Darling Austin handmade gift shop crafts first San Antonio location on East Side
For Son of a Sailor owners William and Jessica Knopp, it all started with a meet-cute. While Jessica was living in San Francisco, William came to visit, and soon they found themselves at a crafts thrift store on their first date. For the next 10 months of their long-distance courtship, they wooed each other with art packages and custom-designed mix tapes.
Then, life threw them for a loop.
Jessica moved back to Texas to continue the romance but hadn’t yet found a job. Meanwhile, William was forced into worker’s comp by an injury. With tons of free time, they made jewelry together, the seeds of an Etsy business.
“We did everything backwards,” jokes Jessica. “We bought a house, started a business, then got engaged and married.”
A year and a half after becoming darlings of the handmade site, they opened a brick-and-mortar in East Austin studio space, Canopy. A few years later, life took them to San Marcos, where they opened another store. Though the couple is still running the Austin shop, they have since settled in San Antonio — moving production and opening a storefront at 904 Nolan St. in Dignowity Hill.
The chic gift shop is stocked with collaborative home goods produced with other makers, like copper barware and a ceramic mezcal set. The gaps are filled in by objects and prints from local artists and small indie brands, curated by innate generosity.
“Billy is so good at giving gifts,” explains Jessica of the selection process.
Highlights of the selection include ceramic snakes from Portland, Oregon brand Carter & Rose, textile paintings from Austin’s Danielle Ivester, and continuous line drawings from local artist Alexa Wilson (aka Mazed). Plants and textiles line the space, along with rows of cheeky greeting cards.
And, of course, there are Son of a Sailor's handmade jewelry and leather goods, including hand-painted leather and metal keychains, delicate beaded bracelets, and elegant necklaces sporting fractured gemstones, bronze pendants, or pearl drops. Lately, the couple has been incorporating more color.
“Coming back to San Antonio, we’ve re-embraced the bold, colorful aspects of our designs life from our first years in business. It’s a retrun to our roots in a way,” says Jessica.
Soon to be added will be permanent jewelry, bracelets welded painlessly on the wearer. The line will debut at an in-store launch party on July 29, noon-3 pm featuring cocktails crafted by William, a Richter Goods pop-up, live chain stitching from Lunchroom Anxiety, and a photo booth.
The couple will also share their skills on August 10 from 5-7 pm during a free leather workshop. The Knopps envision Son of a Sailor as a community space.
“We’re really excited to see the neighborhood start to have engaged local businesses,” explains Jessica. “In a day when you can buy anything on Amazon, we hope to be the store where you can come and chat.”