Interview by Christopher Blomquist
Call it hee-haw meets hipster: A bastion of cowgirl-inspired style has set up camp in, of all places, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The brainchild of local designers Daisy Hartman and Elizabeth NeSmith, who launched their eponymous Daisy & Elizabeth lingerie and swimwear line in 2014, Wild West Brooklyn is a pop-up shop running through May 15 that offers the pair’s carefully handpicked selection of clothing, accessories, jewelry, art and home goods that have an authentic Western flair. Many of the featured brands have never been available in a physical storefront on the East Coast before and with one exception, footwear/boot brand PSKaufman, all the labels are female-owned and operated. The eclectic assortment includes everything from custom hats by Havstad Hat Co and denim by local label Courtshop to country-inspired tees by Bandit Brand, custom-made dreamcatcher wall hangings by Spoken Woven and, of course, the Daisy & Elizabeth line. The two designers-turned-fledgling retailers recently gave SI a tour of the space and spoke about their new venture…
Why the Western theme?
Elizabeth: It kind of comes from our personal style for our brand that has been a huge inspiration in creating our pieces. We use a lot men’s Western work detailing for our seam lines and stuff. We are both from the south of the Mason-Dixon, which isn’t the Southwest technically but…. Especially country western music and the rock ‘n’ roll has always been such a huge influence. The things that inspire us just organically came together that way.
How does Western style fly in hipster urban Brooklyn?
Elizabeth: There’s definitely a market for it within our community of people here in New York. We find that people are nostalgic about home. It’s such a big place and they love to feel connected in a way that reminds them of home and I think that this style and the store are reminiscent of that. Everybody who comes in here knows somebody from Texas and they love to identify with that for some reason. People are really drawn to that lifestyle.
Have you done retail before?
Elizabeth: We’ve just done smaller markets and pop-ups for ourselves. I worked in retail when I first moved to New York but this is the first venture for our brand running a whole entire store and curating it. But we’ve both found that we really love doing this.
What has been the biggest challenge of being a retailer thus far?
Elizabeth: It has actually been juggling our own company production and getting all that done while making the store. It has been seven days a week so we are trying to figure out that schedule and make that all work right now because we are doing everything ourselves. Our studio is in Greenpoint so there has been a lot of running around. And of course the trains never run right!
How did you find the brands that you carry?
Daisy: A lot of them are brands that we already knew and followed through social media and really admired.
Elizabeth: Our stuff has either been styled with theirs in the past for shoots or we’ve met the designers through mutual friends. It’s really just mostly things that we would shop for ourselves. We could only shop online because no boutiques in New York are carrying their stuff.
What have been your bestsellers thus far?
Daisy: Our own swimwear has been doing pretty well and also the Sun & Glory leather earrings that went with her other leather pieces. Smaller jewelry pieces do well with people who just want to walk out with something.
Elizabeth: The T-shirts for sure do really well. That’s an easy purchase if you come in and just want to leave with something at a good price point.
You have some stunning Western landscape photos on the walls. Talk about the store’s décor.
Elizabeth: Everything you see hanging in the store is for sale. These beautiful prints are by photographer Lisa Candela. She lives in upstate New York but took these photos while she was living in South Dakota. They were taken outside of a reservation in the Black Hills. The other photos are by Leslie O’Kelley, the designer who does the jewelry line Bow & Arrow. She did a collaboration with a photographer and they went to Four Corners and took these beautiful photos. The prints are $450 to $3700.
Do you have any special events planned?
Elizabeth: We are going to be doing some backyard trunk shows including a jewelry weekend and then a bridal weekend where we will have the designers of the Daughters of Simone, the bridal gown company who we did a collaboration with, here. We’ll have a cake vendor and florist here then too.
Any chance this pop-up shop will go permanent?
Elizabeth: It’s a pop-up for now. We are here until May 15 but we are hoping to extend but we will see how it goes–if not here then in other locations or maybe other cities.
Wild West Brooklyn
439 Metropolitan Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
+1 347 974 6639