The Commons is a destination shop in Charleston, South Carolina, for American made goods for the home. Established in 2013 by Erin Connelly and Kerry Clarke Speake, who wanted to create a gathering place and community for makers and lovers of craft. Initially intended as an online business the original shop was a tiny pop up within a bookstore. Instead of closing, The Commons took over the entire shop. The aesthetic is modern yet earthy, and based on a neutral color palette. There are exclusive products, unique collaborations, and The Shelter Collection, which is The Commons own line of glassware and ceramics. The Shelter Collection is produced at Starworks, a nonprofit in North Carolina, focused on rebuilding their community’s economy through design and craft. Customers are from the local creative community, and tourists, particularly New Yorkers.
Three years ago Erin Connelly and Kerry Clarke Speake embarked on a month long road trip across the US. Inspired by the artists and craftsmen they met on their journey, they developed the concept for The Commons. Both former fashion designers, they love developing the product, and have found having their own shop to curate and present the collections very fulfilling. They value their relationships with their vendors, and wish to foster a favorable and friendly environment for the artisans, customers and themselves. They enjoy the many long conversations and magical connecting moments that occur in the shop. Erin and Kerry love to travel, and visit their favourite shops; Worthwhile in Charleston, Totokaelo in Seattle, and Labour and Wait in London.
On the Future of Retail
“We think every town needs its gathering places, and the interest in our own communities are growing and growing. Just as people have become so interested in where their food is grown, they will also find a great interest in who made the plate they are eating on, as well as the table. There is a soul to the tangibility of a shop, and the stories behind the craftsmen the shop represents. It is an age old industry that cannot be replaced by technology.”
54 1/2 Broad St, Charleston SC
Photos courtesy of The Commons, with Lean Timms, Sully Sullivan, David Stumpfle and Olivia Rae James