-Shop Brands on Tictail, Design*Sponge
The rugs produced by Portuguese brand GUR come to life with the help of artists from across the globe. The brand lets makers, such as David Méndez Alonso, take the reins and interpret a rectangular kitchen rug in their own way. The shop's only ask is that the artist use traditional materials when constructing their piece.
10 Must-Shop Brands on Tictail, Design*Sponge
The founders of Dusty Deco only have one hard-and-fast rule when it comes to picking what vintage furniture pieces to sell in their shop: if they wouldn't put it in their own homes, it doesn't make the cut. The result of this strict system is an envy-inducing collection of "rough, industrial pieces with a great patina, design classics, photo art, beaten-up leather chairs and beautiful objects [they've found on their travels]." (Source: Dusty Deco)
10 Must-Shop Brands on Tictail, Design*Sponge
German illustrator Barbara Dziadosz offers screen prints on her Tictail page. Her whimsical style and retro color palette make them a standout. I can't stop smiling when I look at them.
10 Must-Shop Brands on Tictail, Design*Sponge
NYC-based ZAAFAR works with makers in India, using ancient techniques of construction, to bring to life gorgeous headpieces, necklaces and bracelets. Each accessory even features the autograph of the individual maker who constructed it.
10 Must-Shop Brands on Tictail, Design*Sponge
Nowadays, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more popular fruit than pineapple. Kwesi Abbensetts capitalizes on this with his collection of sweatshirts, t-shirts and bags covered in a great photo he took of the fruit. Look for this piece and more at Kwesi Print Shop.
10 Must-Shop Brands on Tictail, Design*Sponge
UK artist Joe Rogers is known for his boldly-colorful ceramics and prints. Each one in his shop Colourbox Boutique is a statement piece for sure. The loose lines and non-conformist patterns he creates are one-of-a-kind and super fun.
10 Must-Shop Brands on Tictail, Design*Sponge
Graphic designer Paulina Ho's shop offers offbeat decor and artwork with a wink. She calls her prints "little experiments" and each is a limited run. She even recently ran a series of prints that show off how she'd personify emotion. Decorations, like this pennant, are all hand-pulled and sewn. Plus her logo is adorable. It animates!
10 Must-Shop Brands on Tictail, Design*Sponge
The founders of Tictail opened the shop to give the site's independent brands the opportunity to have a store in the shopping capital of the world, NYC.
10 Must-Shop Brands on Tictail, Design*Sponge
"My favorite part of the Tictail store is our brand bio wall... where each independent brand is spotlighted. Each entrepreneurial story is shared with every shopper that walks in the door. It’s a great way to connect shoppers with the story behind a brand, so we can all get to know about the brands we are browsing and buying," CEO and Co-Founder Carl Waldekranz says.
10 Must-Shop Brands on Tictail, Design*Sponge
While the bulk of Tictail makers' goods are offered online, the brick-and-mortar shop features goods from Kenya, Istanbul, Chicago and Stockholm, to name a few.
10 Must-Shop Brands on Tictail, Design*Sponge
Since there are so many international designers, ceramicists and artists featured throughout the store, once you walk through the front doors you feel like you're taking a global tour.

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