Fairgoods launched in January, 2013 as an online retailer of well-designed housewares, accessories, apparel and type. Almost a year later, the Calgary start-up is earning a reputation not only as a good place to shop, but as a creative hive where people who have product ideas can connect with people who have the resources to manufacture them.
Narissa Tadros is a senior writer at Fairgoods, and one of its founders. She says the Fairgoods concept evolved from a focus on type. “We have relationships with wonderful typographers and needed a venue for selling typefaces. We were also aware of a surge in type as a design element in products. People seem to be appreciating type design on all different levels. So with Fairgoods, we began with a focus on type and products that incorporate type, which has evolved into a more general focus on how things are made and the people who make them.”
Currently, Fairgoods sells digital typefaces, acts as a retailer for third-party “makers” (the store’s catch-all term for its product creators), and also participates in product development by giving designers and ideas-people the practical resources they need to realize their concepts. Tadros says a new light by celebrated designer Jessica Hische came about in this way. “Jessica had an idea for a light, but she didn’t have the time or resources to manufacture it. So she designed it, and then Fairgoods worked with Palette Industries, an industrial design firm in Calgary, to create it.” Fairgoods is currently offering a limited edition of 100 of Hische’s Code Mode Lights, each signed and numbered by the designer.
Hische designed the Code Mode Light ($215) as a playful way to let studio mates know when she’s in the work zone.
The company’s involvement in the manufacture of its products makes it easy for Fairgoods to be transparent with customers. Tadros says, “We feel strongly about being inclusive, which to us means letting buyers in on the full process. Who made it? What materials were used? Those are things people are interested in knowing.” The result is a boutique shopping experience with a line of distinctive, well-made (and in some cases exclusive) products.
Fairgoods is now focusing on its next step: DIY. “In addition to fully realized products, we’re offering packages of materials that let people make their own stuff,” says Tadros. The store currently offers DIY Mason jar snowglobe kit and cross-stitch iPhone case kits.
Here are a few of our favourite items on fairgoods.com. Prices are in USD.
Each pot in the versatile Triangle Concrete Pot Set ($60) is handmade by Pawel Mikoluk of Rough Fusion.
The Orbits Chandelier ($885) by Stil Novo Design is made from the metal hoops of reclaimed wine barrels.
One set in a line of witty, beautiful greeting cards, the Brief Greetings Christmas Set ($10) lets you say it with two words.
Designer Astali made the Elk Antler Necklace ($124) using century-old reclaimed wood from her childhood home.
Polycarbonate durability meets vintage illustration in the Menswear iPhone Case ($35) by Cartolina.
For more products, visit fairgoods.com
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