These Shops Essentially Weed Out the Ugly Stuff for You
The art of the concept store.
Published May 12, 2019 7:00 AM
There exists a certain breed of decor store that’s been enjoying a rise in popularity recently. It has a memorable name, a stunning interior design, and maybe even a cafe. This is the concept shop (or, depending on how quirky your locale is, shoppe), and it’s essentially an indecisive shopper’s dream. Usually helmed by a multihyphenate with an interest in design, fashion, art, and culture, a concept shop includes a range of different brands united under a similar aesthetic. Since everything was carefully curated to fit that aesthetic, shopping a concept shop is like having a personal shopper—it takes the guesswork out and weeds out items that don’t fit.
While these concept shops are often brick-and-mortar boutiques, a select few also have online stores. They may not come with a coffee shop, but they offer just the same number of products and variety of brands. Concept shops are both a great way to hone in on a certain style and discover under-the-radar designers; ahead are some of our favorites you’ll want to bookmark too.
Ideal Shopper: The fashionista who also has a knack for styling decor. May or may not reside in a cool Brooklyn loft with a collection of houseplants so extensive, it would make the Botanical Gardens jealous.
Style M.O.: While you likely know Caitlin Mociun’s brand for her line of fine jewelry, her shop also has a home goods section where you’ll find a melange of cool makers and products. Everything is curated by Mociun and shares the fashion-forward style of her bespoke accessories—if you loved her home tour, you’ll love this concept shop. If you happen to be in Brooklyn, stop by the store for the full (highly Instagrammable—it must be said) experience.
Hero Buy: A glazed stoneware mug in one of the trendiest color palettes du jour.
Ideal Shopper: That one friend who manages to show up to brunch in a sheer lime green blouse, floral prairie skirt, and cowboy boots without looking absolutely insane.
Style M.O.: As the name implies, Coming Soon is all about showcasing the more playful, out-there trends before they hit the mainstream. It’s campy in the best way—go here for fun, irreverent decor that doesn’t take itself too seriously and has a slightly retro feel.
Hero Buy: A ceramic bowl with three leather slider-clad feet; a cheeky display perfect for housing your keys in your entryway.
Ideal Shopper: The Francophile who dreams of French doors and built-in fireplaces with stunning mantels. Their desert island meal would be a cheese and charcuterie board accompanied by a bottle of red served in the coolest mismatched glassware, of course.
Style M.O.: Arguably one of the most famous concept shops in the world, this Parisian mainstay exemplifies everything we love about laid-back (yet impossibly chic) French style. Merci’s selection of linen textiles is particularly incredible; though you won’t want to sleep on the dining table pieces either. It’s everything you need to host the chicest dinner party a la française.
Hero Buy: Capitalize on the linen offerings with a beautiful seafoam duvet cover. It’s just light enough to take you through transitional spring-summer weather.
Ideal Shopper: The homeowner whose abode is less a “home” in the traditional sense and more a treasure trove of colorful, eclectic finds—almost like a museum.
Style M.O.: A mix of home goods and jewelry, Cool Machine is the one-stop shop for all things vibrant and contemporary. You’ll find sculptural two-tone vases on the same product line as plush rugs decked out in abstract shapes. Everything is united by an unabashed love for color. Minimalists need not apply.
Hero Buy: A vase that marries brutalist design with cheerful colors. The raw stoneware material and punchy hues are a lesson in juxtaposition done right. Use it on your mantel or coffee table to bring some color to a space—flowers not required.
Ideal Shopper: The stylish parent who isn’t going to let a toddler (or more specifically, their toys) clash with their beloved Tobia Scarpa sofa.
Style M.O.: Built under the tagline “Design for the whole family,” Smallable is a fashion and decor shop most notable for being the best place to buy chic baby products. We’re talking linen changing mats, Scandinavian-style bed frames, and minimalist wooden toys you’ll actually want to have out in the open—no need to hide everything in organization bins. Peruse beloved brands like Oeuf and Ferm Living Kids.
Hero Buy: A set of organic swaddling cloths in subtle pink hues. Roll each one up and tie it with a pretty ribbon to keep in a basket by your changing table for a functional nursery product that doubles as a pop of color.
Ideal Shopper: The flea market aficionado who, upon booking a trip overseas, immediately researches every craft and antiques fair in the area.
Style M.O.: Similar in style to the aforementioned Cool Machine, Folks differs in that it offers a more tightly curated assortment of products. The draw is in the discovery: If you’re always on the hunt for new brands and makers, the virtual concept shop can help you. It focuses on showcasing new creators through extensive bios, so you can really get a feel for the story behind the product you buy, not unlike an antique market. Come here for contemporary, colorful accent pieces all imbued with the same eclectic sensibility.
Hero Buy: A modular candlestick, which you should buy as a pair to provide the perfect finishing touch to your dinner table in lieu of a traditional centerpiece.
Ideal Shopper: The modern design maven with a passion for wellness. She has CBD oil on her sleek brass nightstand and always has one eye on what’s happening in the interiors world.
Style M.O.: Sleek and contemporary. Think: An equal blend of brassy fixtures and simple wooden items. While Nannie Inez is in Austin (and you’ll find plenty of local talent), there’s a heavy Scandinavian influence in the offerings, which is definitely visible in the aesthetic. Brands like Hay, Ferm Living, and Muuto take center stage. Oh, and there’s also an “apothecary” section where you can treat yourself to the latest beauty and wellness products, each of which has packaging so beautiful it rivals the decor.
Hero Buy: A bright powder-coated metal tray, ideal for storing nightstand trinkets or coffee table accoutrements, such as an incense holder or smudge stick.