District Trading Company is an apparel and lifestyle company featuring an original line of graphic t-shirts, custom belts, bags, stationery and so much more; all inspired by the City of Salem, MA and New England's unique style of coastal living.
District Trading Company's mission is to celebrate the unique, creative qualities found in and around amazing communities - "districts" - like Salem and the numerous coastal villages that dot the shores of New England. Why? Because we believe in the power of place and the ability of a place, its culture and character to shape not only who we are, but how we see, interact with, and celebrate the world around us.
For us, that starts with Salem, a community known primarily for the infamous Witch Trials, but which has a history far more varied and rich than most know. And the city and its people have responded to its past to become one of the most creative, open-minded, equality-focused and cosmopolitan small cities around.
Owner, District Trading Company
Hi, I'm Matt Smith (not the actor, haha), the founder, designer and maker of District Trading Company. I started DTC in 2019 as a small, fun "creative outlet" away from my many years as an urban planning consultant, a rewarding profession that in many ways continues to guide much of the inspiration for DTC. I am passionate - one might say slightly obsessed - with the idea of "place" and what makes each one unique.
I have always been a creative. I love to design and make things, particularly things inspired by the world around me. I am drawn to things that are simple, classic and original, made by artists and craftspeople, and especially hand-crafted. I strive to capture these qualities in my designs and the products that me and my team make here at DTC.
I am particularly inspired by the world around me, and that is New England. New England is a unique place - with many places, or as we call them sub-Districts. Despite its cranky reputation, New England is and has always been a place of practical but creative innovation, hard-working folks, and community-centric. Nowhere is that more evident than in our home community of Salem and the North Shore of Massachusetts. And I like to celebrate that spirit.
Originally envisioned as a summer art shack selling hand-printed t-shirts, and using a manual silkscreen printer in my basement, Turns out people actually liked what I was putting out there, and I soon myself leasing a small shop in downtown Salem, then a design and production studio, and took the leap to run DTC full-time in 2021.
% for Arts Education Initiative*
We know that we are beyond fortunate to do what we do. Be creative, and make a living doing so. We believe in the power of the arts, so we donate up to 5% of each sale to local organizations involved in arts education.
Art is increasingly under-appreciated and underfunded, despite numerous studies that highlight its importance not only in the cognitive development of children, but also (for those interested more in how their tax dollars are allocated) in our overall economy. Without funding to educate and support such programs, we all lose.
(Believe it or not, the arts sector contributes more to the U.S. economy than agriculture or our other favorite underfunded cause - transportation. So we asked ourselves, why not do something about it - one small contribution at a time?)
District Trading Company is currently providing funding to the Salem YMCA to support its arts-based educational programs including performance and visual arts. As an gay-owned biusiness, we also support organizations and programs that work with LGBTQIA+ youth such as NAGLY (North Shore Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Youth).
If you have a question or require assistance, please email inquiries to email@example.com.
*Up to 5% of all DTC sales (after processing fees) will be donated to local organizations in Salem and the larger North Shore community to support arts education.