On May 11, 2013 I had the pleasure of attending Unique LA which was held at the California Market Center in downtown Los Angeles.  One of the requirements of Unique LA is that all items be made locally, yeah! I wrote about my experience on my site, MadeInUSA.la, but I wanted to share my favorite made in California finds with the USA Love List readers too.

My friend, Dawn, and I had a wonderful time being in the presence of all of these talented artists and designers.  I was in heaven!  We bought a few things along the way and also made some new friends.  We are looking forward to the LA Holiday Show in December.

Below is a list of some of my favorite Made in USA ~ Unique California businesses…

The Bocket Store

I had the chance to meet the one of a kind Sarah Bocket of The Bocket Store.  Sarah paints colorful dots inside vintage wooden bowls and glasses.  My friend who is a painter was completely blown away.  She explained to me how difficult it is to paint little dots like Sarah does without the paints running into one another and the steadiness of hand it takes.

Sarah and her team search out vintage wooden bowels and glasses for Sarah to carefully place colorful hand painted dots only the way she knows how.

Taylor Donsker Furniture Designs

We also enjoyed meeting one of the few furniture and wood designers, Taylor Donsker. Taylor is a 2010 graduate of USC School of Architecture.  Facing a dismal job market Taylor started building stunning tables, lamps, cutting boards and serving trays out of wood, concrete and steel.

Taylor’s pieces are truly one of a kind.  I think Taylor has a big future ahead of him.  If you don't believe me, check out his website.

11:11 Enterprises

11:11 Enterprises has a vintage vibe that is really cool, colorful and unique. The creator and owner Jamila Tazewell makes wallets, passport and card holders out of old magazines by cutting, laminating and hand-sewing the edges on 100% recycled paper.

I immediately purchased the “Dog Stamps” passport holder, because I love dogs (I own three) so I was loving the dog stamp print.  Jamila also made an interesting point, that by putting your passport in a passport holder it is less obvious that it is a passport, and it will also distinguish your passport from others if you are traveling with a group.  I like the idea of my passport going incognito because the last thing you want stolen while trekking around a foreign land is your passport.

All items are hand-made in sunny Los Angeles!

The Academy

What can I say about The Academy?  It reeks of awesomeness. It was recently featured in an American Express Small Business Saturday commercial, you can watch it on their website.

From the raw denim blue jeans, to the World Citizen floral shirts, this store is California cool.  From the creativity of two brothers, the staff will personally tailor your jeans right there in the store, they also let you pick the rivets and buttons.  In addition, they sell shoes, women’s clothes and other accessories, but their website is a bit sparse at the moment, probably because they are too busy sewing.  If you are ever in the Long Beach, Southern California, area you should definitely stop by The Academy.

Kissed by a Hippie

Victoria Andahazy started making candles about one year ago thinking she was only going to make ONE for her leather bags company, but people loved her company name and candle so much that they started asking for them.  Thus goes the beginnings of Kissed by a Hippie.  Victoria decided to create 6 for the 60's, and then added the 70's, and she just finished the 80's about a month ago.

Thoughts of her childhood in the 1970’s made Victoria joyful, remembering all the fun times growing up, but she was also feeling the heaviness around her.  People were losing their homes and jobs, and with the market crashing there was a lot of fear and worry.  So she decided she wanted to make a fun, affordable line that everyone would enjoy, that felt like those happy times she remembered as a kid.

Each candle represents monumental moments in history, and pays tribute to great icons and moments throughout history and pop culture.

Stay tuned, Kissed by a Hippie will be adding more decades soon!

Mimot Studio

I’ve always been a sucker for cool bags, especially when they are nicely designed and of good quality.  I am glad I stopped at Mimot Studio’s display.  I met and spoke with Thomas Im the creator and founder of Mimot.

Thomas founded Mimot in 2010, he also assured me that all of his bags are designed and manufactured in Los Angeles.  His original bag is the reusable tote which is assembled from one piece of tear resistant Tyvek paper and makes a great grocery or beach tote.

Since the first tote came on the scene Mimot Studio has grown to include a line of nylon and canvas totes that are built to last a lifetime.  In addition, the entire line is very affordably priced so everyone can own several Mimot Studio totes!

CO Creative Cartel

Have you ever wished you could find an iPhone, iPad or Galaxy case Made in the USA?  It is hard to do, all the cases in the mall are from China.  Well, I have found the perfect solution, CO Creative Cartel.  They design and manufacture cases for smart phones, iPads and Galaxys.  All items are made in Los Angeles and they look and feel cool.

CO Creative Cartel is a husband and wife team of Charlie and Carissa Ortega.  Their goal is to create a cutting edge boutique agency with a fresh outlook on design.  They also offer graphic design services, invitations and smartphone and tablet designs.

Toni Handbags

Toni Handbags are fashion forward, sumptuous, leather handbags and they are hand made in Los Angeles why would you not want one?

They come in a wide variety of classic styles, including The Tote, The Shopper, The Saddle, and The Duffle, and for the daytime or evening The Foldover.  I love all of the color choices from cobalt blue to red to tan and black.  I will be the proud owner of one of these before the year is over.  My problem will be which one do I want?

Love Nail Tree

I am so glad I discovered Love Nail Tree.   They offer really cool tee styles that have something to say. They often reference topics that are ignored or forgotten about by society.  For instance I recently bought a shirt that says “This machine kills fascists” with a photo of an old camera.  It was inspired by the quote Woody Guthrie had stuck to all of his guitars.

Another favorite is the tee with the photo of a drunken man passed out in a chair with a bottle of liquor in front of him and the words “I Promised To My Wife and Children” printed on the shirt.  All I could say was, WOW!

Love Nail Tree has funky tees with a purpose, they also hand create jewelry, check them out.

Haniso Studio

Haniso Studio handcrafts artisan jewelry in Los Angeles, CA.  The line includes bracelets, necklaces and earrings inspired by a bohemian-Indie style.  I love the leather wrapped bracelets, they have a very cool hippie, surfer chick look to them.

While at Unique LA I purchased a gorgeous gold ring that has a basket style weave to it and a big Swarovski crystal in the middle.  Although I don’t see any rings on the website there were a few at the show.  I absolutely love my ring and it is now my go to ring for those days when I want to wear something a little extra special.

Mary Beth Trama is a Los Angeles based blogger who has been covering the Made in USA scene since 2008. Find her at MadeInUSA.la