Since gift guides are extremely popular this year and our friends at Eastern Market Main Street shared a very comprehensive one with us, we decided to focus on a few of our favorite businesses and give you shopping ideas. Enjoy!
During a recent windy Saturday, I ducked into one of our newest shops around Eastern Market, Antiochia Home Linens, 760 C Street SE. It was a nice break from the wind, but not as nice as for owner Berna Rodman, who was making her new storefront –open since early October– even cozier. On windy days, the merchants in the Eastern Market outdoor stalls really suffer. Merchandise flies or topples over; the cold makes things unpleasant; and a gust of wind can knock over not just your inventory, but your tent as well. That Saturday, few merchants were set up at all– mostly produce stands and a few brave artisans. Mann Made Designs was up; Tigerflight and Scarvelous were not.
Berna started selling towels and soap at the Flea Market eight years ago under the Antiochia name. Slowly, her inventory grew and she added colorful dishes with intricate designs, lavender and many of the goodies that are now on permanent display at her store. Just a couple of months after opening, the store already has the feel of belonging in its new location all along. On the particular Saturday I dropped in, Berna was busy decorating for the holidays with delicate garlands of birds. The colorful birdies, Berna told me, “were made by my grandmother.” Her grandmother’s portrait watches over the checkout counter– a beloved presence watching her granddaughter share the beauty of her home country with everyone.
Throughout the store, touches of Berna’s personality and likes are very evident, which makes the experience of shopping there both fun and intimate– like going to a friend’s house and learning all her secrets. Of the bowls, all of which are handmade in Turkey –like most of the inventory at the store– Berna gives out care advice. “I just stick mine in the dishwasher and they come out great.” No fuss, no mess: just a homey, colorful touch here and there. I fell in love with one of the bowls, featuring a swooping flower studded with ceramic dots in the center. “That’s a tulip design, like the one I have at the counter.” She pointed to the beautiful Turkish-tiled register counter. The tiles, of course, are handmade in Turkey. The whole store has the same friendly and homey feel that her stall did for so many years at the Flea Market, only that it is wind-proof and, like the owner herself, it’s cozy and inviting.
If you are shopping for the holidays, consider a few of these presents:
For the interior designer: The towels. Not only are they what-is-this-witchcraft level of absorbent, they come in beautiful colors and are monogrammable. (Berna oursorces the monogramming to another woman-owned business.)
For your friend with the sensitive skin: The orange-scented soap smells like the ingredients it lists: Olive oil and oranges. It’s light and feels great on your skin. I have even washed my face with it and haven’t broken out. (Disclaimer: My face is very sensitive, but I do not suffer from eczema or other skin disorders that can be affected by even the mildest soap. Before using, do a test patch.)
For the hostess with the mostest: Antiochia has a gorgeous selection of bowls of all sizes. All the bowls are handmade in Turkey, and most are dishwasher-safe. (Tested in my own dishwasher!) The ones photographed were $18 each. You can drop a lavender sachet in one of the bowls, wrap with tissue paper and voilà! Instant hit.
Go say hello to Berna, get some holiday cheer Turkish style and tell her we sent you. Her holiday hours are as follows,
12/24 – Open until 6 p.m.
12/25 – Closed
12/26 – Open 12-4 p.m.
12/31 – Open 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
1/1/18 – Closed