Mol­lie Vis­its

At­lanta, Ge­or­gia, na­tive Leigh Met­calf takes us into the Bee­hive, all abuzz with in­de­pen­dent de­sign

Mollie Makes (US) - - CONTENTS -

At­lanta craft-col­lec­tive the Bee­hive

Com­pared to many large US ci­ties, At­lanta, Ge­or­gia, is a bit lack­ing in the tourist-des­ti­na­tion depart­ment – a guide­book might have the World of Coca-Cola or the CNN Cen­ter at the top of its must-see list. But what the city lacks in attractions, it makes up for in its di­verse re­tail ter­rain. This sprawl­ing city with dis­tinct neigh­bor­hoods is burst­ing with shop­ping dis­tricts, from the ritzy Phipps Plaza to the edgy Lit­tle Five Points. If it’s shop­ping you need, At­lanta is a great des­ti­na­tion, and for the best of hand­made, one shop stands out among the crowd: the Bee­hive.

It might sit on the pe­riph­ery of the Edge­wood Re­tail Dis­trict (a shop­ping hub that’s made up of su­per­stores), but that doesn’t de­ter shop­pers who aim to keep it lo­cal. “The Edge­wood com­mu­nity is very lo­cal-friendly,” says the Bee­hive owner Ma­lene Davis. “They may shop at the su­per­stores around us, but they’re still ur­ban farm­ers, farm-to-ta­ble din­ers, and love their lo­cal de­sign.”

The Bee­hive’s orig­i­nal founder, Pe­tra Geiger, en­vi­sioned a unique plat­form for up-and­com­ing de­sign­ers to start their business in a col­lab­o­ra­tive en­vi­ron­ment. The con­cept was to al­low each de­signer to rent their own space within the shop, and those who worked in the store would get a dis­count on their rent.

Pe­tra has since left At­lanta to launch the New York Bee­hive Co-op store, but the con­cept hasn’t changed. “Many of our de­sign­ers make a liv­ing solely sell­ing their items,” Ma­lene says. The Bee­hive de­sign­ers are equally proud to be a part of such a tight-knit group. “I live out­side At­lanta,” says Karen of Karen Mey­ers De­signs, who makes fab­u­lous col­or­ful bags from re­pur­posed jumpers. “It’s not an area with a lot cre­ative en­tre­pre­neur­ial things go­ing

on, so get­ting hooked up with this group of peo­ple was es­sen­tial in my growth as a small business. It led to many op­por­tu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing part­ner­ships for teach­ing and sell­ing at fes­ti­vals.”

The in­te­rior is crisp and mod­ern, with con­crete floors, high ceil­ings, and ex­posed pipes. It’s filled with up­cy­cled cloth­ing, hand­made chil­dren’s toys, re­pur­posed jew­elry, nat­u­ral beauty prod­ucts, tea and jam – and even gifts for pets. Although the over­all hand­made aes­thetic has a con­sis­tent flow through­out the shop, it’s hard not to no­tice the nooks that di­vide spa­ces in be­tween. Th­ese nat­u­ral, hon­ey­col­ored wood fix­tures serve as di­viders, cre­at­ing mini-shops within the whole so each de­signer can mer­chan­dise and sell their work.

Mak­ing your way through the Bee­hive’s dif­fer­ent sec­tions, you’ll find it’s eas­ily a one-stop shop. Whether you’re shop­ping for your­self, a fam­ily mem­ber, or friend, the Bee­hive has some­thing for ev­ery­one. Even the de­sign­ers them­selves have a hard time stop­ping at one thing. “I’ll see some adorable clothes for my girls, then some more clothes for me,” says Amy Leff of Throw­ing Stars Jew­elry. “Then there’s some yummy sweets to taste, tea I need to sip, bags I need to fill, soaps I need to smell... it’s just end­less!”

The Bee­hive is not only a must-visit shop­ping space, but it’s also a won­der­ful re­source for learn­ing. The Bee Cre­ative area has a work­shop, where de­sign­ers teach classes in sewing, knit­ting, felt­ing, and jew­elry mak­ing. Mary Sweeney of Felted Heart, who makes cloth­ing and ac­ces­sories from re­cy­cled wool, sums it up per­fectly: “I love the con­ve­nience of the Bee­hive be­ing open seven days a week – it’s a hub of lo­cal, cre­ative en­ergy.” www.the­bee­hiveatl.com

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A visit to the Bee­hive is likely to leave you well ac­ces­sorized.

We al­ways love a good mash-up of fab­rics.

While you’re here, re­vamp your wardrobe with some hand­made pieces.

A bold splash of color and pat­tern is just what ev­ery sofa needs.

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Bring home some words to live by as a sou­venir.

Don’t miss out on the Bee­hive’s work­shop space at the back.

Sewing classes are great, but they’re even bet­ter paired with wine at the Bee­hive’s Sip and Stitch work­shops.

This way for crafts.

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