The pandemic has not stopped the entrepreneurial spirit in the District as new businesses have opened and thrived. When Summit to Soul’s Kim Wattrick decided to close her store this spring, Barracks Row had one more empty storefront to contend with at 727 8th Street SE– not to mention, a space that had been devoted to creating community. But on Saturday, June 27, Honey Made, a lovely new store filled the void and promises to bring not just adorable handmade goodies and gifts, but also a much-needed sense of community.
At Honey Made, all of the clothes, tea towels, wine cozies and other fabric items are made on the premises. Back when she first moved to America from Thailand, Moo lived and babysat in LA while studying to become an electrical engineer. Moo also has a degree in applied physics, by the way. She would draw all sorts of adorable cartoony faces for her charges –the same adorable menagerie that appeared on her Li’l Fishy brand, which started in the West Coast and continued when life brought the Honeys to DC about 10 years ago. When she started, Moo didn’t know how to sew: she taught herself via YouTube tutorials. When I ask her if her rigorous science background helps in her role as creative and shopkeeper, she just smiles and tells me, “You have to think how things work.”
And think she does. The ever-expanding Li’l Fishy line has, among other offerings, flowy and delicate cotton dresses for women and clever reversible dresses for little girls. Moo also learned how to make and scale patterns herself, but she draws the line at scaling little girl designs to adult woman proportions– a fact that has dashed my dream of having a reversible dress. She’s also learned how to silkscreen, stamping her menagerie on onesies and t-shirts and many other items.
But the best part about it is how Moo values the connections she’s made along the way, and how it shows in her store: The jewelry at Honey Made is by Ofina, crafted by a friend from her LA days who is now San Francisco-based. The adorable, bright pouches to stash your makeup or diaper wipes are by Scarvelous, a longtime Eastern Market vendor who is also a friend. Moisture-rich shea butter lotions and soaps are by BAMI, another friend and market vendor. Her candles are made by Handmade Habitat, a local candlemaker who has a shop at the Monroe Arts Walk and has become a friend from the Holiday Market. Whimsical photos by Joe Shymanski and pop-art inspired coasters and home decor by Naked Decor— yes, more market vendors– round out the inventory, with more vendors coming in later weeks. In a way, shopping at Honey Made is like having Eastern Market available to you on the days the outdoor vendors aren’t around. The youngest collaborator –and arguably, Moo’s favorite– is daughter BB. BB has designed several pieces, which bear her name, throughout the store. She also makes mask lanyards for little ones– a very swaggy and one-of-a-kind item that might be the rage at playgrounds across the Hill and beyond this autumn.
Moo envisions Honey Made as a space for making and learning, and she looks forward to having classes as well as meeting regulars and new customers in the shop.