Seven Best: Detroit Gifts
Whether you're from the area, still living here or just a fan, we show our Detroitism proudly. Here are a few ways to wear it on your sleeve.
While most ideas here are clothing, I threw in my favorite new book and a cool local graphics company for some diversity. This list is by no means complete – I expect lots of suggestions in the comments section!
By the way, if every Michigan household spent $10 each week on Michigan made food products, then $37 million would be put back into the local economy on a weekly basis, according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture. Annually, that is almost $2 billion. Just a reminder to shop local if you can.
1. Show everyone where you live with a vintage-style T-shirt from Grand Rapids-based The Mitten State. My favorite is the new light blue Detroit shirt, depicting the giant hand map with a big old dot on the city. It is a brand new addition to the site, so look for it in time for the holidays.
2. Ann Arbor-based I Miss You, Inc. (IMU) is making some of the coolest shirts around. The company's founder, David Merritt, is a former University of Michigan basketball player. One collection, Ubuntu, focuses on the interconnectedness between individuals (something we need more of around this region.)
3. I still think Made in Detroit's “Racing” Black Twill with Orange & White Stripes is dead sexy. If you want something for your desktop, you can't miss with the Kid Rock bobble head. The guy owns the company, after all.
4. Ladies, check out the “Little Miss Detroit” T-shirt from Detroit Manufacturing. She's cute and rocking the turntables. The Detroit-based company has the awesome "Detroit, City of Tomorrow" shirts as well. Cute onesies for the under one set if you're so inclined. Also, there's free shipping, baby.
5. Locals Vivian and Edward Weng developed the Mittenberry for all you high-tech types out there. When worn normally, Mittenberry looks and feels like a classic mitten. But a quick flip of the thumb flap allows the wearer to type and text on her device du jour. It even has a tiny button to hold the flap in place so it does not bother the user as she types.
6. A Motor City Year by award-winning photographer John Sobczak, shows everyday life in Michigan over 365 images. According to publisher Wayne State University Press, “While not all of the images are pretty, they represent the diversity and unique excitement of life in the Motor City, a place too often painted with a broad negative brush. Detroit-area residents and anyone with ties to the region will appreciate this timely collection of photography.” Couldn't have said it any better myself.
7. If you want something custom – say, a huge blowup of that picture showing your kid hitting the cover off of a baseball – check out Livonia-based Fathead products. Fathead wall graphics are action images that you stick on any smooth surface. Personally, I'm loving the life-size Tom Brady.
If you seek additional ideas, check out two local gift guides. One is from Buy Michigan Now and the other is Made in Michigan. Both provide information on companies producing high -quality foods and unique, yet practical, gift ideas in communities across the state.
Buy Michigan Now is a grassroots effort that was initiated in November of 2007 to help educate people of all ages about the benefits of buying locally and to stimulate positive thinking and actions in support of Michigan.
The Made in Michigan Movement is an action-oriented, grassroots movement dedicated to bridging the relationships between the Michigan consumer, producer, grower and retailer. Made in Michigan Movement is headquartered in Waterford, Mich. with more than 13,000 members in nearly every Michigan county. According to the group's press release:
“This year's guide represents the start of what we hope will become a tradition for Michigan families and businesses,” said Made in Michigan Movement CEO Neil Yaremchuk. “Michigan's farmers, craftsmen and other small business owners offer an incredible variety of outstanding holiday foods and gifts. We want the people of this great state to have a simple way to find out how their holiday purchases can support the Michigan economy, without sacrificing quality.”
To stay in Detroit, check out City Bird, Leopold's Books, Bureau of Urban Living and the dozens of other great shops in Midtown and downtown. When you're done, you may want to post some stuff on Bought in Detroit. I'm just saying.