I'm always proud to say that I'm from Minnesota – to which the most common response is usually "You don't have an accent at all!" (Believe me, it comes back as soon as I land at MSP) But something has changed since I moved away from there. Once considered a flyover state, Minnesota has become an actually cool destination – with restaurants, shops, and hand-made products to back it up. Of course, those of us who are from the Midwest have long known that Minnesota is pretty great, but it's nice to see the rest of the country give it a little recognition as well. Here are a few of my current favorite companies, all the better because they are based in my home state:
A classic American brand, Red Wing Shoes have been around for years, but they seem to be having a well-deserved resurgence as well-made, good quality products have again become valued. If you're in the area, the town of Red Wing is definitely worth a visit as well – charming Minnesota living at its best.
Minnesota's oldest mill was started in 1865, and their legacy as a family-owned company has been revitalized with new designs and the same commitment to quality. I'm coveting one of the wool throws, which start at $135 and come in many different beautiful patterns.
A launch story that I love particularly because it involves both Minnesota and Brooklyn, Pierrepont Hicks was started by Mac & Katherine McMillan (she's from my neighborhood in Brooklyn, he's from Minnesota) as a quest to find the perfect tie. They have since expanded the brand to include shoes, outerwear, and blankets (how great is this Track Parka with the wool hood?)
Started in 1999, this St. Paul-based company makes minimalist (and very affordable) leather accessories, including wallets, key chains and best of all, slingshots. I love the simple designs and the fact that every design is made-to-order in their workshop.
My family has visited the flagship Duluth Pack Store in Duluth on pretty much every single trip we have made up to the North Shore (which, when I was growing up, was 2-3 times per year). There's a reason they have been around since 1882 – their products have a lifetime guarantee, and they really mean it. I have always loved their bags (like the navy tote pictured above), but they also make excellent clothing and other accessories as well.