Sip Maker’s Mark bourbon, nibble Cabot cheese, even get a haircut — American Field will provide a decidedly civilized shopping experience when the pop-up shop arrives at the Seaport’s Innovation and Design Building on Sept. 16 and 17.
The annual roving market, now with events nationwide, is helmed by Babson College graduate Mark Bollman. Bollman is the force behind Ball and Buck, a menswear and barber shop on Newbury Street that specializes in clothing, leather, and sporting goods for the sophisticated Boy Scout. Need an oyster shucker and a plaid bandana? This is your place.
Bollman launched American Field in 2012 to unite innovative, emerging artisans with niche products in one marketplace. Proprietors are required to represent their company at the event, so they can actually banter with customers, as in days of yore.
“This is a way to meet makers, these passionate people behind their brand. There’s such a disconnect now when you look at online purchasing . . . You’re completely disconnected from your consumption until it shows up in a brown box, and you open the plastic,” Bollman says.
In this era of Amazon drones and next-day shipping, Bollman hopes to create a throwback shopping experience where customers form a personal connection to their wares.
“I want people to shake the hand of the person who built each company and understand how they did it. Think about the 1900s, when you knew your local hat maker and your dad shopped there. It’s that conscious consumerism,” he says.
To that end, you’ll find stands from Brothers Artisan Oil, a family-run Boston apothecary that specializes in all-natural beard balms and shaving oils; Eight + Sand, ethically sourced, American-made, precision-sized women’s clothing; custom gems and jewels from Ramblerose, handcrafted by Northeastern University graduate Maggie Antalek; and watches from Throne, made by a trio of punk rock and hip-hop aficionados from New York’s East Village.
Bollman chose more than 65 makers for this year’s show, looking for interesting back stories and a commitment to life as an artisan.
“These are real businesses with real people looking to grow their brands,” Bollman says.
The market is free and open to the public from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.
“We want to make sure that products are truly unique and different than what you’d get at Target. We want to make sure that it will last and you’ll love it,” he says.