Female Not Factory

Amie Artisans features handmade goods by female artists

Meredith Brockington has that je ne sais quoi—that special something. Who doesn’t have a friend—une amie—with a distinctive style? Some people just know how to put a look together.

Meredith Brockington founded Amie Artisans, an online shop of handmade goods by female artists from all over the country. Photo by Lauryn Hottinger

Brockington has turned that knack for curating a particular style into Amie Artisans, a company she launched this fall, which features apparel, jewelry, fragrances and goods like mugs and vases.

“We’re an online shop of handmade goods by female artists from all over the country,” Brockington says. Half of the artisans on amieartisans.com are Mainers.

“It’s a pretty small curated collection of products so far.”

The Amie look is, like Brockington’s, clean, sophisticated and uncluttered. Artisan and understated. Locally made and full of foreign influences.

“I’m most inspired by traveling,” says Brockington, 27, who named her online style collection Amie, the French word for a female friend. “It’s a very modern, Danish-style design.”

Amie is quite a departure from L.L. Bean, where Brockington was a photo art director for four years.

“As a brand that’s been established for over 100  years, L.L. Bean was a great opportunity to observe and learn a lot of about running a business with a great understanding of who they are,” Brockington says. “But I always try to go after whatever my heart is set on.”

She wanted to try her hand at applying what she learned at L.L. Bean, but with a different aesthetic.

“In some ways, my job was very similar to what I’m doing now, overseeing every single detail that goes into an image. I just wasn’t using my own money,” Brockington laughs. “But in other ways, it’s completely different, starting your own business. I’m a really curious person, so I find it a great challenge to learn a new program or process every day. I love the challenge of running a new business. It’s a new season of life, for sure.”

Brockington already knew of a few local artisans whose products fit the look she was envisioning. And then she scoured Instagram and Etsy and made a list of artists she hoped to include in the Amie collection.

“They all just happened to be women, and I couldn’t ignore that,” Brockington says. “It wasn’t supposed to be a ‘The Future Is Female’ empowerment thing. But what women artists are doing is important and profound, and I want to tell their stories.”

NOMAD PERFUME OIL $46, Maker: Yoke/Tamara Jones Venice, CA
WIDE BAND O RING $36, Maker: Multiply/Tanja Cesh, Designed in Portland, handmade by master craftsman in Nepal
DROPLET NECKLACE $138, Maker: Giantlion/Caroline Whittington Young, Richmond, VA
RAKU BUD VASE $36, Maker: Campfire Studio/Kristen Camp, Westbrook
TEXTURED INCENSE HOLDER $32, Maker: Campfire Studio/Kristen Camp, Westbrook
MOON WIDE BAND RING $56, Maker: Multiply/Tanja Cesh, Designed in Portland, handmade by master craftsman in Nepal
GOLD RIM TUMBLER $28, Maker: Settle Ceramics/Samantha Heligman, Austin, TX
SACRED INCENSE $26, Maker: Yoke/Tamara Jones, Venice, CA

She buys the products wholesale and resells them, packing every box herself—so far—allowing for brand consistency, something she saw done well at L.L. Bean. The Amie collection includes clothing, accessories, fragrances and high-end housewares—including Brockington’s own modern twist on macramé wall hangings.

But, in a way, what she’s really selling is a creative vision.

“She has a really good eye for curating a collection,” said Kristen Camp, whose ceramics company Campfire Studios is based in Dana Warp Mill in Westbrook and who is also one of the artisans featured on Amie Artisans. “Meredith is one of those people who has an amazing creative vision for how to tell artists’ stories, between her photography and her writing. And to be in a group where you get to see these women’s work up close is inspiring.”

The group also includes Laura Ker, owner of Find clothing store in Portland, who started the Takeko line of “altered” vintage apparel, working with denim and earth-tone linen, re-fashioning tunics, crop tops and wide-legged pants with a comfortable gender-neutral look.

Some jewelry offered from Amie Artisans. Photo by Lauryn Hottinger

And there’s Tanja Cesh, the Portland-based product designer whose brass pieces are hand-forged by master craftsmen in Nepal.

“I’m putting artists at the forefront of the brand, putting a face to the products,” Brockington says. “It’s about supporting handmade art and self-made women.”

Brockington left her full-time job at L.L. Bean last spring—though she still freelances for them—and took the leap as a small business owner. An avid hiker, Meredith appreciates the L.L. Bean culture of fitness in the outdoors. “But,” she says, “it wasn’t an extension of my identity.”

Amie is.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer from Scarborough who only wishes she had that je ne sais quoi.

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