Dutch, created by Katie Leonard, is a thoughtfully curated shop--filled with beautiful product hand-picked seasonally. The brand speaks to the Dutch lifestyle and aesthetic, focusing on carefully crafted and useful goods. "We've chosen each team that we carry because it resonates with our values: ingenuity, quality, simplicity, warmth and functionality.”
The concept behind Dutch emerged from a long-standing fascination with the Dutch lifestyle. “I had been dreaming about Dutch for a long time—ever since we took an extended trip to Amsterdam three summers ago. When I had my second baby, I knew I didn’t want to go back to work in the traditional sense, and I recognized that transition as the perfect opportunity.”
The aesthetic of Dutch is inspired by the simplicity of traditional, and modern, Dutch culture and life. “I’m a minimalist at heart, but not the neutral everything variety. I like warmth and practicality. I’m drawn to items that are well and thoughtfully made. I gravitate towards Dutch design because the Dutch lifestyle really resonates with me. The Dutch are warm and generous. They are fearless and design-minded. They ride bikes and gather in parks and enjoy life together. Ultimately I really wanted to pursue those things in my life, and Dutch seemed like a natural extension of that. So Dutch is not just about an aesthetic, but a set of values.”
Currently available are both the Spring and Summer shops. Each shop features six items--providing a simplicity of choice that many retailers can not offer. The items range from homeware to jewelry, and feature the work of a variety of artists and makers. The Summer Shop, Dutch's most recent selection of goods, presents pieces from Housgoods, Odd Daughter Paper Co., Black Phoebe Ceramics, Iron Curtain Press, and Native Poppy. Leonard chooses just one item from each brand to represent, many of which are exclusive to Dutch.
This representation of local makers and creatives is inspiring, and exciting. Dutch provides a platform for emerging businesses and artists in the San Diego area, as well as the surrounding community. “I’m a native San Diegan, and I’ve been involved in the creative “scene” in San Diego for many years. It’s been really exciting to see our city grow and change, and that scene begin to flourish. Still I felt like there were a lot of artists, both locally and regionally, who weren’t being represented in San Diego.”
What began as solely an online store has progressed into a brick-and-mortar shop located in South Park, shared with Heather Morton of Black Phoebe Ceramics. Leonard states, “When I first opened Dutch online in March, opening a storefront seemed like a far off dream. The opportunity to share the space with Black Phoebe came about very unexpectedly. I think it’s pretty widely held in the design world that the traditional shop is a thing of the past. I tend to feel the same, but I’m also really excited to be part of a movement that’s redefining what a shop looks like in this new landscape. I see our space as less of a shop, and more of a collaborative space with an adamant belief in the value of small batch, intentional design. I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.”
After reading Katie’s words, and then entering the Dutch and Black Phoebe Ceramics space, a truer understanding will wash over you. The storefront is a perfect melding of both Leonard’s and Morton’s inventories—a beautiful collaboration that pushes the limits of the traditional shop.
For now, the space will run on limited hours—open Thursdays and Fridays (12-6), Saturdays (12-7) and Sundays (12-5). For more information on Dutch, click here. For more information on Black Phoebe Ceramics, click here.