INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — In 2007, Indiana native Amanda Mauer Taflinger and her now-husband, Neal, started a craft fair called the Indiana Handicraft Exchange.
Then, after getting laid off from her teaching job, she seized the opportunity and open her own store in 2010. It's now known as Homespun: Modern Handmade.
Located at 869 Massachusetts Avenue, Homespun is a boutique, gallery and workshop devoted to contemporary handmade goods.
Here, they believe every item tells a story.
But today, the story we are telling is theirs.
“We carry the work of about 400 different artists and half of those are local artists—local to Indiana,” said Taflinger Mauer. “And a good portion of those local to Indiana are from Indianapolis.”
Inside, you’ll find everything from housewares and décor to bath products and cosmetics and a whole array of screen-printed T-shirts and other Indiana-themed items.
“People want to express their Hoosier pride and make sure everybody knows they’re an Indiana native,” she said.
Some of their hottest items are the local artisanal food products, which are also personal favorites for Taflinger Mauer.
“I’m a sucker for chocolate. Frittle is always one of my favorites,” she said. “I love the coconut Frittle but now they have a dark chocolate covered Frittle which I can’t get enough of!”
Plus, they have the perfect card for every occasion and everyone.
“We have everything—all the standard categories—but we also have a lot of same sex wedding and engagement and couple cards and those seem to be very popular,” Taflinger Mauer said.
Homespun carries a wide array of cosmetics and bath products like their popular “Sorting Hat” Harry Potter themed bath bombs by 9 and ¾ Coffee & Tea Co.
They also offer a variety of products for men.
“Beard oils are super popular right now so there’s a lot of facial conditioners and beard oils and mustache wax for men. We also carry some beard combs that are really nice [and] are handcrafted,” Taflinger Mauer noted.
You’ll find plenty of Indiana natives with their talents on display, both in their gallery displayed on the walls—which features up and coming local artists—as well as the products on the shelves.
Some of those products include the Indiana-themed charcuterie boards by 13-year-old Blake Jefferson.
“He was 10 when he started working with us…. his whole family are artists. His dad is a potter, his mom is a painter and muralist,” she said. “Since he was a kid, he’s worked with a lot of different materials, and he started doing a lot of woodworking.”
In the past few years, Taflinger Mauer said she has enjoyed watching Jefferson hone his craft and make a name for himself.
“It’s really interesting to see artists grow. I really like that. I like seeing people evolve over time… their product line and also their mission, the statement behind their product and the story of their business,” she said.
Years before she opened Homespun, Taflinger Mauer set out to not only help expose the world to Indiana’s very own artisans, but also to bring other artists to Indiana.
“We value the local art community. We value art in general. We want to see our customers appreciating what they’re buying and maybe putting a little more thought into what they’re purchasing,” she said.
Although, it’s tempting to go to a big box store and impulsively buy an item for cheap, Taflinger Mauer says that people who shop consciously will pay a bit more in order to get better quality and more unique items.
“I’m guilty of going to Target and being like, ‘Oh that’s really cute!’ And seeing that handmade aesthetic and being like, ‘No, no no… I’m not going to buy that here because I know somebody who makes that and they make it better or they make it with a little bit better twist or flair,” she said.
“We find that customers will come to us, and they’ll spend a little bit more money because there’s a story behind a product [and] behind the person who made it,” she added.
Gifting is easy at Homespun thanks to the knowledgeable and personal staff who find joy in helping customers find the perfect gift or gift basket within their price range.
“We like to see our customers come in and really search for that special gift for somebody…look for something that they know is going to mean something to someone,” she said.
Four Things You Need to Know About Homespun:
- Amanda Taflinger Mauer first started with Indiana Handicraft Exchange in 2007. By 2010, she opened Homespun Modern Handmade as an outgrowth of the Handicraft Exchange. Today, they carry the work of over 400 artists—half of which are from Indiana.
- Homespun carries a huge array of items. Some of their most popular include house wares, home décor, cosmetics, bath and body products, screen printed T-shirts with a local flair, Indiana-themed products, accessories, artisan food items and much more!
- They make gifting easy thanks to a variety of products, greeting cards and customized gift baskets (both for personal gifting or corporate gifts). “The people who work here really love to personal shop for people…Tell us what you’re looking for and we can stick within a price range,” said Taflinger Mauer.
- Times have been tough for the businesses in the 800 and 900 blocks of Massachusetts Avenue due to limited parking and other issues related to the Bottleworks project. While they are excited for the development itself, the local business owners still are really leaning on one another for support but several of them need the public’s help to stay afloat in the meantime. So the next time you’re in the area, take a moment to shop and explore because you never know what kind of treasures you may find!
For more information about Homespun: Modern Handmade, check out their website by clicking here. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect with them via Facebook and Instagram.
While on Mass Ave., check out these other hot spots located within a short walking distance of Homespun: