Friday, December 28, 2012

Featured Mercantile- Hipster Home

I recently had the pleasure of visiting a small Housewares shop in Chestnut Hill called Hipster Home. Hipster Home has a great collection of unique home items perfect for gifts or the one design piece that will make a big statement. The owners Dave & Lindsay were gracious enough to sit down with me and share their thoughts on design.

Where did the name Hipster Home come from?

A lot of people get hung up on the name of the store like we really think we're hip. To make a longer story short, we were in NYC at the gift show looking to see if we could actually find enough products that people would buy to make a unique collection in a store without sacrificing our integrity. As we started looking to buy products we had to put a store name on the dotted line to even be considered by some companies. We argued about several lame & corny names (yes more corny than Hipster Home) and as we argued about the many names that we thought were super corny we passed a booth at the show with an even cornier name called Hipster Music and I angrily growled "well how about Hipster Home" and Lindsay barked back "actually that's the best of the all the ones we mentioned".

So it became Hipster Home. It ended up working out great for our internet presence and has actually become a bit of a photo op for younger people to be photographed next to our logo saying Hipster Home. So it all worked out for the better. Yes the name is corny but it works and it really is a reflection of our sense of humor about ourselves and this whole industry to remember to have fun. So it's Hipster Home for better or for worse.

How do you decide what lines and vendors you choose?

The vendors we use are generally strong globally recognized brands that employ real designers to create their products and have tremendous reputations globally as strong contemporary brands that don't just cater to a US consumer market. We chose brands that stay true to themselves and don't bend to every whim at the hands of consumers. We try to steer clear of trends and stick to the classic modern designs that have stood the test of time. It's much less risky. The downside is we don't really sell to the mass consumer market so we depend on customers that are loyal to the design world and look for quality products and quality brands.

What are some of your favorite products from the store?

We really go through many periods of loving each product line as we discover more about each company.

Two brands that really stick out for me are Umbra and Gus Modern both of which are Canadian brands. Each of these lines have a tremendous reputation for creating products that are design forward, practical and affordable. Both of these brands also lend tremendous support to their loyal retailers. I love companies that help to support the little guys like us and help us to reach as many people as possible.

I really like the children's items we carry, like the handmade clocks. Our best selling one is the submarine clock.

What is your own personal design style?

Our personal style at home is evolving. We both love antiques and modern products so we're really all over the place as far as our own personal style goes. If you ever see me you'll see right away that I don't fit the "normal" profile of someone who owns a store such as ours. I'm a blue collar person who happens to have a deep appreciation for great product design.

What advice do you have for people designing with children?

People who have children really have some tough choices to make. It's not easy since they'll really need to make some sacrifices with their choices but it can be done. In regards to upholstered furniture I tell people that knowledge is power and I tend to share the knowledge I've learned in the furniture industry so they can make informed decisions about their choices even if it means they won't buy from my store.

I think if people have the power to make their own decisions then they won't need to rely on a designer's or a sales person's choices. I know how my furniture and other products stack up against the other brands and I'm not afraid to share it.

I think it is a good idea to use pieces that are transitional, like the rocker we carry can be used after the baby has grown. Even though I don't have children of my own, when I am looking for products I try to think about the functionality of them.

Why Chestnut Hill?

Well, honestly we first chose Phoenixville where we opened in 2007 and had a store there for 4 years. It's also where we live. We moved to Chestnut Hill about a year ago to be in a more competitive retail environment but didn't want to lose that small town feel we loved having in Phoenixville. Chestnut Hill really came to us thanks in part to the area retail coordinator at the time Eileen Riley and our friend and mentor Doug Reinke who owns Host Interiors. Doug really helped us feel better about seeing the move to Chestnut Hill as a means to expand our brand but still stay within our comfort zone.

I really don't know what the future holds but I'm quite happy with our location in Chestnut Hill. The people are very loyal and support their local stores. We also have a strong enough reputation to draw people out of other parts of the city to shop in our store and by saying that I mean both our store and the Chestnut Hill shopping district are strong draws. We depend heavily on people shopping the entire Chestnut Hill experience and not just our store.

Check back tomorrow for an exciting giveaway item from Hipster Home!
Thank you Dave & Lindsay!

Hipster Home is located at 8236 Germantown Ave in Philadelphia, PA. Those of you that are not local, you can find them at

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