Meet Your Maker

Old City, New Crowd: Austin Dandridge on Charleston's New Wave

December 04,2015

South Carolina
Old City, New Crowd: Austin Dandridge on Charleston's New Wave / Lucie Shelly

Photo courtesy of Cobble Hill

Between stints in Brooklyn, New York, and Sydney, Australia, Austin Dandridge always found himself returning to Charleston, South Carolina. He made the city his permanent home when he founded Cobble Hill, a digital creative agency, in 2012. Outsiders know Charleston as a superlative food destination and a haven for idyllic, coastal southern living. What many people don’t know is that the lush city is also fertile ground for entrepreneurs, young creatives, and emerging brands. Dandridge and the Cobble Hill team work with many of Charleston’s burgeoning businesses, and they’re a big part of the reason why a new scene is flourishing. We caught up with Dandridge to get the inside line on contemporary Charleston.

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Photo courtesy of Cobble Hill

You’ve helped develop brands for local businesses in Charleston and you’re starting to leave a design imprint on the city. What are some of your favorite local projects?

Charleston is a hotbed for young entrepreneurs because of the low barriers to entry. We’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of new businesses and help them bring their idea or concept to fruition. Some of our favorite recent projects have been for The Commons, Leon's Oyster Shop, and Good Coffee.

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Photo courtesy of Cobble Hill

Who are the Charleston-based designers that you’re really excited about?

The young designers are far from beholden to the colonial and heritage aesthetics that a lot of people associate with Charleston, but the city's history is still inspirational. In the fashion sphere, we love Lauren Lail of Library Vintage, and Lindsey Carter of Troubadour. Sidney Wagner does beautiful work with her interior design company, Eclectic, and Ruth Campbell Designs is another favorite of ours. And, of course, there's a growing graphic design scene in Charleston that Cobble Hill is definitely part of, along with the likes of Stitch Design Co. and Fuzzco.

Beyond the exceptional food, shopping and sites, what’s a uniquely Charleston thing to do that most people from out of town don’t know about?

Hampton Park is a 60-acre park on the peninsula near The Citadel (and a block from my house), but a world away from the crowds touring the historic and shopping districts. With a large duck pond, fitness trail, and meticulously maintained gardens and landscaping, it's the perfect afternoon picnic spot. Bring bread for the ducks!

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Photo of Sullivan Island by Kevin Tao

As a Charleston resident, what’s your ideal day trip within the region but outside of the city center? What would you do on that day trip?

We usually spend Saturdays from spring to fall at the beach. With the family, I go to Sullivan's Island. There is a wide beach, the clear water is perfect, and there are some incredible beach bars and lunch spots to stop by on the way home. When not with the family (and the swell is up), I head to Folly Beach to surf with friends, and always pop into Bert's Market for a chicken sandwich before heading home.

What's a new, special nook in Charleston that you really love, and what do you love about it?

The Commons is a great hidden spot on Broad Street featuring American-made home goods. My wife, Carter, loves Celadon, a local home store in Mount Pleasant with coastal decor perfect for a Charleston home.

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Courtesy of Cobble Hill/The Commons

Check out Austin's recommendations for where to eat, drink, shop and more in Charleston here or head over to the full state guide for more makers and travel tips.

Old City, New Crowd: Austin Dandridge on Charleston's New Wave / Lucie Shelly