Iowa might just be cooler than you think. Our little slice of Midwest heaven should be known for more than just rolling plains and cornfields, but for the talented entrepreneurs and businesses that are thriving here. While online businesses can be easily overlooked, here are five that aren’t. Check out these local online shops that are dominating the World Wide Web — and just in time for Christmas!
Founders: Laura Bjornstad & Samantha Bruck
Laura Bjornstad & Samantha Bruck started Boat House Apparel after a realization for the lack of stylish, high quality lake clothing and accessories. While graphic tees are their bread and butter, their collection extends into sweaters, dresses and tanks. Boat House is known for their quality fabrication, unique silhouettes, exclusive designs and local printing. Their pieces are ideal for lazy mornings on the porch to drinks and dinner downtown. The business has been such a success that they’ll be moving into a retail location this January in the Lake Okoboji area.
Shop it: boathouseapparel.com
Founder: Derian Baugh
In 2013, Derian Baugh realized that too many men either hated shopping or just flat out didn’t know how to put looks together. Derian knew that cultivating personal style takes time — time that men sometimes don’t have. Thus came MSL, a personal style concierge business that makes you feel good and look great. All you have to do is sign up, answer a few questions and a style advisor will handpick five items to match your lifestyle, then deliver them straight to your door. After five days, keep what you love and send the rest back. They even offer free shipping both ways!
Shop it: mensstylelab.com
Founders: Heath Ruge, Courtney Ruge, Grant Ruge, Jordan Crosby
Local dog apparel company, penn+pooch was founded with the intent to fill the marketplace void of well-made, stylish dog apparel that aesthetically represented the bond between hound and human pals. penn+pooch understands that personal style goes beyond the leash and they’re passionate about making it happen. For $22-$85, you can dress your pup in classic American style. At penn+pooch, they approach the creation of each style with a focus on minimalism and fit, working to find the balance of clean design. All penn + pooch apparel is sourced in Los Angeles and manufactured in Chicago, IL. They are available in 85+ retail locations in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, Singapore and Japan and can be shopped locally at Jett and Monkey’s in the East Village.
Shop it: pennpooch.com
Founder: Natalie Morrow
Natalie Morrow has always had a passion for fashion and dreamed of one day opening a boutique. In 2009 she launched an accessories line Stansberry, which is named after her mother and maternal grandmother. For $48-$88, you can purchase handmade scarves that Natalie designs and sews herself — she recently started selling jackets, too. Stansberry is known for using only high-quality materials including an array of first-class fabrics, genuine gemstones and 14K gold-filled jewelry components. Her line is best described as effortless chic and easy-going with a minimalism aesthetic. “Women’s lives are busier than ever and it’s important for to offer simple pieces that are easy to integrate into an existing wardrobe.” - Natalie Morrow
Shop it: stansberrydesign.com
Founder: Malisa Mac Nab
With a love of children’s fashion, Malisa Mac Nab was always looking for something new and fresh, trendy and unique for her three kids. In September of 2013, Malisa founded MiniJoops. Joops means kisses in Malisa’s native language of Laotian. “The meaning is sentimental for me and my husband. When we first met and would say goodbye, we would say I love you, miss you, joops (kisses). Than of course we added Mini into that for the minis in our lives,” says Malisa. The store offers unique clothes from upcoming brands and entrepreneurs for today’s modern kids. Malisa’s online business was such a success that she recently opened a brick and mortar location in the historic East Village.
Shop it: minijoops.com