Quarantine Commerce

New products and services from local brands that are quickly improvising to keep employees working during the coronavirus shut down.

Quarantine Commerce
Proceeds from Hammer Made's new t-shirt collection will go to furloughed employees

Minneapolis-based jewelry designer/manufacturer Larissa Loden sells her products at more than 800 stores nationwide. This week, she saw her entire wholesale operation go bust. Shuttered gift shops are asking to hold orders or delay payment. 

“My heart breaks for them,” said Loden, who is relying on e-commerce direct sales to get her through the retail crash prompted by coronavirus. But retail only accounts for about 15 percent of her overall revenue, so Loden started brainstorming. This weekend, she will launch the Larissa Loden Quarantine Craft Club selling kits with everything needed to make a sterling silver or gold filled “quaran-time” bracelet. The kit sells for $30; for $40 it includes access to a digital meet-up with Loden.

While consumers are stuck at home, other local brands are introducing new products and emphasizing with delivery and project-based goods. Here are a few.

Hammer Made: Faced with closed stores and a sudden slowdown in demand for shirts and ties, the Minneapolis-based menswear retailer quickly created a collection of timely t-shirts. One says “Optimism is Viral Too;” another reads “Together—Six Feet Apart.” Shirts sell for $29.50 and 100 percent of proceeds will go to furloughed employees. Pre-orders now available. 


Askov Finlayson: While the retail store and adjoining Bachelor Farmer restaurant are closed, Eric Dayton's company, along with other local restuarants, is partnering with Second Harvest Heartland to launch Minnesota’s Central Kitchen, which will put cooks and servers back to work by distributing prepared meals to neighborhoods in need. To support the cause, Askov Finlayson, eco-friendly outerwear brand, launched special-edition “Northern Hospitality” t-shirts, which sell for $25. All proceeds go to the cause.

Face Foundry: With its facial studios at Galleria and in the North Loop are closed, this local startup is staying “in touch” with clients delivering curated skincare boxes (sanitized and shipped). Face Foundry quickly launched an online survey to help customers figure out the products right for them. 


Minny & Paul: The company is continuing to ship out its gift boxes, filled with Minnesota-made products, and reminding consumers that “with every M&P purchase you are not only supporting our small business, but all the small businesses whom we source and curate our local gifts from.” 

Cooper & Kid: The Minneapolis-based brand sells activity kits aimed at dads and kids. The company reacted quickly this week, introducing a “Coronavirus School Closing Relief Package,” touting more than 6 hours of projects per box and free priority shipping. Two for $130; three for $185. 

Heartfelt Craft Kits: Linden Hills art store Heartfelt responded to COVID-19 by introducing take-home craft kits. Projects range from mermaids and super heroes to comic books and take home watercolors and sketchbooks. Curbside pickup and neighborhood delivery available. As the small business notes on its website, “With the anxiety we are all feeling about the pandemic, we need calming work for our hands.” 

Magers & Quinn: The independent Uptown book store closed its doors to the public earlier this week, but continues to take orders by phone and website that are available for pickup. Online and on social media, Magers & Quinn has been playing up cookbook, puzzles and other project based products, which have been flying off shelves. 

Projects in Person DIY Kits: The Hopkins workshop just launched Build Boxes filled with wood, paint stain—all the materials needed for at home crafts that would be fun for the whole family.  (Read more about PIP's pivot to social distancing in Virus Diaries). Kits range from $35 to $55.

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