Me and Mark (Laura told me to put Mark and I, but I thought it made me sound pretentious so declined) recently went to New York as a preliminary trip for our first trade show in the US. We did a lot of wandering, a bit of sightseeing and some more wandering. We found our way to Williamsburg in Brooklyn as we’d heard it was probably going to be the best area for our type of product, we knew we had a stockist nearby, we weren’t sure where it was though, while having this conversation and wandering some more we found it!
The shop is Grace and Favor (not Favour, apparently the name was under a lot of debate, it’s truely a British shop in America, but the Americanism seemed necessary). We snook in, unassuming to see if we could spot our cards, and got chatting to the lovely lady behind the desk. Unfortunately this wasn’t the lovely lady who placed the order with us originally, however Andrea Brooke (the lovely lady who had) quickly popped in, issued some hugs and offered us a cup of proper tea (much needed).
We got on like a house on fire, talked shop, talked plans for America and we’re looking forward to seeing her at the National Stationery show when we go to New York in a few weeks again.
We loved her story, so asked her to answer some questions for our blog, as our first American stockist it was a bit of a landmark.
Tell us about your shop and what makes it stand out from the rest?
I set it up for a neighborhood that has a rapidly expanding residential community who want original and beautiful things for their homes. It is unique as the only Design Store representing British Designers and Artists.
How long have you lived in Brooklyn and what made you move there?
8 years – I came to the USA with a British Design company – met my lovely American husband and stayed! For the last 6 years I have been running a luxury textile company called Brunschwig & Fils in Manhattan
Has running your own shop always been a dream of yours?
Yes ever since I was 21 working for an antique dealer on the Pimlico Road. It’s taken me over 20 years to do it.
Did you have to overcome any challenges in starting your own shop in America?
Lots! Money, high rents in this very popular neighbourhood, learning all the regulations for a small business.
What’s your favourite thing that you sell in your shop?
Rude cards by Ohh Deer – they always make people laugh! I’m not just saying that! They always get people talking
Someone is planning on visiting New York for the first time, what advice would you offer them?
Do a 2 center trip – stay a few days in Manhattan, do the major sites then hop over to Brooklyn for a few days – there’s so much to explore.
What do you miss most about the UK?
The weather and the newspapers.
You recently got recognition in an american magazine, could you tell us more about that?
Yes! We were listed as ‘One of the 83 Best Shops in America’ by House Beautiful a well known interiors magazine. I have it open on the table all the time
You can see more of Andrea Brooke and her gorgeous shop (store if you’re feeling American now) HERE