Director of merchandising Nancy Gross and sales manager Michele Tobin are currently on the run in New York, hunting down cool stuff to bring to you in the Walker Shop. Nancy just sent us this dispatch from their first couple of days:
We come here twice a year mainly to find unusual things at the New York International Gift Fair and elsewhere, but there’s more to the trip than that. We get inspiration from our colleagues, we make the rounds to design shops in Manhattan and Brooklyn, we pin down trends, and we connect with colleagues from all over the country on everything – from an amazing tea set they might have just found to the state of the economy.
So here’s a glimpse into our winter visit. Last Saturday, before the Gift Fair itself opened, was spent shopping stores in Manhattan – we are always on the search for the newest places. Our first stop was the Museum of Arts and Design, recently re-opened in the famous and now (controversially) renovated 2 Columbus Circle building. The galleries had us captivated and the jewelry in their vast permanent collection is amazing. If you go, don’t miss the artwork that involves over 5,000 spools of thread – and be sure to look at it through the crystal gazing ball! Of course we visited their beautiful, light-filled new store on the main level. They have a great assortment of jewelry, as well as ceramics and glass. Jamie, the manager, ok’d us taking a picture of the store.
Our next stop was Soho. We make a regular pilgrimage to Moss, an always interesting and well-curated emporium. We paid a visit to our Minneapolis friends, Blu Dot, at their new Soho store. The space really shows off the furniture – we love the quirky accessories like the blue ceramic squirrels. A huge wall mural on the second level features an image from their catalogue – most of the models are our Walker colleagues from various departments!
Kiosk, a tiny shop hidden at the top of a strange graffiti-filled stairway,
showcases “souvenirs” from the owners’ trips around the world – the items are really just regular objects in their native lands, but unusual to someone outside. Each item comes with a full description – fun reading.
We also paid a visit to Kid-O, a toystore on 10th at Greenwich Avenue. They specialize in wonderful wooden toys and other playthings that encourage the imagination. Walker Shop sells the block set they now license and produce, first designed by the founder of the City & Country school in Greenwich village in the early 1900’s. We’re eager to see their new products at the gift show in the next few days.
Another discovery, albeit a more ephemeral one: the cupcakes at Batch bakery, just across the street from Kid-O. We recommend the pumpkin rum raisin, but as this Flickr photo set attests, they change their varieties regularly.
More soon from the NY International Gift Fair!