13 Small Brands We Can’t Wait to See More of in 2020
There’s a revolution happening in the kitchen. And no, we aren’t just talking about the secret to better baked potatoes! A new wave of stylish indie brands are on the rise, and they’re changing the way we cook and eat for the better. While it’s hard to beat the convenience of shopping at big-box stores, where you’re guaranteed low prices, plenty of options, and fewer surprises once the box is opened, there’s something genuinely special about finding a smaller, under-the-radar brand with a compelling backstory and a quality product. The fact that these thoughtfully designed pieces look pretty darn good while doing their job really well doesn’t hurt, either. Below, we’ve rounded up just a few of the many small brands we’re most excited to see more of in 2020. There are plenty that aren’t featured here, so let us know your favorites in the comments!
The startup entered the market in 2018 offering a single product: an elegant 5.5-qt. Dutch Oven that costs just $110 (a steal compared to brands like Le Creuset and Staub, who charge upward of $300). We tested Milo’s Dutch oven for ourselves and found that the premium enameled cast iron cookware works just as well as its more expensive counterparts — in fact, the pot landed on pretty much every Kitchn editor’s holiday gift wish list. Aside from the Dutch oven that put them on the map, Milo also sells a mini Dutch oven ($75) and a skillet (currently sold out). Here’s hoping that 2020 sees them restocking the skillet, making the Dutch oven available in more colors (right now they only have green), and adding more cookware pieces to their collection!
2. Made In
Fun fact about Made In: The direct-to-consumer brand sources its metal from Kentucky and Pennsylvania, its non-stick coating from Illinois, and the cookware is crafted in a third-generation, family-owned factory in the South. Beyond All Clad-quality stainless steel cookware sets, Made In also makes knives, nonstick pans, carbon steel pans, and more. Right now, they’re currently offering a limited-time promotion on their cookware sets, including the one our Assistant Food Editor, Meghan, is obsessed with.
Our Editor-in-Chief, Faith, loves this cookware brand that creates nonstick ceramic pieces in gorgeous colors like Perracotta, Sage, Cream, Navy, and Gray. The eco-friendly pots and pans are made without harmful chemicals and perform exceptionally well. “They are heavy and heat evenly, and the nonstick performance is somewhere between a true nonstick skillet and a regular pan,” says Faith, who tested the cookware. Currently, Caraway only offers a set that includes a 10.5-inch fry pan, 3-qt. saucepan with lid, 6.5-qt. Dutch oven with lid, 4.5-qt. saute pan with lid, magnetic pan racks, plus a convenient canvas lid holder with hooks. In the new year, we’d love to see some of the pieces sold individually, like the Dutch oven or even the frying pan.
Brandless launched in 2017 with a crazy, radical concept: Greener, cleaner products without the jazzy brand names, costing just $3. Since then, the brand has increased prices a bit, but their commitment to selling everything from organic to non-GMO to fair-trade items is still going strong. Whether you’re looking for personal care items, kitchen essentials, luggage, a blender, or even cookware and bakeware, they have it all. While it’s easy to assume that low prices mean poor quality, we can attest that Brandless’ stuff is legit good. They recently started stocking smaller, indie brands like W&P Porter (see more about them below), with plans to expand in the coming months.
It’s no secret we love our caffeine kick, whether it comes in the form of a cup of tea or a mug of coffee. Fellow’s minimally designed roster of products was created with the intention of helping us master that perfect brew, while still saving us time and space in the kitchen. Besides the Perfect Tea Pot (with a built-in thermometer and strainer!) that we tested and loved, the brand also has electric kettles, vacuum canisters, double-wall tasting filters, portable mugs, espresso cups, Aeropress attachments, and even filter papers. As for 2020, here’s hoping they keep adding thoughtfully created products that brighten up our favorite morning routine.
6. East Fork
Born and nurtured in Asheville, North Carolina, this ceramics company has been around for 10 years, but in 2019, they saw a major boost in both their customer base and operations, including moving their headquarters to a much larger space. While East Fork is known for their kitchen and tabletop goods, it’s their best-selling mug (known simply as The Mug) that has helped them snag cult status. With the company poised to grow in every way this year, we’re excited for new products and our favorites coming back (and staying!) in stock.
Chopping boards are exciting — said no one ever! But maybe they just haven’t met Material’s super-popular reBoard, which not one, but two(!) Kitchn editors are obsessed with. Other than the super eco-friendly chopping board, Material also sells a range of tasteful (and beautiful) knives, copper-infused cookware, and tools — basically, all the essentials you need to keep meal prep breezy. Although the brand’s philosophy is less is more when it comes to kitchen tools, we’d love to see them add a few appliances to their minimalist collection in 2020.
8. Great Jones Goods
When a food editor and product manager combine their expertise to launch a direct-to-consumer kitchen brand, you know it’s going to be worth watching out for. Great Jones marries cool, youthful design with high-quality materials at a very affordable price point — the winning recipe for new-age millennial brands! Aside from the their most popular product, The Duchess — an oval, 6 3/4-quart enameled cast iron grand dame — Great Jones also has a skillet, stockpot, saucepan, and lids. They recently added a bright blue sheet pan to the mix, and we’re definitely not complaining. More, please!
Our Lifestyle Director, Lisa, called it the holiday gift of the year for two years straight, and for good reason. The game-changing Ember mugs eliminate the hassle of constantly reheating your beverage, allowing you to enjoy it piping hot even an hour (or two!) later. Although the brand launched the original Ember mug in 2016, it recently released a re-engineered sequel — Ember Travel Mug2 and Ember Mug2 — with a battery that lasts up to 50 percent longer than the original version. In 2020, we’re hoping they add a few new colors to their existing roster of black, white, and copper — perhaps a millennial pink?
10. Year & Day
When Year & Day launched in 2017, the goal was to disrupt the dishware industry with a highly curated offering of minimalist, quality dishes, glasses, and flatware that are also affordable. Don’t be fooled by their simplistic look. The ceramic pieces are made in Portugal and boast a semi-matte glaze, adding to their perfectly Instagrammable aesthetic. They blur the line between “good dishes” and “everyday dishes,” encouraging you to bust them out whether you’re entertaining or just tucking into a homemade meal. Currently, the brand has our tabletops covered, but it wouldn’t hurt to see them delve into cookware in the new year.
Ever thought silicone storage baggies could go viral? Stasher’s iconic resealable, reuseable, non-toxic pouches entered the market as an eco-friendly (and stylish) alternative to single-use plastic bags. But they do more than stash your snacks. They can be used for marinating, sous vide cooking, storing leftovers, carrying toiletries, and so much more! Plus they’re dishwasher and microwave friendly. In recent years, the brand has upped their inventory to include various sizes, fun colors, and practical shapes like the stand-up version that’s a great space-saving alternative for cabinet storage. In 2020, we’re excited to see what the brand has up their silicone (hah!) sleeve. Maybe bags with fun prints or the option to monogram them?
Fact: Stainless steel water bottles and portable mugs are heavy, especially for those of us constantly on the go. So when a group of New York City dads created a portable solution that collapses for easy storage when empty, we had to sit up and take notice. To say that STOJO’s silicone mugs and bottles are lightweight and easily portable is an understatement. Plus, they come in candy colorways that make us want to stock up on the entire range stat (one to match every outfit!). Since launching the collapsible travel cup, the brand has added various size options, as well as the collapsible STOJO bottle. Looking ahead to 2020, we’d love to see collapsible food storage solutions in the signature STOJO style.
13. W&P Design
W&P is another brand upending the food storage landscape with their Instagram-ready ceramic and plastic bowls, elegant water bottles, portable mugs, and storage bowls. Made using materials like protective matte silicone, BPA-free plastic, wood, glass, and ceramic in pretty pastel tones, W&P’s products are thoughtfully designed and feel more like a piece of decor rather than a storage solution. Their entire collection is fantastic, but we’re particularly loving the stylish new terrazzo finish that will be launching soon. We’ll take more of this, please!