Online retailer Flotsam + Fork sells stylish, high-quality home goods from small, European companies
As more shoppers crave an alternative to big-box retail and mass-manufactured products, they’re increasingly turning to small, local businesses to find unique goods for the home and kitchen.
One of the newest is Flotsam + Fork, a home goods retailer that sells stylish, high-quality home goods sourced from small, mostly European companies. The online retailer was founded in 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin, by San Francisco native Adrianna Fie and her then-boyfriend, Joe Hasler. After relocating to Minneapolis last summer, the now-married couple introduced their business to the Twin Cities with a series of pop-up shops showcasing their goods.
There’s a story behind every item Flotsam + Fork stocks, and a heritage often dating back generations. It stocks Pallarès Solsona knives, which have been handmade by the family-owned company since 1917 in Solsona, Spain; Poterie Renault’s culinary stoneware, made by the family-owned company in Argent-sur-Sauldre, France, since 1847; and damask cotton-linen dish towels by a 100-year-old German company.
The idea for Flotsam + Fork came to the couple during a trip to France. “It sounds so cliché, but everything in Paris was so inspirational,” says Fie, “the food markets, kitchen stores, and even how retailers there displayed their wares.” They visited the iconic kitchenware store, E. Dehillerin, where they bought souvenirs including a several beautiful and functional paring knives. “When we returned home, I realized many of the products we fell in love with were not really available here,” says Fie. “I thought that maybe I wasn’t the only person who wanted readier access to French cutlery and natural bristle brushes,” so she began researching product companies in France and beyond.
Nogent Carbon Steel Paring Knife by Theirs Issard, $30 each @ flotsamandfork.com
Many of F + F’s products are sourced from the couple’s travels, especially to France. On their trips, they visit their suppliers, get inspiration, and scout for new products to add to their inventory. “We look for well made, practical products from smaller companies that have a history and story to tell,” Fie says.
Fie and Hasler purposefully keeps the selection small, trying to stock only the best products they find. Most of the items are culled from France and Spain, with a few from Germany, Sweden, England, and Portugal. The unity of form and function—or “pretty and practical,” as Fie describes it—is at the heart of Flotsam + Fork’s aesthetic, along with clean, natural materials and a few splashes of color.
For Fie, Flotsam + Fork is intended more than simply a collection of aesthetically pleasing, European-made goods. “It’s about well-made and useful products that elevate the everyday,” explains Fie. “It’s also about sharing the thrill of discovery, capturing that sensation you get when you’re exploring somewhere new and you find something special.”
Following the success of the pop-ups over the holidays, Fie says they plan to do more in 2018, including another at Lowry Hill Meats. In the meantime, they’re also scouting for a brick-and-mortar location in Minneapolis. “While selling online is great for day-to-day,” says Fie, “creating a physical space for our shop helped us really connect with our customers and build a Flotsam + Fork experience.”
Shop Flotsam + Fork at flotsamandfork.com
Check out a selection of Flotsam + Fork products:
Bon Appetit Dish Towel by Charvet Editions, $24.95 each @ flotsamandfork.com
Vegetable Brush by Iris Hantverk, $14 @ flotsamandfork.com
Color Block Linen Towel, $40 each @ flotsamandfork.com
Long Handled Bath Brush by Iris Hantverk, $29 @ flotsamandfork.com
Farmer Damask Dish Towel, $24.95 each @ flotsamandfork.com
German-style Dustpan & Split Horsehair Dust Brush by Burstenhaus Redecker, $45 for set @ flotsamandfork.com
Linen & Cotton White Stripe Towels, $26–$100 @ flotsamandfork.com
Marbled Enamel Dinner Plate by Bornn, $19.99 each @ flotsamandfork.com