Photography by Nina Choi

Published on July 17, 2021

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In our Ask a Shopkeeper series, we tap the coolest store owners we know for a tour of their space and to ask them what items are trending right now—and beyond. For our first installment, sisters Tanya Willock and Temidra Willock-Morsch take us inside Hidden Gem in Southampton, New York. 

How did Hidden Gem get started?

Temidra Willock-Morsch: We’ve always been creative. Tanya studied photography, and I went to school for fashion design. 

Tanya Willock: When we both graduated, Temidra focused on designing rugs, and I started managing a local gallery here in East Hampton. Then I think it was about five years later that we both kind of ended up in limbo, so in 2018, it just felt like the right time to go into this together. 

Temidra: We design almost all of the textiles and rugs in the shop, and there is Tanya’s original art, too. But we also have a lot of vintage fabrics from our travels. 

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Your family is from Antigua. How are your Caribbean roots reflected in the store?

Tanya: One thing we really wanted to do with this space is make sure that when anyone walks in, they feel the Caribbean ties with the bright, vibrant colors. And then also the mixture of textures and the different patterns. That’s one of our strengths, being able to mix and match patterns in a way that works without overwhelming people.

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How did you come up with the name Hidden Gem?

Temidra: The original concept for the store was more like a pop-up or mobile shop. But it so happened that we found this amazing location in a courtyard in Southampton, and it’s somewhat hidden. Our space has amazing high ceilings and big windows, so people always say it’s a hidden gem. If we ever expand, we’re going to look for shops that are also hidden and off the beaten path. 

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Shop Talk

Music that’s always playing in our store:

Tanya: Afrobeat, soca, and calypso. We love to dance!

Instagram account we go to for inspiration:

Temidra: @colourfulhomevibe. It’s a mixture of bright and fun interiors. Scrolling through that page always inspires me. 

Tanya: @thecolourtribe features a great play on textures throughout the account. Plus there are plants in every picture. I’m obsessed!

Dream person to walk into Hidden Gem:

Tanya: Rihanna. I love her fashion sense, and she’s from the Caribbean! I think she would love our shop. 

Temidra: Martha Stewart—she’s just the queen! I would be so curious to know what she thought of the space and vibe. 

Favorite nearby shop that’s not our own:

Tanya: The Little East in East Hampton has the cutest baby gifts.

Temidra: Joey Wolffer in Sag Harbor has super-unique clothing with lots of prints and color.

Favorite piece in stock right now: 

Tanya: A framed embroidered vintage fabric

Temidra: Our hand-knotted wool and silk koi rug.

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