So have you all been to visit us yet on Bleecker Street? If so, thanks for swinging by. If not, here is a little sneak peak at the design—that we think will grab your interest.
At Neely & Chloe we all believe in the brick and mortar experience. We believe, in many cases, our customer needs to touch, feel and see the product to fully appreciate craftsmanship of each piece of material and the care with with it was stitched together. Purchasing a new handbag or pair of shoes isn’t just about ending up with the product. It’s the feeling when you walk into a beautiful store—with me its usually a feeling of envy—wishing my apartment looked like the sprawling Club Monaco on 5th Avenue.
Neely and I like to think that this is the feeling that overtakes when you enter Neely & Chloe. We thoughtfully considered each aspect of the space, from the chandeliers and furniture down to the hooks for our wall display and flower arrangements on the desk. But, creating a space like this, on a budget, took a little more elbow grease than we originally anticipated.
Let’s go back to August 1st. Monday morning and we both leap out of bed (this, as I’m sure you know, is not only a rarity, but some days even feels like an accomplishment in and of itself). Today’s the day we take ownership of 373 Bleecker Street. The store. Our store. We hop on the subway and shoot up to midtown (on less exciting days this same trip is described as a trek, haul, hike…). We’re handed the keys and something about them is just a little different. They’re prettier than normal keys, right? Or shinier maybe? We can’t quite put our finger on it but all we know is that we have them. Here in our hands are the keys to the new ‘Neely & Chloe’.
A few minutes later, we’re in the West Village. We bound down Perry from the subway, Winnie in tow and find ourselves standing outside of our new store. After a brief battle with the deadbolt, we’re in. But, ugh.
The old tenant has left storage units behind, their light fixtures still installed, and basically anything they didn’t feel like packing. The walls of the old dressing rooms that were supposed to be knocked down still stand, cutting off the middle of the space. So we’ve only just opened the door and we’re already behind schedule.
First we needed to make our to-do list. The walls need to come down. The floors are a mess- should we put something new down? Maybe we’ll paint them. The rest of the walls need to be painted as well. Old light fixtures removed, new light fixtures installed. And then there was the store design.
First we secured a contractor. After our initial walk through and the laundry lists of tasks on our to do list, we received the estimate. “Are you sure there isn’t an extra zero on there!?” It became clear that in order to stay on budget, we were going to have to start thinking outside the box.
The design came together seamlessly. A friend leant a hand with some initial sketches that really brought the concept to life and we partnered up with our friends at Home Polish to execute. The front of the store should feel glamorous, chic and sophisticated. We settled on a mix of velvets, polished brass, and Lucite. We wanted to combine classic elements with a contemporary twist, so it was right to the antique shops. We found two fabulous chairs on Palm Beach’s Dixie highway that would make a statement as soon as you entered the space (and that would be extremely comfortable for the dads, husbands and boyfriends that were dragged along on shopping excursions). We decided to reupholster them in blue velvet, the color of the Neely & Chloe brand. Our check out desk and display cabinet would be vintage too, but lacquered in white to brighten them up.
But as you entered the back third of the space, the aesthetic would change. Welcome to the Workshop; with design board adorning the walls and leather swatches strewn across the mahogany table, illuminated by the iron task lamp, this is where that intimate experience of customizing your Neely & Chloe product would come to life.
The walls of the entire space would be two toned with white ‘chair rail’ splitting the color. White on the top, a clean simple backdrop for the product with a pop of Neely & Chloe blue below.
While the contractor could and would install it, this was one of those spots where we could get creative and save a little bit. So Neely dragged me to Home Depot (our first of many trips over the month of August) where I find her to be surprisingly comfortable and at ease. Some of you may not know this about Neely, but she loves a good project. She’s shockingly handy for a 26-year-old girl. If you ever need pictures hung, a TV mounted or really any sort of home improvement task checked off your to-do list- just give her a ring. All you need is a picture of her tool box to believe it.
So off to Home Depot we went, where she promptly explained to me that we were going to need X feet of wainscoting and a Mitor Saw to get the angles precise enough to mount the pieces together. “Obviously, Chloe…” Her eye roll almost audible. With the expertise of a full time store employee she whisked me off to the power tool rental department. After an inquisitive up and down from the man working behind the counter, we took our tools and off we went.