From The Hands To The Heart

Philomena + Ruth captures the American spirit and passion for handmade in Waterloo, Illinois


IN A TWO-STORY, 100-plus-year-old building in historic downtown Waterloo, Illinois, a new retail space affectionately named Philomena + Ruth aims to bring the spirit of handmade into our everyday lives. The venture is a personal one: Owner Elizabeth Hahn is passionate about building a sustainable family business from the ground up that is home to a wide variety of wares from all over the country by makers just like her.

Hahn is no stranger to the art of the maker. Since 2007, she has developed a successful brand of handmade, boho-inspired accessories (the familiar Just Liv) and is a regular at events with a crafted twist across the Midwest, from Lollapalooza to Hangout Music Fest. 

Hahn and her husband jumped at the chance to purchase the perfect building on Mill Street. It was transformed into a combined retail and studio space on the first level where Hahn’s passion shines through her stock: A bevy of independent brands include Hammerpress out of Kansas City; 1canoe2 from Columbia, Missouri; California-based Bandit Brand, Alfred Lane out of Chicago; and countless local brands from the St. Louis area. Although Waterloo is a bit farther outside the city limits than her last endeavor, Hahn believes the town is well worth the drive: “It’s everything a little town should be,” she says.




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