There are many places to shop local in Phoenix, but the idea behind Local Nomad – a new boutique set in the revamped Uptown Plaza – offers shoppers the ability to buy handmade apparel, accessories, and décor from around the world.
Owned by Lauren Danuser, Local Nomad opened on October 11. Danuser moved to central Phoenix this past June, and her husband is from the Valley. Given her fashion background, it's almost inevitable that Danuser would open her own shop.
Born in St. Louis, Danuser majored in fashion at Indiana University, and went on to work as a buyer for Gap Inc. in San Francisco. Eventually, she moved on from Gap to manage a Bay Area boutique, often going on buying trips with the owner. Through those jobs, Danuser frequently visited New York, Seattle, Portland, Austin, and Los Angeles – all of which, she says, have “such incredible creative communities.” Her travels have also taken her to Copenhagen, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, and other major cities.
Above all, Danuser’s time with the San Francisco boutique validated her desire to own her own shop. That's when she began formulating the idea for Local Nomad. “I knew I wanted to carry handcrafted goods,” she says, adding that she wanted to sell items with a story behind them.
It's no surprise then that Local Nomad’s inventory includes leather bags from Kenya, hand-knitted baby toys from Peru, and Sweden’s colorful Kanken backpacks, all presented in the clean, contemporary 1,100-square-foot space. Being surrounded by so many community-centered boutiques at Central Avenue and Camelback Road (such as Frances and For the People), Danuser says she wanted to put a different spin on shopping local by featuring local makers from different cities around the country.
“I want anyone who walks into the shop to have a sense of discovery,” she says.
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Not being from Arizona, Danuser says it didn’t feel right to carry all Phoenix or otherwise location-based goods, though she does carry items from a few Arizona vendors, including Her Name Is Mud, Bright Star & Buffalo, and Juniper Ridge.
Now that Local Nomad has joined forces with the many nearby shops and restaurants during what Danuser says is an exciting time for Uptown, she wants to help shoppers and residents see the area as a retail hub.
“It's been so great to get to know some of the local shop owners,” she says, "I’m honored to be a part of this new history ... the second coming of Uptown Plaza.”