Retail Spotlight

Meet the Shopkeeper: Hammer and Awl

The Madrona men's shop champions handcrafted goods with a focus on local labels.

By Aoife Reilly August 3, 2015

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Image: Ryan Castoldi

From boldly printed bandanas by local designer Michael Cepress to played-up plaid shirts by Brooklyn based The Hill-Side, our favorite Madrona men's shop, Hammer and Awl, is a treasure chest filled with expertly crafted American-made buys. Owner Erin Krohn relocated her store earlier this year (just a block away from the old spot) to a lighter and brighter space next to Driftwood Consignment Boutique. It still has the same workshop chic aesthetic as the previous location but with more room to peruse, try on, and shop the wide selection of local and regional brands that's offered.

What song or album is playing on your store’s sound system right now?
I really like the album To Where the Wild Things Are by the Swedish duo Death and Vanilla. It’s very dreamy, but with enough pop to make you not fall asleep.

What was your first job, and how does it compare to what you do now?
Not counting the highly successful lemonade stands with my best friend growing up, my very first was a short-lived telemarketing job one summer in early high school. Needless to say I loathed it. I can’t even remember what it was for or why I took the job. I think I simply erased that whole experience from my mind. If it has taught me anything it was the power of connecting with people face to face.

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Image: Ryan Castoldi

What’s your favorite piece in the store right now?  
I’m really loving the new pieces we just got in from Brooklyn based TM1985. They make travel and everyday bags inspired by what they call “an army surplus spirit of practicality and durability, but refined for civilian life.” The mail messenger has all the storage you want in a daily carry bag, but it’s streamlined in shape and not bulky. The tapered and padded shoulder strap allows it to hug the body making it super comfortable worn cross-body or slung high on the shoulder.

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Image via Hammer and Awl

Where do you shop when you’re not at your store?
I feel like I’m always shopping for my store! But when I can I love to support my fellow Madrona businesses, which means baubles from Hitchcock and textural fashion pieces from Juniper. I’m also always looking for the right shoe and love the selection at A Mano.

What do you love about your store’s neighborhood?
Madrona is magical! It is such a supportive neighborhood with great people who want small businesses to succeed. I love that it feels like a bit of an escape being there, it’s very comfortable and chill. And maybe one of the best things is that you can still find free parking.

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Image: Ryan Castoldi

What nearby restaurants, coffee shops, etc. do you recommend?
is a long time favorite for a casual glass of wine and small plates, not to mention they have one of the best outdoor patios in Seattle. Ethan Stowell’s Red Cow is a must for anyone wanting their animal protein fix and the latest addition, Brian Clevenger’s Vendemmia, where it’s all about the hand cut pasta, is superb. If you are more of breakfast/brunch person Hi Spot and St. Clouds are neighborhood icons that never disappoint.

Why did you choose the name Hammer and Awl?
The name is a nod to the idea of handcrafted or smaller production items, which is the main focus of the products and brands that I carry. I also liked that it’s not specific and makes people curious of what the shop is if they don’t know. Once they come in they get it.

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Image: Ryan Castoldi

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened in your store?
A guy came in and asked if I had heard of Uncle Ike’s and proceeded to show me what he just bought and asked if I wanted to smoke some. I told him the boss may not approve of that as I was “on the clock.” Then he bought a pocket square. Nice guy, but not the typical Friday afternoon customer.

Images by Ryan Castoldi originally appeared on Toovia

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