Although she doesn’t work in any official capacity, Danielle DeBoe is Cleveland’s effervescent voice of designer patronage. As the proprietor of Room Service boutique in the Detroit Shoreway/Gordon Square Arts District and creator of the Made in the 216 series, she is a one-woman style council, shaping northeast Ohioans’ tastes while promoting local artists and designers.
“My whole store is about affordable, attainable, good design, in any form that it takes,” says DeBoe. “Good design is really easy to find at high price points, but finding good design at affordable price points is a little more challenging in Cleveland.” For years, DeBoe has accepted the challenge, which has served to further her passion for Cleveland.
“Day after day, I’m exposed to all these dynamic, interesting people doing really cool things,” says DeBoe. “It’s all about creating an awareness of people… that was one of the main impetus behind Made in the 216.”
The Made in the 216 Holiday Shoppe is the fourth and most ambitious event in the series. The first event included 12 artists, who were all friends of DeBoe, and the second featured 18 designers. “I couldn’t really do much more than that because it was in my store, which is 600 square feet – that November show was crowded,” she says. In June, she brought together 40 artists for a Made in the 216 event that attracted thousands.
“Every time I do it, I want to change it a little bit,” says DeBoe. The one constant has been her unfettering devotion to artists who share a similar design, and her insistence on keeping the event in the Detroit Shoreway area. After a protracted construction period, the area’s main thoroughfare has been transformed. Once gritty and unkempt, the near West Side strip of Detroit Avenue has been enlivened with trees, artistic benches and cleaned-up sidewalks.
“I’m not just an advocate for independent designers and artists in the area, I’m a huge promoter of this neighborhood,” says DeBoe. “It’s been seven years since I moved back to Cleveland, and this is the first time that I’ve really felt like a neighborhood was going to actually realize all of its potential and truly be the neighborhood I’ve been searching for.”
Through November 29, the Made in the 216 Holiday Shoppe Space will occupy two storefronts beside the recently renovated Capitol Theatre. DeBoe has transformed the space from a pedestrian retail location to a suitably stylish space, with approximately 1,100 square feet to display hundreds of pieces by more than 50 local artists and designers. The Shoppe will feature everything from men and women’s apparel, jewelry, t-shirts, totes and personal accessories, to stationary, photography, screen-prints, household goods and music.
The format of the show removes some of the tiredness of design showcases, which typically feature individual vendor booths manned by the designer. “I tell the vendors that I hope that they come to celebrate that their stuff is here; in case somebody has questions, they can answer them,” says DeBoe. “I really don’t want them to stand by their goods, I want them to come and be part of the party.”
Many vendors are return vendors from previous Made in the 216 events, but DeBoe asks that they debut new products at each show. “Brian Andrew Jasinski, whose company is Grey Cardigan, he did these really fantastic prints at the last show that nearly sold out,” says DeBoe. “He is doing several new prints for the Holiday Shoppe, and I’m highly anticipating their awesomeness.”
DeBoe is always on the lookout for new designers, and this year’s lineup features numerous local vendors making their 216 debuts. “I have a couple new vendors that I’m very excited about, including Larry Robertson, who makes men’s bowties,” she says, also citing artist Beth Whalley’s framed prints and Finley Handmade infant and children clothing.
“It’s a great way to highlight the level of talent, and the quality level of some of the goods being made in Cleveland,” says DeBoe. “I hope that it can be sophisticated, while at the same time whimsical, not at all intimidating.”
Why do you love Cleveland? Click here for details on how your thoughts could win you a gift pack featuring Made in the 216 goods handpicked by Danielle DeBoe!