Before owner/designer Eleni opened her small jewelry store, she sold her designs primarily to department stores. Her work has been featured in Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan Magazines. Necklaces and bracelets made with semi-precious stones strung together by fine wire seem to be her distinctive aesthetic and make great statement pieces for any customer with a need to stand out.
"I found it to be a little boring to just sell jewelry so I tried to mix it up by adding some other items made by friends, " Christina Duarte Veronese revealed when we began our conversation. The shop has beautiful scarves, headbands, t-shirts, and, of course, an array of handmade jewelry designed by Christina herself. Arriving in New York from Rio in 1995, Christina's first job was selling leather products from Brazil. "The owner of my company was making belts for Ralph Lauren and he invited me here because I knew a lot about leather products. " But as she confessed, "I fell in love with metal, and then one thing led to another. "Before opening her boutique in 2011, Christina sold jewelry in flea markets and a variety of shows, but when a friend was giving up her lease on 7th Street, Christina said, on the spot, "I'll take it. " She makes everything in Brooklyn to sell in her East Village shop, and nowadays she finds that there are many customers who come back to her shop every time they are visiting New York. "It is because of them that I am still here. "
We love browsing around this eclectic gift shop whenever we are on 9th. It is clear that Urte Tylaite, the very sweet owner has a keen eye for a clean, minimalist aesthetic and a slant toward natural and organic shapes. Here one can find unique home goods, such as delicate glass-blown vases and ceramics crafted by local and international artists. We are particularly fond, however, of Urte's tasteful selection of jewelry. There is also a small collection of paper goods that includes books, notebooks, prints, and postcards. On one visit to Still House, we were delighted to meet Urte's mom who confirmed for us the careful consideration that her daughter puts into choosing the artists and craftspeople whose work is on display. It is apparent to us that it is "passion, not investment" that makes this store as special as it is.
This cleverly coined thrift store and vintage clothing boutique is named for its owner, Kate Goldwater, and sells women’s apparel, accessories, and jewelry. Kate pays careful attention to every item the shop sells, only bringing in what she “would wear or see someone wearing and think, ‘I like her style. '” She goes on adventures to stock the shop up to three times a week, sometimes road tripping as far as Wisconsin and Virginia to find the best products. She also has suppliers in Los Angeles and Brooklyn. Kate got involved in fashion by making her own clothing when she was young. She eventually turned the hobby into a business, but when she realized the repetitive labor that came with the occupation, she decided to take on consignment instead. While attending New York University, she experienced firsthand that even “cheap” vintage was not in the price range of college students. Now the owner of her own inexpensive “thriftique, ” Kate believes it is ”important that the clothes be affordable. ”When I asked about whether there was any plan for expansion on the horizon, Kate replied that she actually “did expand and did not like it. ” When she opened another location in Brooklyn, she struggled to be as hands-on as she had been with only one shop, and had difficulty stocking each of them to her satisfaction. Having closed the second store, her focus is devoted entirely to this East 7th Street location, which makes her quite happy.
“I make dresses for people who don’t like to buy dresses, and it’s a shop for people who don’t like to shop, ” Kathy Kemp said. Though she insists she was never a terrific seamstress, Kathy has enjoyed design since her childhood days crafting outfits for herself. As an adult, she turned her keen eye to refashioning vintage clothes. Kathy opened ANNA — named for the grandmother who taught her to sew — shortly after moving to New York, where she laid roots in the East Village. Being in the neighborhood in the 1990s was a particularly special time, and she believes the area’s unique spirit remains today. Kathy sources her fabrics from New York’s Garment District, translates them into her own style, and has the final products refined by local seamstresses. “I like comfortable clothing that’s a little bit different but not crazy. ” After stitching up a sample, she will wear it for a few days, judging how the piece feels, how it looks in different lights, how it moves and how people react to it. It is a deeply personal and empathetic creative process. Her intimate connection to her work and her customers forms the business’s strong community. “ANNA is the kind of store you only tell your best friend about. We have a very well-edited group of people who shop here: it’s special people and their special people. ” Just stepping into her cozy, old-fashioned boutique will let visitors experience what Kathy calls “ANNA magic. ”
Trash and Vaudeville is actually two stores – Vaudeville, full of colorful, ornamented clothing pieces, is a more kitsch environment, while Trash “is one of the seminal punk and goth stores of NYC. ” Founded in 1975 by Ray Goodman, Trash and Vaudeville began adorning Rockers, Mods, Punks, Goths, and Rockabillies – “everyday working class heroes who just wanted to walk and dress on the wild side. ” Today, the store continues to cater to a similar audience, dressing rock stars, such as Lady Gaga, counter culturists, as well as the average New Yorker and tourist. Besides the bright colors, feather boas, and rubber dresses, the store’s character is derived from the people working here – most notably, Jimmy Webb. He is the epitome of rock n’ roll and an era gone by - wearing tight pants that hug his body, a leather studded vest, metal bracelets that coil up his arm, and a shag haircut that shields his eyes. Jimmy's tough appearance is marked with the gentlest of souls. He tells us that he loves Iggy Pop, that he wants to be a “little piece of a great big thing happening, ” but most importantly that he loves this store. In fact he is completely devoted to it. As he bops from left to right, Jimmy cannot help but charm every visitor... and he treats each of them with the utmost kindness, whether it be a star who walks in, a music lover, or someone who is simply exploring - like us. While the store is aesthetically memorable, Jimmy makes it much more noteworthy. A few years after our interview with Jimmy, Trash and Vaudeville moved from its longstanding home on St Marks to a location on 7th Street. However, the spirit, punk vibe, and killer style (not to mention Jimmy! ) followed the store. We have left up our photographs of the St. Marks store as an homage to the location that started it all. Can't get enough? See more of our interview with Jimmy here.
The warmly painted walls inside Veselka envelop the room in folky florals and traditional Ukrainian symbols. Hanging from the ceiling are glowing milk glass globes that seem to replace the sun or moon depending on the time of day — and it could be any time at all, as Veselka is open for twenty-four hours, seven days a week, serving a smorgasbord of pierogis, bowls of borscht, and other expertly prepared comfort foods — Ukrainian and otherwise. Wlodymyr Darmochwal planted roots for Veselka when, as one of the founders of the neighborhood Plast organization (akin to the Ukrainian boy scouts, teaching survival skills and Ukrainian language), he was asked to create a weekend study program for the boys. In response, he opened a five-and-dime style counter at the corner of East 9th Street and Second Avenue where the boys could buy paper clips, cigarettes, lighters, and, notably, bowls of borscht and other basic Ukrainian foods. The business expanded into another storefront on East 9th Street a decade later. After Wlodymyr’s passing in 1972, it was taken over by his stepson, Tom Birchard, who was later joined by his son, Jason. Today, having worked at the restaurant since he was a teenager, Jason has “done every single job possible here except cook the borscht. ”When Jason joined the team, one of his first projects was to find out, “How late can we stay open? ” It turns out the answer was “all night. ” As Tom and Jason once again prepare to expand the restaurant into an adjoining storefront on 9th Street, they are eager to continue serving the next generation the kind of traditional Ukrainian food that Wlodymyr would have had at his counter more than sixty years ago.
Shahrzad Ghajar, founder of the gift shop Spooksvilla + friends, takes curation to another level. She meets with each of the artists represented in the store and personally chooses every piece showcased on the walls and shelves. Shahrzad, herself, is a talented artist, and many of her designs are featured in the shop. By focusing on the artists, Spooksvilla ensures that everything for sale - from apparel to wall art - is one-of-a-kind. “We like to be representative of original people doing original things— be it art, products, charms or any other kind of cool item, " said Ethan Velez, manager of Spooksvilla. Despite the fact that multiple artists contribute to Spooksvilla, the store is not a hodgepodge of styles. Rather, the art is united in its bold, whimsical designs. A favorite is the label on the bottle of the rose bath salts - a piece of art in itself. A woman with purple skin and purple hair rides a pink dragon, holding, of course, roses.
Serving an interesting but decadent assortment of coffees, hot cakes, desserts, Japanese tapas, sandwiches, pasta, and more, Hi-Collar functions as many things. In the morning the atmosphere is subdued and relaxed like a coffee shop, as customers come to enjoy “kissaten” – a term to describe Japanese-style coffee shops. The lady we spoke to at Hi-Collar told us their coffee selection is extensive and that there are a variety of beans to choose from. Not only is there the opportunity to select the bean varietal, but one can also choose how the coffee is made as well: pour over, aeropress, or siphon—each method drawing out a distinct flavor. For the non-coffee drinker, there are teas and even a fruit milkshake. As the afternoon wears on and evening approaches, Hi-Collar becomes a bar complete with wine, sake, and beer. Inquiring about the name, we found that Hi-Collar is in fact a term that came to be during the Japanese Jazz Age, when Western culture infiltrated Japan and many men were seen wearing Western style high collars. The only seating available is at the long bar, and the beautiful flowers and lamps that hang from the ceiling add to the allure of this multifaceted nook on 10th.
The essence of Duo is in its name; it is two things at once. It is dulled colors and clean lines, minimalist in feel but simultaneously filled with warmth and softness. Both young and old, vibrant and calm, it is modern and fresh but brings to mind memories of simpler times: of handwritten letters, cozy Sunday afternoons and soft breezes over the wide open fields of northern Minnesota, the owners’ home state. Conflicting and complementing all at once, Duo is the product of two minds at work. Sisters Wendy and LaRae Kangas have created a perfect little fashion oasis that fits right in with the small town vibes of Manhattan’s East Village. Growing up, Wendy and LaRae pestered each other and fought over clothes, as siblings will do, but in 2008 they decided to open up a shop together. Today, they work with dealers and emerging independent designers throughout the country and pick all their clothing, accessories and home goods by hand, combining masculine and feminine styles with modern silhouettes and vintage traces to curate a timeless collection of quality, classic pieces. “It’s a very personal process, ” they told me, “and we put a lot of love into our shop and our collections. ” Nothing at Duo is mass-produced, and most of their merchandise is recycled. The sisters pour their hearts into the shop and work hard to stay true to themselves while keeping an eye toward the future, expanding their business into the world of e-commerce and social media. “It’s important to stay current and give the customers what they want, ” they said. They love what they do, and working with family makes it even more fun, according to the sisters. “It makes work smooth when you don’t have to verbalize what you’re thinking, ” they told me, “We just know what each other is thinking and it makes choosing products and daily operations much easier. ”Duo is a celebration of creative spirit. It is clear that the sisters revel in the one-of-a-kind individuality of each and every one of their customers who come to them looking for pieces that will express their own unique style. When explaining what they love about their work, they said, “It’s great to make a customer feel better when they walk out the door. ”