The Local Beat

By Samantha Suarez | photos by David Specht and courtesy of rebel reclaimed

Marie La Mode

910 cherry street

When researching a new boutique’s presence in your neighborhood, rarely do you find glowing reviews that repeatedly mention the owner by name, but Liz Haan’s personalized customer service seems to leave that much of an impression on her customers. “Liz is the ultimate #SheBoss with the best style, energy, and personality,” one reviewer writes. After visiting the store, I can also say that each piece in her boutique can be described the same way.

What started out as the first traveling boutique in Grand Rapids is currently also a storefront on Cherry Street. Marie La Mode carries brands you can’t find anywhere else in West Michigan, with a collection that ranges from high-quality athleisure apparel to on-trend jumpers and essential everyday pieces.

“We bring a new vibe to Grand Rapids and make it easy and fun for you to shop the current and upcoming styles,” Haan said. “People come in for the style and come back because of the customer service!”

I can attest to that. I came in for an interview and ended up purchasing a top and a sweatshirt, which I have already received compliments on.

Rebel Reclaimed

1555 Wealthy St SE suite 101

If you have a fondness for quirky gifts, fun stationery, and eclectic home accessories, Rebel Reclaimed just might become your new happy place. Born from a love for colorful design, Dann Boyles, former interior designer turned artist, opened Rebel Reclaimed with his partner Chip after listening to the inner voice that was telling him, “Being safe never makes for a good story.” Their credo as stated on their website states: “We believe in color. We believe that everyday life should be pretty. We believe your house shouldn’t look like your mom’s house. We believe it’s okay to get distracted by shiny objects.”

Rebel is one of those places you can unknowingly stumble upon and end up spending an hour scrolling through their fun greeting cards referencing pop culture giants like Friends and more obscure shows like Twin Peaks. You can also enjoy browsing through their collection of wall art, live plants, bath and body products, and jewelry.

“We are the place to come for celebrations and life events as well as just to find unique items for your life and home,”  Boyles expressed.

If you stop by and can’t find something in here to buy for yourself or as a gift for someone, then I’d be surprised and a little suspicious your sense of fun!

Gemini Handmade

136 S Division ave

At local shop and studio Gemini Handmade, you can find great products made my great makers, along with some great conversation. Formerly known as Parliament the Boutique, Gemini Handmade (as of June 9, 2018) hosts a collection of handcrafted gifts and goods, such as leather products, art, home goods and jewelry, made by a team of talented and diverse local crafters. What started as a space for co-owner Elyse Welcher to make and sell her work for her brand, Littlewings Designs, in 2013, quickly evolved to include the work of Harbinger Leather Design (her husband Jake Vroon’s brand) as well as other curated artists.

At Gemini Handmade, not only do they create all the leather goods, but they also offer a variety of production and wholesale services, including wedding gifts for bridal parties or wedding favors, corporate gifts for local companies, wholesale production of their lines to other shops, and private label production for other brands.

“What makes us stand apart from other shops selling handcrafted goods is that we offer an up-close and personal experience of the process,”  Welcher said. “You can come in, shop, watch us craft goods, sit down and chat with us about your specific design needs or ideas, pick your materials, and see your idea be brought to life! It makes each visit to the shop a unique experience.”

They also offer custom prototyping or individual product design, consultation for design and materials sourcing, and are beginning to offer small craft business consultation as well.


Samantha Suarez

Sam was born in Chicago, grew up in the Philippines, attended college in Australia and is now living in Grand Rapids. She loves cheese, video games and music, and will quote a movie or TV show every chance she gets.


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