Tucked away in the great city of Madison, WI, Madison Modern Market is focused on the beautiful curation of home and personal goods. Curated around forward thinking, we love their selection of hand crafted items and high-quality products. Plus, they keep their shelves filled - which keeps us browsing for hours. Son of a Sailor got the chance to catch up with the cool peeps at Madison Modern Market, tour their space, and talk all things inspirational.

Son of a Sailor: Tell us about Madison Modern Market, how did the shop come to be?

Madison Modern Market: Madison Modern Market started in April 2013. We opened in a location on State Street that was previously home to a cute, quirky gift store and took the opportunity to develop a more design-oriented aesthetic while still providing gifts for home, office, and entertaining in addition to accessories for men, women, and children. We set out to contribute to the “shop local” attitude of our city by featuring unique merchandise that is functional and fun to own. We’re passionate about quality, innovative design, and how it affects individuals and the community, and we felt that our concept would be well received in Madison - a city with a diverse population and booming development.

SOS: What is your curation inspiration?

MMM: We lean towards a mix of mid-century modern meets contemporary minimalist design, with a touch of rustic vintage flair and a bit of playfulness. Sometimes bold colors and design can become overwhelming, so we like to scale it back by offering great staple items and pieces that feel like they have a bit of history. We value the details in everything we select.

We approach our shop curation by thinking of what items we’d like to own ourselves. How will an item be used? Is it innovative? Does it feel special? Shopping in our store and owning the products we sell should be fun. We aim to stock items that can make life a little easier or more enjoyable. We’re always hunting for interesting product lines that have a story behind them, whether it’s how and why they’re made or what they’re made from. We want our customers to be excited about picturing themselves using our items regularly.

With the ecommerce boom, shoppers are not always able to touch, feel, and browse through products the way they would in a store. We strive to emphasize the physical shopping experience for our customers by creating a welcoming and engaging atmosphere through both our merchandise and visual displays. We regularly change the vignettes in our store to help customers visualize how they can use our products whether it’s in their homes or on-the-go.

SOS: How does Madison Modern Market fit into your life?

MMM: I’ve been a maker for most of my life, which started with a passion for arts and crafts at an early age and developed into a focus on design - specifically interior design, graphic design, and jewelry design. I enjoy “cross-training” the creative side of my brain because it’s helped me to understand how design is an all-encompassing discipline that spans the boundaries of each individual field. Design affects both the individual and the community regardless of consciousness. Over the years, I’ve developed an understanding of what shapes successful design and was fortunate to take a position as a retail visual display and merchandising artist where I could directly see how the play between displays and merchandise created a specific experience for the customers. When Madison Modern Market was in it’s pre-planning stages, I was excited to jump on board with a locally owned company that shares my values and has a lot of potential for growth. There’s such a unique, local ambiance to State Street that both Madisonians and tourists appreciate. It’s been amazing to partake and give back to the community experience through Madison Modern Market.

Forequarter Restaurant in Madison, WI. 

SOS: Madison, WI is totally a hidden gem. For those of us who get the chance to explore the area, what are some of your favorite local sights and bites?
MMM: The downtown is very pedestrian friendly, so you can pretty much walk or bike anywhere. We love going to the Memorial Union Terrace during the summer, which offers beautiful views of Lake Mendota. You can go sailing on the lake, or simply relax at a table with friends while enjoying locally made ice cream and beer. It’s a great place for people watching, and sometimes there’s live music. We also enjoy shopping at the farmers’ market that takes place Saturdays around the Capitol Square from April through November. There are many wonderful green spaces and parks surrounding the downtown and University of Wisconsin campus, two beautiful art museums (MMoCa and the Chazen Museum of Art), and several smaller neighborhoods perfect for shopping and grabbing a bite.

Madison is the place to be if you love food! There are so many options that it can be difficult to make a decision, but they’re all so delicious. We love dining out at restaurants that feature local ingredients. Some of our favorites are Graze, Merchant, and Forequarter.

Even though there’s always something to do, the city has a laid-back atmosphere so you never feel rushed. Also, everyone is very friendly. It’s easy to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger.

SOS: What upcoming excitement do you have planned for us?MMM: We are in the process of building our ecommerce site (www.shopmadmod.com). While we love our location on State Street and visiting with our customers, we’d like to share the store with out-of-towners so they can still check out what’s new if they can’t make it to Madison.

We are also excited to introduce more Madison and Wisconsin-themed gifts. Madisonians take great pride in their city. We’re currently working on a few product designs that will be MMM exclusives, so stay tuned!

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