Monday, March 22, 2021

Goodbye Generic Fashion, Hello Personalized Fare!


While there have been huge losses in fashion retail around the world vis-à-vis brick and mortar stores, there have been some interesting successes in this area. Up to a third of all NYC businesses  broke down or substantially declined during the pandemic.  But in their stead, customized unique boutique shops have been gaining popularity. The question is, how?  One reason is that they are small businesses owned by individuals rather than large corporations that have way more overheads. Another reason is the bohemian character, akin to the area.

One local example of this is Page Sargisson Jewelry which opened its doors in Brooklyn on Hoyt Street and Atlantic Avenue after Thanksgiving. It’s popular in the area because it’s “playful and fresh…handcrafted…sustainably-made using recycled gold and silver,” and thus offers locals something different. 

Then there is home interior designer Michele Varian who “embraces chubby design [through] a new of kind of more [which she presents as] more in  minimal design – chunky, blobby and wabi-sabi.”  It has a very personal touch too as the seller is (as in similar cases like this) the creator as well. She moved from SoHo just before the pandemic to  Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn Heights which she believed saved her due to the high rentals in SoHo.   She found that people are now choosing to “shop in places that distinguished their tastes as artful.”

And with the lower rents in the area, this has allowed for Blue Marble to lease the place on Broadway and 97th Street that used to be home to Earth Café. Offering organic ice cream with primarily locally-sourced ingredients, Jennie Dundas, co-owner explained:

“I’m not going to lie, this venture was made possible by the pandemic and the lower rents that resulted from it. The rents have always been a barrier to entry for us in Manhattan. I live around the corner from the new shop and when I saw this opportunity open up, this gorgeous location, I thought, we’ve just got to do this, because I want our neighborhood to feel loved and to have joy. I’ve been here throughout the whole pandemic, and it’s been a challenging time. I want to invest in my neighborhood.”