Sarah Meyer, co-owner
Sarah Meyer, co-owner
Celebrating its fourth anniversary next month, Life:Curated is an independent boutique in the burgeoning neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Life:Curated carries men’s and women’s fashion, homegoods, furniture and grooming products. It is owned by best friends Sarah Meyer and Ryan Thomann, who studied design together at Savannah College of Art and Design. The shop features an eye-catching interior and rope covered ceiling by Domestic Construction. Here, Meyer discusses the store’s unique product selection, location and why being friendly and welcoming is a number one priority. Interview by Christopher Blomquist

How is business at present?
It has been going good. It has been getting busier and busier as Williamsburg picks up, especially along this block where a lot of stores have opened in the past year, which has really helped. The [nearby] movie theater opening has also really helped. It was more restaurants and bars at first and just a few stores here and there. Now it is a little more proper daytime street instead of just a night street.

How has the store evolved since opening nearly four years ago?
We’ve evolved a lot. We just renovated the store last March. It was a dark charcoal color and we brought it a little brighter to let things pop out. And we started the apothecary section, which is pretty new. We had the S.W. Basics line for a while and people were really responding to the skincare stuff so we brought in more lines like Baxter.

Apothocary area
Apothocary area
What is the breakdown of sales of fashion items versus non-fashion ones?
Clothing and accessories are definitely the main focus. It was a lot more women’s than men’s but our men’s section has definitely grown since we’ve opened. There was a little niche market missing in the neighborhood at first. Men’s at this price point just wasn’t in the neighborhood and guys were really responding to it so a lot of our customers are guys. Girls, too, but I wasn’t expecting to see the guy customer to come in and love it a lot. But that’s OK. I love buying men’s clothes and I love wearing men’s clothes. So that’s exciting and a whole lot of hot dudes roll through here every day, which is kind of nice!

What are you current bestsellers?
For women’s definitely Ace & Jig is one of our top brands and Just Female, which is a Danish brand we just got for spring, has been killing it. It’s kind of like Wood Wood but at a lower price point. For men’s Zanerobe is killing it. I just can’t keep it in the store long enough—it’s crazy! And Publish is doing really, really well. One of our other favorites is Creep by Hiroshi Awai, which is kind of kooky Japanese. And K-Way jackets are big for spring and now going into fall. It’s a great price point: $54 for a rain jacket in fun, pop colors.

Where do you discover your brands and merchandise?
We go to all the trade shows. We don’t go to Vegas but next week I am going to the New York Now gift fair to get all the tsotchke-type stuff, which is always fun and interesting.

Why do you skip Vegas?
We don’t go to Vegas because all of the New York shows come here. But we did go to Agenda Long Beach this past year, which was kind of nice. A lot of our brands that are at the other shows like Liberty and Capsule are at Agenda Long Beach so it was kind of nice to see them there first.

Life:Curated from the outside
Life:Curated from the outside


Would you say you have a typical customer at the store?
It ranges. The age range is pretty dramatic. The boys that were just in here were probably 19 years old and from the Upper East Side and had never been to Brooklyn before. Then you have the normal neighborhood hipster customer. An older couple also came in and they were probably in their sixties and bought some stuff. We have a lot for everybody but we definitely like looking for the customer who likes a curated selection and stuff that has a bit of an edge to it or a bit of character to it. I definitely focus on finding really quality fabrics because that is my background. I’m crazy about fabrics and finishing. Then it also has to be good quality and we want an accessible price point.

What are the store’s prices?
Pretty much everything in the store is under $200 unless it is an outerwear piece or something special like leather pants from Zanerobe that are $250. But we try not to go above $300 for the specialty things.

Mens display
Mens display
How would you describe the assortment?
Everything has a little quirk to it that you wouldn’t find in other places. We try to find brands that aren’t readily available everywhere and carry smaller labels.

What is the global mix?
We try to get a lot of international brands in here. Especially in men’s, a lot of them are not even from New York. It’s mostly LA, Australia, Canada, London, Scandinavia…

And you have an online business too, right?
We do, which we are really focusing on right now. We are going through a renovation of the website now. We are trying to start doing a little bit of marketing and advertising online to expand our reach. The online sales are going well and we’ve had that a year less than we’ve been open, so three years, but it just keeps on growing.

What is the biggest challenge of running the store?
Staffing it and finding the right people. We try to be the superfriendly, nice, non-judging store in the neighborhood. Whenever you walk into a store you want to feel comfortable. We greet everyone that comes in and try not to judge and keep an open mind because you never know who they are or what they are going to buy. So finding people who can do that easily and get along with people and make them feel comfortable has been a challenge. But we’ve found some good people and I like the people that we have now. This is the first time I have been a boss so doing bosslike things like firing people has been really hard for me. That has been my biggest challenge as being the head boss lady.

Womens area
Womens area
What upcoming fashion trends do you think will be important?
I feel like the athletic thing is still going for next spring. We just saw all the men’s stuff and people are still going in that direction but in a not so literal way, which is nice. They’re keeping the sporty influences but making it a little more fashionable. I think this past spring was very literal. Now they are keeping with that but going in a new direction. Also, they are definitely moving away from all the super Hawaiian prints that we had this last time. I think it’s getting a little more sophisticated.

And for women?
The women’s stuff for fall is still going in a ’90s direction but a little more sophisticated. Like we got these really cool ’90s plaid collarless and buttonless coats for girls that are really awesome. It still has that ’90s influence but it’s not so grungelike. And lots of sweaters. I feel like that’s all we bought was tons of sweaters! But really cool, kooky ones…

Life:Curated
186 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
USA

+1 347 689 9143
service@life-curated.com
www.life-curated.com