Local Gems is a passion project for designer and South Dakota native, Andrew Brynjulson

Local Gems started as a way for Andrew to reacquaint himself with his home state after moving away and then back again.
But more than anything, Local Gems is an excuse for people to represent the Dakotas and wear their state pride across their chests.

Photography by Ajla Sundstrom and Wes Eisenhauer.



The Long Version

I was born in South Dakota.

I grew up in South Dakota, went to school in South Dakota, graduated college in South Dakota. I met my wife, had a child, and put down roots in South Dakota. 

Growing up I frequently told people I could see myself staying in South Dakota forever.

Then I left.

I went to Minneapolis, MN and loved it. The people, the food, the music, the lakes, the creativity. The sense of community pride and the investment in "place" opened my eyes.

So when my wife and I moved back to Sioux Falls, SD five years later, it was understandably a culture shock. We missed our friends, our parks, our shops, our breweries, and restaurants.

But when I looked closer at my home town, I realized it had changed.

It had grown up and started accumulating the kind of cultural assets I'd become accustomed to in "the big city." I started calling them our "local gems." For me, Local Gems were those banner carriers for the city that could stand up to any comparison. They were restaurants, shops, venues, events and people. The things I would brag about to my friends in Minneapolis if they came to visit. They were already here. I was just late to notice.

So, this is my way of noticing. The Local Gems brand is my way of leaning in and participating in the civic pride. Designing things to elevate my home state is a growing obsession. I hope everyone will continue to celebrate with me.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United State of Dakota.