Hammer + Awl located in Madrona, a beautiful neighborhood in Seattle, is known for its fine selection of high quality men's accessories made here in the U.S. We had the privilege to interview, Erin Krohn, the owner of this shop. Read below to find out more about her and how Hammer and Awl became the place to go when looking for those beautifully well crafted pieces.
What inspired you to start this business? Was there ever anything else you thought of doing as a career choice?
Actually, I was inspired to start the shop because of a prior career choice! Well, I'm sort of joking, but there is a bit of truth to it. I am an interior designer and worked in the industry for over 17 years, primarily doing retail design domestically and internationally. Though I enjoyed my design career, I had always envisioned myself owning a small shop filled with unique things that could help define a person's style. The more I thought about it, the more I thought doing a men's version of what I maybe would have done for women would be a more interesting and overlooked niche for Seattle, as there really aren't many boutique shopping options for men in this city.
Madrona seems like such a beautiful neighborhood to visit, with all its shops and family events. What are you enjoying most about your space since moving to your new location?
Madrona IS a beautiful neighborhood! In my prior location I was around the corner off the main commercial street, so I most enjoy being on the main drag here and being a central part of the activity. Also, my neighboring shop is a women's boutique, so we are a great compliment to each other.
While visiting your shop in Madrona, are there any other places you would suggest stopping at, perhaps for a bite to eat?
Absolutely! Depending on your hunger level there are several favorites. Bottlehouse is great for smaller plates and excellent wine. I love getting their wine flights to test out new options and you can't beat their outdoor patio in the summer. Red Cow is another, although they are known for their burgers and steak frites, one of my favorites on their menu is the Frisée & Bacon Salad with poached hen egg. Pair it with an earthy glass of red and I am a happy girl! And of course there is always Molly Moon's, because ice cream counts as a meal, right?
While looking through your shop online I came across so many great items including all the beautiful well-made bags. Can you express some of your thoughts or criteria when choosing these products for your shop?
When looking for product I consider a number of things, usually the first consideration is where the items are made. I focus on primarily US made items from smaller, independent designers. For bags in particular, function is the other top priority. They can be one of the most difficult items to hit that right balance of style that suits the shop and my customer, as well as being functional. But our shoppers are in luck as we stock some winners from the likes of Ernest Alexander, TM1985 and Filson.
How did you come to find General Knot and how do your customers respond their custom products? I believe I initially came across General Knot through a write up on the A Continuous Lean site. Once I discovered them and saw the uniqueness of their products I knew I had to stock them at the shop. General Knot is one of my best selling brands and is customer's love the limited nature of the items because they know they are getting a quality piece that they likely won't find anyone else in Seattle wearing.
While reading your latest blog post (Congratulations on your 15 year wedding anniversary, by the way!) we love how you were able to personally test out some of the products you carry in your shop, all of which seemed to really work out great! Do you like to travel often and what would you say is your favorite vacation spot?I travel less than I used to since opening the shop, but Anthony & I get away when we can for long weekends or combine work and pleasure with trade shows and/or buying trips. Two totally different vacation faves would have to be Winthrop, WA. and Thailand with a stop over in Hong Kong on the way. Winthrop because it is a quirky little western style town in the North Cascades surrounded by incredible hiking trails; plus, getting there from Seattle is one of the most breathtaking drives. It's great to hang out under the stars with a drink after exhausting ourselves on the trail all day. Thailand because, well it's Thailand, and the beaches are incredible. From Phuket to Ko Samui and Cha-am - we have yet to be disappointed on a trip there. The people are some of the most friendly and welcoming and it's and it's impossible to not leave feeling rejuvenated.
We will be celebrating our two year shop anniversary in mid October and can't wait! There will be a little trunk show of sorts with our friends Whiskey & Honey, originally from Austin but now in Seattle, as well as some yet to be determined other good things!
Comments will be approved before showing up.