Browsing Category

Shop Tours

Arts + Crafts, Shop Tours, Travel

Meet Milchmaedchen Design

September 2, 2008

Happy September everyone! I promised on Friday when I wrote about My Hamburg Trip that I’d show you a store that I particularly enjoyed there called Milchmaedchen. This pretty shop is owned by Irina Hultzsch, who moved to Hamburg one year ago and opened Milchmaedchen in November 2007. Previously she had her atelier/gallery in Munich. Irina is an architect with five years of working experience including a few months focusing on interiors in NYC. Her Hamburg shop features the work of independent artists based mostly in Europe and America like The Black Apple, Lisa Stickley, Katrin Mueller bears, feinedinge (I purchased these), The O Dor (lovely tea from France in beautiful tins) and some of her own designs featuring Milk Maid illustrations stitched onto felt wallets and cotton bags.

Meet Milchmaedchen Design

When I asked her why she opened a shop she said, “The impulse was to create a platform for young designers and artists who are working in ateliers hidden from their potential customers. I have been traveling a lot – so while discovering new cities there’s always a chance to get in contact with creative people.” Irina also told me that Milchm?dchen Design (the shop) is the connector in real life in addition to the possibilities of the internet (for instance her website and blog).

Meet Milchmaedchen Design
Meet Milchmaedchen Design
Meet Milchmaedchen Design
Meet Milchmaedchen Design
Meet Milchmaedchen Design
Meet Milchmaedchen Design
Meet Milchmaedchen Design

Speaking of connecting people via the web, if you are interested in contacting Irina to potentially offer your products in her Hamburg shop, you may contact her via email at shop(at)milchmaedchen-design.de. She requests that if you would like to sell your products there you should enclose some photos and tell her about your work and professional background. Don’t forget to include your website or blog if you have one.

Meet Milchmaedchen Design
Meet Milchmaedchen Design
Meet Milchmaedchen Design
Meet Milchmaedchen Design
Meet Milchmaedchen Design
Meet Milchmaedchen Design

Travel Tip: Like many of us, Irina is a foodie and has some dining out suggestions in case you’d like to visit Hamburg in the near future. She’s a fan of Bistrot Vienna (delicious and cozy) on. Fettstr. 2, Rocco (Trattoria, great Italian food) located at Wohlwillstr. 29, and An Khang (Vietnamese Restaurant) at Hoheluftchaussee 86 (sorry no website).

Hope you enjoyed visiting this lovely shop today! Thank you Irina for having me!

(photographs taken by Holly Becker for decor8)

Shop Tours, Shopping + Products, Small Business

Lucky Shops

August 1, 2008

Obviously I’m a girl who loves a good retail experience. I mean, just look at this roundup of shops both domestic and international. It’s a bit obsessive I know. I think that as much as I love the online world, walking into a beautifully arranged store can be a tad bit more satisfying than the virtual shopping experience. This sounds funny coming out of my mouth as 80% of everything I purchase now is online and I author a blog with most items I write about being solely available on the web. I must admit that I find online shopping more convenient though (for the most part) and usually I find fun perks like discounts or free shipping. I’m divided on this one. I love my retail shopping trips but online stores have a lot to offer a girl like me who isn’t based in the heart of a big city.

Lucky ShopsOoga Booga in LA.

What about you? Do you shop online more than in-store or vice versa (or equally)? What are the benefits of each?

Have you noticed the City Guide section over on the Lucky magazine website? It’s brilliant. My shops section once lived in the right column of this blog and was called City Guide too. Now it’s called Shops and is located directly above this post (yellow tab). I love how Lucky editors hand pick stores from all over the world (mostly fashion and accessories – no home decor but still) and feature a boutique of the week complete with a photo of the owner.

I’ve dreamed of doing this for decor8 when it comes to home design and gift boutiques and I have store tours on the blog from time to time… It would be wonderful to somehow make this a regular feature here but I’m still trying to figure out how and if shops would participate. I’ve had store tours on decor8 since February 2006 but I’d like to step it up a notch and turn it into a more regular feature.

As a reader, are you interested in this?

Especially now since the economy here has taken a hit and people are shopping less frequently, I want to help these shops ride the tide through this period until things change. I’m seeing more and more little stores closing up shop, on the web and in local towns, and it saddens me because not only is the dream of one little store owner over, but what about all those who once had products there? While I’m not encouraging debt or shopping for the sake of buying, I am encouraging everyone to consider how they are spending their money and if quality can start to replace quantity a little more often… Buy one item that you really love for $50 from a small boutique instead of 5 items for $10 each that you merely like from a major retailer. Less stuff, more of what you love, that’s the way to go in this economy but really it’s a good rule of thumb to follow no matter how strong (or not) the local economy is. Wouldn’t you rather have a few good friends than ten that you can’t depend on? Same goes when you shop. And of course, inexpensive things can be of good quality, just because something expensive has a shocking price tag does not make it better. I have a table lamp that I spent $375 on. I also have one that I spent $100 on and another I won on eBay for $30. Do you know that the best of three lamps in terms of quality is the $30 one? The pricey version looks pretty but that’s about it, I’ve already had problems with the socket cup and the harp snapped off!

When it comes to stores, I’d love a photo of the owner, a mini interview, and of course photos of their boutique so we can see all of the goodness. Of course, they’d need to have a website. And I’d like to take it a layer deeper and get insider’s tips on display ideas, how items are sourced, and why the business was started in the first place.

Lucky ShopsMaeve Riley boutique in San Diego.

So I’m putting the idea out there to see if any store owners are reading and if so, would you like to be featured here on decor8? I can develop a special section dedicated to shop owners that would look somewhat like how I’ve organized Faves. Below each image I’d list the shop name and city.

If you are a shop owner and are interested in participating, please contact me using this form. Depending on how many submissions I get and of course, the quality of the images sent, I may try to run one at least once every few weeks. Image quality is the most important to me and of course, the store needs to carry items for the home and/or gifts (no kids, fashion, art galleries, jewelry). So if you’d like to share your shop, no matter where you are located in the word, click here and tell me more. Those who have brick and mortar locations who are also online are preferred but those without will still be considered.

Readers: To view past store tours featured on decor8 click here.

If you have a moment today please visit the Lucky City Guides for a wonderful fashion fix and don’t miss their Boutique of the Week. Great stuff over there.

(images from lucky magazine)

Shop Tours, Shopping + Products, Travel

Cabin Fever {Salem, MA}

July 11, 2008

I recently came across a new local shop called Cabin Fever and talked to owner Roberta O?Connor who sells mid-century modern furniture and accessories just north of Boston in her historic Salem, MA. She sent over a mini store tour for us since her website is still under construction (it currently only lists general information).

Cabin Fever {Salem, MA}
What makes Cabin Fever so unique? All of their vintage furniture is imported from Brazil! Now there’s a twist for ya! Why Brazil? O?Connor loves the Jacaranda Rosewood and Honey Caviuna woods and hand selects each piece for Cabin Fever. As a native of Brazil, her appreciation for rich, tropical wood runs deep and she thinks that it only enhances the beauty of mid-century lines and that because Americans are just starting to discover the wealth of Brazilian furniture and architecture from the 50?s and 60?s that Cabin Fever is the perfect place to showcase some of it.

Brazilian designers like Sergio Rodrigues, Giuseppe Scapinelli, Novo Rumo and Branco e Preto are all represented in the collection. “These designers are starting to gain renown in the United States, just as Eames, Saarinen and Jacobsen have represented mid-century modern design,? O?Connor says.

Cabin Fever {Salem, MA}Cabin Fever {Salem, MA}Cabin Fever {Salem, MA}Cabin Fever {Salem, MA}
In addition to Brazilian finds, Cabin Fever also carries DwellStudio, Jonathan Adler, Perch, Thomaspaul, and Publique Living to name a few. Local artists will also have a chance to sell their wares as handmade prints and accessories will soon be offered.

Congratulations on your new store, Roberta! And Boston locals — Why not take a trip up to Salem this weekend?

(images from cabin fever)

Shop Tours

Sanctuary {Austin}

July 7, 2008

I was so pleased when Hanna Curran from Sanctuary in Austin, Texas wrote to me over the weekend. Sanctuary is a new boutique dedicated to timeless, beautiful, and unique gifts — mostly collected from emerging designers from around the world. Hanna believes in the beauty of simplicity and that objects should be indulgent, functional and affordable.

Sanctuary {Austin}
One very encouraging point Hanna made was when she mentioned how many of her ideas for Sanctuary came from reading decor8. It’s always so exciting to hear from readers and to learn about the projects that you are working on that involve doing what you love. I receive so many emails from readers who have either set up shop, started their own blog, left a job that they hated to pursue their own business… All of these goals take guts to set and achieve but you are all making it happen on a constant basis! I can’t help but feel proud of each one of you and how we come together through blogs to help motivate one another to action.

Sanctuary {Austin}Sanctuary {Austin}Sanctuary {Austin}Sanctuary {Austin}Sanctuary {Austin}
All of the blogs out there in our great community help to contribute to the progress people are making as they work towards their dreams. And not all these dreams include shop ownership, some write in showing a chair they’ve reupholstered or an art wall they’ve created using prints discovered on their favorite blogs. It makes my day to read emails like this, that’s why I try to share what readers are doing from time to time, such as Hanna’s new shop in Austin. Congratulations Hanna on your gorgeous new store!

(images from sanctuary)

Objects, Shop Tours, Shopping + Products, Travel

NEW! Henry Road Store in LA {and 20% off}

May 2, 2008

A new Henry Road store! Wow, what GREAT news for Paula Smail, Henry Road, and all of her loyal fans! Paula just opened and will celebrate the grand opening this weekend. How great is this? Not only does it provide a home for her collection but also gives her a chance to showcase her collection of custom one-of-a-kind lampshades, upholstered furniture and to offer an eclectic selection of home and gift wares that she’s currently loving. She sent over some photos for decor8 readers to enjoy and wanted to let us know that she is offering a 20% off promotion on her website (enter coupon code: STORE at checkout) so everyone can join in the celebration whether based in lovely Los Angeles or not.

NEW! Henry Road Store in LA {and 20% off}

NEW! Henry Road Store in LA {and 20% off} How fetching is this blue storefront, am I right?

NEW! Henry Road Store in LA {and 20% off}

NEW! Henry Road Store in LA {and 20% off} Art shown by Michelle Caplan, lamp by Paula Smail.

The Grand Opening is May 3 and 4 and, “We’re celebrating all weekend with a ‘Mad Tea Party’ catered by our friend Lisa, from Cake Monkey.” Location: 3949 Laurelgrove Ave, Studio City, CA 91604 (South of Ventura, 2 blocks west of Laurel Canyon).

Thanks, Paula for the BIG NEWS. We are so proud to see yet another independent small business making some major progress. Congrats!

(images from henry road)

Interviews, Shop Tours, Small Business, Travel

Meet Moss {Shop Tour}

February 11, 2008

I recently came in contact with a lovely store called Moss located in Savannah, Georgia (and now online). Owned by Colin Brotherton and managed by Ryan Meashaw, the home design store opened in 2007 carrying unique gifts and accessories, “style inspired by nature” as Ryan calls it. The store was opened for the same reason most shop owners agree to take on such a huge responsibility, because he wanted to share his vision of what stylish design with a natural touch looks like. “I love the contrast of a formal Chinoiserie bureau juxtaposed with a rustic driftwood framed mirror or vintage taxidermy,” Colin says. He buys what he likes, putting his heart and soul into Moss with every purchase. I had a chance to ask this creative business owner a few questions about shop ownership for all those out there who have entertained the thought of opening the doors to your very own storefront.

Meet Moss {Shop Tour}
decor8: Hi Colin! My first questions is in regards to your store name. How did you decide upon Moss?

Colin: Moss came about because we wanted a one-word memorable name that was modern yet organic and natural at the same time. Plus it seemed appropriate with the Spanish Moss that can be found all over Savannah.

decor8: Everyone thinks of shop ownership as this magical dream they’d love to be a part of. In reality, it can be much different and often very challenging. What are some of the obstacles you’ve faced and how do you handle them?

Colin: Understanding cash flow can be a big obstacle. It takes being focused to overcome this problem. Figuring out the flow of business is challenging. Our economy is so up and down that it can be difficult to stay on top of this issue. And it can also be a challenge to narrow down all the incredible choice in cool products that flood the market. But of course this is also the fun part!

Meet Moss {Shop Tour}
decor8: What do you love about owning a shop?

Colin: That it allows me to discover new items and share my unique perspective with others. We really strive to make design simple and affordable for everyone. And you know, Mother Nature is one of the most stylish woman around!

decor8: How do you source the products that you carry?

Colin: I travel to NYC twice a year and also the Highpoint furniture market. In addition we are constantly on the lookout for new and innovative products that we may come across – be it online, in magazines, etc. I love searching the shows for cool things. It’s a lot harder then people might think pouring through literally thousands of items, picking out the few jewels that I know will shine bright at Moss. I also scour design blogs for unique and unusual items. I love finding designers and artists out there who are just starting out and have a unique perspective.

Meet Moss {Shop Tour}
decor8: I’m happy to know that design blogs are helpful to you, that’s great. What about the other way around, if someone wants to approach you about carrying their line…

Colin: We love when artists seek us out. We are of course available by email. Including good images of your work is more likely to get you noticed.

decor8: I can’t stress the value of good images, you are so right! Another question about your store, how do you let people know you exist?

Colin: We are fortunate to have some great local magazines to work with as far as marketing goes. Also, the internet is great for us to reach out to new customers and those returning. Savannah is an amazing place with around 7 million tourists a year gracing her moss-draped streets. We find that word of mouth and of course location, location, location! are great tools. I also want to mention that a fair number of our business is from tourists who return home after just a few days in our fair city. These customers began requesting an online storefront where they could buy our items from home. After an overwhelming response we have come to the realization that there is a larger market we can reach through e-commerce so we opened a store online just a few weeks ago on January 30th.

Meet Moss {Shop Tour}
decor8: That’s great, congratulations! Now let’s talk profit. Is it true that as a shop owner you don’t see real earnings until after the first year in business?

Colin: They say it can take a few years before you start earning a profit from most businesses. And I think this can very much be the case. But we have been fortunate in our first year and have really seemed to find our niche because we are already seeing a profit on our hard work.

decor8: You must know your market very well there in Savannah! Can you tell us more about your frequent shoppers and what are some of the most popular lines?

Colin: Our average customer is definitely a woman, between about 20-70 years of age. She is educated, savvy, stylish and sometimes a bit alternative. She appreciates the classics but also loves to discover something that is different. As for lines, it’s hard to pinpoint specific best-selling brands, but we do sell an awful lot of bath and body products. People really seem to like a good bar of soap! We do very well with our French soaps. Another popular type of item are cards and stationery. We carry brands like Jonathan Wright, Cavallini and Saturn Press. The life-like animals of Hansa have proved surprisingly popular.

Meet Moss {Shop Tour}Meet Moss {Shop Tour}Meet Moss {Shop Tour}
decor8: Are other small business owners in your area supportive and how so?

Colin: Yes, the local businesses have been very supportive. They have shared information on being successful in Savannah, the flow of tourism, the high season vs. the low season, etc. Savannah takes some adapting to get used to. And we have thankfully had some help with that.

decor8: Thank you Colin for telling us a little about your store, sharing some insight, and of course we appreciate the photos and the mentioning of your new online shop. Thank you again for meeting up with me here on the web today. We wish you tons of continued success!

Readers: If you have any questions to add to this interview please jump in and ask Colin by commenting below.

(images from moss)

Top