Maptote’s tote bags are the perfect neighborhood bling. How else can you proudly and properly pimp out your ‘hood? My own Queens tote has been to all five boroughs and back as well as various ‘hoods on many continents. I’ve used it to tote groceries, picnic wares and beach going gear. Plus, they’re local (Brooklyn-based) and indie!
Pay attention to Rachel Rheingold and Michael Berick favorite Park Slope spots since they know a thing or two about quality goods and esoteric neighborhood facts.
Name: Rachel Rheingold & Michael Berick
Occupation: Designers and owners of Maptote
Borough/Neighborhood: Park Slope, Brooklyn
Tell us a little about maptote and how you got started: We were inspired after a trip to Europe a few years ago. We collected cotton tote bags in grocery stores from every city we visited. They were reusable grocery bags that made great inexpensive gifts. When we got back we decided we wanted a Brooklyn tote and it all snowballed from there.
Your bags are basic, functional, old world. Tell us about your process (design or otherwise): Michael is a cartographer by trade. Rachel has a background in art and fashion design. Michael usually scours the internet for interesting details as well as esoteric information on the city we’re working on. The best sources for our designs are usually friends or friends of friends who live in the city that we’re working on. They share their local knowledge and help breathe life into our designs. Rachel interjects and plays the role of art director.
What inspired your current project with J.Crew? They asked us! It was a great experience working with their Men’s design team on the Tribeca map for their new Men’s Liquor Store. We like to take a lighthearted, typically tongue-in-cheek perspective on our designs and we were pleasantly surprised that J.Crew also wanted to go that route.
Any upcoming bags or items we should be looking forward to? We will be coming out with lots more products in early Fall – new kinds of totes and other non-tote creations. And denim!
What designers inspire you? Paul Smith, Massimo Vignelli, Paula Scher, Simon Patterson
Favorite music to listen to when creating a bag: Right now… Franco, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, NPR, East Village radio
Favorite place to eat in the neighborhood: Pita Pan
Little known fact about your neighborhood: A plane crashed into Park Slope in the 1960′s and some of the older restaurants and shops in the neighborhood have pictures of the plane smashed into brownstones.
Favorite watering hole: Grotto
Favorite place(s) to shop (clothing, shoes, food, etc.): any flea market and Chinatown (Brooklyn)
Best pizza in your hood: Pino’s
Best coffee in your hood: Bar Toto cappuccinos are amazing
If there was a movie of your life, what neighborhood would grace the opening scene? Rachel – Boca Town Center mall… Michael – suburban San Diego
What is your all time favorite monster and/or horror movie? Michael likes The Shining and Rachel is too scared to watch horror movies.