I love getting mail. I love shopping local. Put the two things together and you'll understand my appreciation for thinking inside the box. Boxed GR is a local, monthly subscription club (similar to Birchbox and BarkBox) where subscribers receive a box filled with products, samples, gift cards and other goodies from businesses in the Grand Rapids area. "The boxes are something to look forward to each month because the contents are always different and they are a surprise to unwrap, like a gift," said Owner Missy McCall, who, along with partner Audrey Depenbrok, had decided to make the mail fun again with this shopping-esque grab bag—er box, of business talent around town. Items are handpicked for each box, the subscription fee is $14.95 per month (that includes shipping) and contents vary, including at least five or six items. Bottom line, it's the best of GR, boxed. Past businesses include Rock Paper Scissors, Grocer's Daughter Chocolate, Schuler Books & Music, Schuil Coffee and Hello From Grand Rapids postcards. Boxed GR is for people that like "trying new things and supporting local businesses." And hey, it's not a bill, so there's that...
The Bodies of Art Fashion Club at Kendall College of Art and Design celebrates its 10-year anniversary and hosts its annual spring fashion show, Sardonyx. For the fashion show set, this means that on March 21 at 7:30 (doors open at 6 p.m.), designers from Kendall and GVSU showcase work with a Sardonyx theme—a hybrid of future and animalistic elements. "Sardonyx is a type of a stone," said Meghan Larimer, public relations assistant. "The theme has futuristic elements and is a lot like Alexander McQueen—really out there, half couture, half weird, wild costuming." Throw in inspiration from architecture and punk trends for spring 2014 and you've got more than 35 entries that should "take you out of reality," transport you to another world or at least be a funky Friday night. Expect entire looks and specific clothing pieces including headdresses, shoes, accessories and jewelry. In addition to the fashion show, there will be a silent auction featuring various artworks. Proceeds from the auction go directly toward the Purple Community—a foundation devoted to supporting cancer research. Presale tickets are available at Kendall College of Art and Design and at the door. Bottom line: this is a night to spy up-and-coming designers and fresh talent, all while dressing up yourself, buying stuff and gawking at designer duds.
Screen-printed goods just got easier to find thanks to local screen printing operation Black Eagle Press. Running out of Black Eagle Trading Post at 2 Jefferson Ave. in Grand Rapids, the press is located in the back half of the store and features T-shirts, hats, patches and sweatshirts. Future goals include printing posters and more paper products, but for now they are "a custom design screen print shop that hand draws to fit your business with custom artwork," says Co-Owner Tom Jenkins, along with press operator Colin Peak and logistics provider Jake Norton. If you pop into Black Eagle Trading Post you'll find handmade, local goods such as ceramics, jewelry, glass, artwork and lots of antiques and thrift items. There's a healthy cache of motorcycle parts, cameras, everyday household items, hand-produced local artwork—all tangible goods, stuff you can use. The shop carries its own line of clothes as well. "I hand draw everything, then it's printed all in the shop, including women's and men's clothing." This is where just-another-cool-shop and screen-printing-revolution combine and thankfully, right here in our hood.
If you dig Pantone like the rest of the cool kids, I've got a little something for you. I can only talk in teaser language but the words A.K. Rikk's, Kendall College of Art & Design and UICA should get your heart beating faster. Pantone's brand and idea as the global authority on color highlights comes to Grand Rapids toward the end of March, when the city is honored to have a Pantone shop inside A.K. Rikk's. This spring, look for the store to sell Pantone merchandise at unbelievable price points (most everything is less than $200) including items such as T-shirts, bathing suits, polo shirts and things you'd wear in the spring. "Grand Rapids is honored to have the Pantone store following Barneys in New York," said Jim Murray, president at A.K. Rikk's. UICA plans to get in on the action as well as Kendall students, designing with Pantone in mind. Call A.K. Rikk's for more details on how to get your Pantone fix and related event programming. And psst!, this year's color is Radiant Orchid, so start hoarding that.