September 05, 2017
At first glance, it’s easy to assume KILN carries a classic mix of clothing, accessories, personal care, and home furnishings for men. Upon closer inspection, however, owner Marc Desrosiers’ emphasis on American- and Japanese-made, small craft, and handmade items becomes readily evident. Desrosiers’ dedication to offering a product mix designed for longevity in both quality and style, with an emphasis on pieces that are hyper-versatile, wear well, and age well, makes KILN stand out. In addition to KILN’s in-house label, BOLD COAST, which is designed in Columbus and manufactured in New England, Desrosiers cultivates a rotating stable of independent labels, artists, and craftsmen, many of which collaborate with him on one-of-a-kind items unique to KILN alone.
Desrosiers previously worked for a major fashion label in New Albany, but craved the opportunity to spend more time on the manufacturing process of fashion, and to spend more time with his family. In addition, he and wife Maren Roth, owner of sister store ROWE Boutique, heard consistent feedback regarding the need for more menswear choices in the Short North Arts District. They tested the waters with a tiny pop-up in ROWE during the holidays, and the positive response gave the couple enough confidence to go all-in, launching the official KILN storefront in June 2017.
Desrosiers credits the generosity and encouragement of neighboring Short North businesses Flower Child Vintage, Lindsay Gallery, and The Lamp Shade with feeling right at home near the corner of E. Second Ave and High St. “Being new to this side of the register, it’s amazing being surrounded by seasoned owners who know the idiosyncrasies of the neighborhood,” he said. “They’ve really seen it all. Beyond that, there is this ingrained spirit of cooperation vs. competition which I love. Other area businesses genuinely want you to succeed. They lift each other up, cooperate, and collaborate.”
KILN is currently featuring artwork from two international artists for the month of September: Amsterdam-based multimedia fiber artist Matthias De Vogel and Lincolnville, Maine potter Meghan Flynn. While they represent different mediums, their approach to a traditional craft is innovative and inspiring. Desrosiers said customers and art fans can expect to see more exciting artists exhibiting at KILN over the next several months.
Desrosiers hopes KILN will continue to evolve as a creative and community incubation space, with opportunities to host artists, speakers, musicians and creatives of all kinds, and to be a warm, familiar space to share ideas. “There is simply no other place in the city where disparate and diverse cultures converge quite like the Short North,” he said. “On top of that, it’s evolving at such an aggressive clip, there’s this real dynamic tension. I’ve always found that tension breeds creativity, and what that creative energy could potentially yield is exciting.”
KILN is located at 988 N. High St. For store hours and more information, click here.