Meet the Makers 23

Made right here in and around Del Mar are some of the most exquisite and decadently crafted products that many are unaware of. Aren’t we lucky to have a community that boasts craftsmanship and talent that makes our city proud? Here are a few of our local artisans, and businesses close to home. Some you may recognize and some we hope you will go on to support. Kudos to these creators, and many more!

Sweetly indulgent…

The Baked Bear

Childhood friends and founders Rob Robbins and Shane Stanger are San Diego natives who always had a dream of starting a restaurant together. Both went to school at Torrey Pines High. In late 2012, they decided to drop their respective careers in different cities and come home to pursue their dream. The Baked Bear was born! Their craft homemade ice cream is creamy and rich, made with the highest quality ingredients. We are talking customized ice cream sandwiches with any of the 10 cookies, brownies or donuts for the top and bottom and then one of 12 Baked Bear ice cream flavors sandwiched perfectly in between. TheBakedBear.com

On crowning glory…

Del Mar Hat Co.

A internationally recognized and award winning hat designer (milliner), Carol Bader founded the very popular Del Mar Hat Co. 21 years ago. Her retail location includes her treasured couture “by appointment” studio area located in Del Mar Plaza. Bader has clients from around the U.S. for her couture hats for special racing venues, like Royal Ascot, Kentucky Derby, and, of course, Opening Day at Del Mar, along with other special occasions. Beyond hats, Bader also creates accessories for men and women, and has launched several brand extensions including Equus.style, celebrating the equestrian life in many mediums. DelMarHat.com

For the love of dogs…

DeeDogDelectables

Kristine Kruseski is a San Diego native and resident of Del Mar since 1977. DeeDogDelectables began in November 2013 when she found her favorite brand of store-bought jerky strips were toxic. Her first batch was made that afternoon and her dogs, CoDee and JoDee, went nuts! On her daily dog walk, Kruseski passed out several pounds of jerky samples to dog lovers everywhere in Del Mar asking for feedback and got rave reviews. Her USP – the jerky is made to order, premium meats are used, hand sliced and, in some cases, pounded, then laid out on racks for several hours of slow oven roasting. DeeDogDelectables.com  

Global inspiration, rooted here…

Dark Horse Jewelry

Dark Horse Designs is a new venture by retail entrepreneur Irina Rachow, owner of fashion and travel boutique Fairen Del. An avid traveler and non-stop creator, Rachow decided it was time to not just collaborate on collections with other designers but also design a line all her own after successfully running three retail stores. Dark Horse offers limited runs in artisan-enhanced apparel, handmade luxury throws and an ever-growing jewelry design line featuring five distinct collections, each fashioned after the local community. Each jewelry style is extremely limited, running no more than three or four per style, so they are unique and special. FairenDel.com

Spice that’s all nice…

Ghost Scream Hot Sauce

Featuring the ghost pepper as one of its ingredients, Ghost Scream is owned and operated by chef Matthew Sisson and his wife Deandra. Together, with his culinary passion and her design skills, they launched the Ghost Scream brand after traveling the world and experiencing many different foods. They both enjoy spicy food and found many ways to enjoy spice and peppers. This led chef Matt to tap into his vast culinary experiences and create these extremely bold, new hot sauces. Four years ago, they founded the Sisson brand of culinary products and services, with Ghost Scream hot sauce being the latest offering. GhostScream.com

Luthier par excellence…

Romero Creations

Pepe Romero, Jr. feels blessed to be able to do what he loves. He grew up immersed in the classical guitar and found his passion in guitar building. Along the way, he fell in love with the ukulele and adapted his classical guitar building to the Hawaiian instrument with great success. “I grew up in a family that lives and breathes the Spanish guitar, a family in love with beautiful, romantic music. Through instrument building, I have been able to translate my love for beautiful tone and now I am able to take it a step further with my own line of strings,” he says. As of Spring 2015, Romero Jr. has made over 245 guitars. Each one is handcrafted and built in the traditional Spanish method. His guitars are in great demand by concert guitarists and collectors worldwide. RomeroCreations.com

A local tradition…

VG Donut & Bakery

Specializing in the old-fashioned style of baking, and owned and operated by the Mettee family since 1969, VG, or “Very Good” if you were wondering, is now a thriving third generation business. Owners Joe and Becky Mettee are true locals. Joe, born and raised in Cardiff, started working at the donut shop as a teenager, when his parents Jim and Betty Mettee owned the business. Joe and Becky met at VG when they were teenagers, after Becky got an after school job at the local donut shop. They married and raised four children in the business. Their youngest daughter Megan continues to work side by side with her parents. They take pride in using only top quality ingredients to ensure top quality products. The quick moving line that extends out the doors daily is proof that VG is more than a bakery, it’s an institution filled with familiar faces. VGBakery.com

Suiting up in style…

Matuse

Browsing online one day, Matuse CEO John V. Campbell came across the Yamamoto Corporation in Japan. They made Geoprene: a titanium-coated, limestone-based rubber that was not only a functionally superior material but also more sustainable and kinder to Mother Nature. He contacted Yamamoto’s CEO for a meeting. An eight-slide PowerPoint presentation and a mission to become Yamamoto’s “ambassador of Ichiban” resulted in Yamamoto-san green lighting the path. Campbell has his business partner, Matt Larson, to thank for the name of the business. Looking for a name association with a certain way of thinking and approaching design while creating a cross-cultural brand that can appeal to a broader global audience, Larson’s alias Matuse became the obvious choice. The name is now synonymous with the best, functional, solution-specific innovations in apparel design. Matuse.com

Riding the wave…

Encinitas Surfboards

After 41 years in business and more than 24,000 boards later, John Kies still can’t believe he does this for a living. This, referring to his lifetime’s work of shaping surfboards. Kies began his shaping career in 1965 after surfing a 9’6” Dale Bewoodward board. He cut the fin into a speed shape and realized he could redesign a board for maximum performance. It was in 1969 that Kies found a market for his boards, shaping and glassing out of his parents’ garage. A graduate of San Dieguito High, he used the money he got from selling boards to put himself through college. He worked with Hansen surfboards and Koast surfboards before setting up shop in Encinitas. Kies Custom Shapes has since grown a fiercely loyal following due to Kies’ ability to create the perfect shapes for local surf. EncinitasSurfboards.com