Centuries of Lowcountry living have produced countless tools of the trade. And while the tools and the trade have certainly evolved over the years — from the Antebellum days of plantation-based society, to the days of booming port business, to the tourism of today — the general goods and services of the Lowcountry have always been rooted to their Coastal Carolina origins. Today, with the “shop local” renaissance, Charleston finds itself in a healthy position, with no shortage of hyper local specialty shops and staples unique to its corner of the world. Here are RootsRated’s favorite tried and true local companies that capture the heart and soul of Charleston craft.
1. Free Fly Apparel
Free Fly is a Charleston based company that specializes in technical fishing apparel. Their products are made from a highly breathable, specialty bamboo fabric, and are great for any outdoor activity. Head out to Folly Beach, and you’ll see surfers, paddlers, fishermen, and runners all sporting their Free Fly gear.
2. Bulls Bay Salt Works
The team over at Bulls Bay Saltworks has taken an everyday necessity to the next level. Salt is important here — it’s in the air, it’s in our food, and it’s in our blood. Offering five variations of handmade sea salt, Bulls Bay Saltworks has you covered when it comes to keeping your kitchen local — right down to the seasoning. Made from the ocean water in nearby Bulls Bay, this is pure South Carolina sea salt at its finest. And their Carolina Margarita Salt will make you think the margarita was invented here.
3. Jack Rudy Cocktail Company
Charlestonians have an eye for detail. And they’re even more critical when it comes to the things they value most. The art of creating the perfect cocktail is taken very seriously here, and Jack Rudy Cocktail Company produces the best tonic, grenadine, and bitters to be found anywhere in the Southeast. Even though their products are made in small batches, you’ll probably be consuming them in large batches.
4. Williams Knife Co.
Those of you who filet fish, shuck oysters, or chop collards on a regular basis appreciate the value of a good knife. Williams Knife Co.’s handmade tools are made to stand the test of time, and will never fail to pry open an oyster or field dress a deer with minimal effort. These products stem from necessity, as well as a belief that once you buy a tool, you should never have to buy it again. Their shop on Johns island is known to all, and revered as the facilitators of the lowcountry lifestyle.
Rewined is a candle company located in downtown Charleston. Their products are made from recycled wine bottles (hence the name), and they have quickly become a favorite among locals since their beginning in 2009. Although Rewined is a young company, they practice the age old methods of innovation and craftsmanship used to create genuine Lowcountry products, and it shows in their work.
For the most part, products created in or around Charleston reflect what life has been like here since the city’s birth. Knives, candles, and salt — simple, yet timeless products that tell a much older and more compelling story about craftsmanship and the environs that shape it. Whether you’re searching for your next bit of camping equipment or looking for an excellent gift to give a loved one this holiday season, you don’t have to go far. Charleston’s got you covered… it always has.