The Road to CP Nolita

Spring Street here we come!

For the past 45 years the Clay Pot has been nested happily in the sleepy hamlet of Park Slope, a beautiful Brooklyn brownstone neighborhood which has repeatedly been voted the best place to live in New York.

The neighborhood loves us and we love our very community based business, but our store has grown in ways that no one could have predicted. For the past few years, it has become obvious that if we were going to continue to grow we were going to have to expand and a new home for our bridal collection that would better serve a city wide business made sense.

We immediately connected with an amazing and super down to earth realtor Andrew Mandell who grew up in Windsor Terrance and knew Brooklyn store well. At the end of our conversation I asked him if he was ready to help us make the leap into the big city. He replied, “Absolutely!”

Andrew and his assistant Lindsay sent us a list of number of spaces in Soho and Nolita, the area we felt would be a good fit for our fledgling 2nd location. On the top of the list was a newly renovated space in Nolita. It was the right size, in the right location, not on a side street, but on Spring Street with great foot traffic, one block from the subway and it had central air! Which in a neighborhood dominated by tenement buildings is almost impossible to find. The landlord, Samy and I clicked right away. He liked my plans for the space, and it turned out that his partner’s wife is  a jewelry designer, Catherine Zadeh, that I had been interested in for some time. Kismet!

My friend Marian, posing in front of the new store
My friend Marian, posing in front of the new store
Beautiful brick wall, before we...don't kill us...painted it.
Beautiful brick wall, before we…don’t kill us…painted it.

Meanwhile I left for a two week trip to London and Paris with my daughter Sophia. It was the perfect time to get away from all distractions and spend some quality time together… Shopping. Which is what we both love to do. We spent a great deal of time visiting stores in both cities, noting and photographing details of stores and displays. It was a fertile time and I returned to New York recharged and ready to take on this project.

Windows at Selfridges.
Windows at Selfridges.
Kit Kemp hotel wall paper in London.
Kit Kemp hotel wall paper in London.
Collette window displays
Colette window displays
Merci!
Merci!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next phone call was to one of my oldest friends Tatiana Barhar, who just happens to be a retail store designer for her firm Verdego in Venice CA. While we were still in negotiations for the space, she got a ticket and flew to NY to see the space and work on a design scheme. We had a whirlwind 48 hours together going to practically every store in lower Manhattan, and spending some very dusty hours in the space taping out counters and walls.

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Tatiana in action!
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The store begins to take shape.

We mapped out a plan for the space and got to work. None of this would have been possible without my project manager Pavel formerly of The Loftmen. He and I had worked on a project in the Brooklyn store a few years earlier and had great working relationship. He had lined up the woodworker, metal worker and general contractor in a matter of days. It was because of his expertise and connections that we were able to open in 6 weeks.

Pavel and I on the job site.
Pavel and I on the job site.

One of the biggest challenges was the venetian plaster wall that was created by the incredibly talented Stephen Balser of Art in Construction. The two walls took about a week to complete and we needed the entire space cleared to do the work. The finished product is mysterious and magical. Everyone just wants to touch it!

Anticipation builds!
Anticipation builds!

There were many days when it seemed like it was not going to happen. The day the basement flooded and we saved all the custom made fabric store fixtures minutes before they were ruined or the day that we were told that our permits would’t be issued because of an obscure old violation on the space.

Up goes the awning!
Up goes the awning!

But time and again things went our way and we opened for our first day of business on December 5th.

My dad and I on opening day.
My dad and I on opening day.
The new home of the clay pot ring department!
The new home of the clay pot ring department!
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Consultation for the perfect ring!

We are very excited to see old and new customers at 22 Spring. So if you happen to be in Nolita, please stop by and say hi!

Thanksgiving Gift Guide

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With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it’s a great time to stock up on hostess gifts and new serving ware to make sure your table looks its best for all the instagram photos that will inevitably be taken.

#thanksgiving2015 #turkeyday #familyholidays

So here are our top picks.

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A great hostess gift, Good Candles are made from American grown soy wax with high quality fragrance and essential oils.  Hand poured in their studio in Crown Heights, each candle is hand made,  inspected and stamped. Fragrances include washboard, campfire and fig. Small $18, large $35

 

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Terrafirma Ceramics is a working pottery studio located in the heart of New York City, designing and producing handmade functional American art pottery.  Known for its unique dinnerware and tabletop accessories, Terrafirma was founded in 1980 by artist Ellen Evans.

Prices range from $42 to $190.

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Hand wrought copper candleholders by Greg Hessel are the perfect adornment for a table top, fireplace mantle or niche, adding drama and height. Greg’s designs look beautiful alone, paired or in groupings of various sizes as ge combines techniques and tools from both wrought iron and jewelry traditions. As a result, his designs have an interesting and organic quality combined with high refinement and delicacy.  Gregg is inspired by traditional metalworking techniques, but has also imprinted his own methods and tools on his work. The hand forging of copper involves much heat and hammering. These gorgeous candlesticks are a perfect pair with our Danica tapers. Handmade on the coast of Maine, they come in a rainbow of colors. Candlesticks range from $135 to $225. Candles are $5 a pair. 

 

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These versatile little tumblers from Nanda Sodeberg of Rhode Island are made from 12 ounce beer bottles with applied gold leaf. $30 each.

 

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Nicole Aquillano works at Midway Studios in the Fort Point Area of Boston.  Inspired by architectural imagery drawn from her photography collection, Nicole’s attention to detail creates meaningful collections. Prices range from $50 – $230

 

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Swaine Street Woodworking’s cutting boards and butcher blocks are meticulously crafted from FSC-certified maple, birch, and walnut. Every board is naturally anti-bacterial, and comes conditioned with hand blended Rosemary Lemon Cutting Board Oil, and Beeswax Polish for added protection. They are suitably durable for daily use, and provide an exceptionally pleasant work surface to protect choice knife blades. Oil your board often to keep it in excellent condition, and wax it to give it a beautiful finish.

Cutting Boards w assorted designs (maple leaf, arrows, antlers) $40. Our custom BROOKLYN cutting boards $48. Beeswax Polish $16.

 

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A household essential, most whisk brooms today don’t have the ability to transport you back to a simpler time.  Ours are capped with a metal top for hanging neatly on a wall or inside a cabinet and are made from natural corn husk and wire bound for strength. Made in rural Pennsylvania. $26 each.

 

If you do not live in the tri-state area and are interested in any of the items featured here, please contact a member of our staff to purchase. 800.989.3579 0r sales@clay-pot.com

 

Why Jewelry stores hide the price tags. The full story.

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Tara Silberberg on “Jewelry Island”

Last week, my interview with reporter Stacey Vanek Smith aired on NPR’s Morning Edition as part of a Planet Money story about jewelry store pricing practices. The piece was focused on what I believe is the interesting question of why jewelry stores hide their price tags.

The story generated hundreds of comments, on both the NPR site and Facebook. While I enjoyed discussing the practices of jewelry store owners with Smith, I did feel that the story that aired did not tell the whole picture of my store’s attitude towards pricing and transparency.  As anyone who has experienced being part of a news story knows, editing shapes what one appears to say as much as what one actually says.  Suffice to say that there was much more said in the hours of interviews than what made it into the five-minute long piece.

Smith likens my store practices to playing a game of The Price is Right. I would beg to differ. Unlike many other jewelry stores, we physically tag every single item, making it very easy to find out an item’s price. In many jewelry stores, where they do not have price tags, the salesperson must get the price sheet and figure out what the item costs. I personally find this practice annoying, because I believe that knowing the prices of what you are looking at is essential information.

So if I believe that you should know the price, why are the prices obscured? Because the nature of jewelry dictates this. Most of it is small and expensive, and needs to be behind locked glass. To have a price visible simultaneously on hundreds of pairs of dangling earrings would be close to impossible. They are all small sculptural mobiles, hanging in space. If it weren’t for the glass in between the customers and the merchandise this would be a non issue. In fact, once the cabinet is opened by a staff member we encourage people to look at the prices.

Our store is arranged in such a way that makes the price range of the merchandise very clear. We always direct shoppers to specific areas based on whatever budget they tell us they have. To make it easier for our customers we have an entire section which we call “Jewelry Island” where you can rummage and try things on without a sales person’s help. It’s a great way for a customer who is not comfortable with a lot of interaction to find out some of the prices before asking.

Lastly, in regards to the jewelry world’s practice of selling the story, we sell pieces that  are handmade by craftspeople. The amount of time that goes into creating the work is as much a part of the cost as the material. As I pointed out in the interview the same way one car (a Tesla) costs one price and one (a Prius) costs another. Of course this was cut down to making it sound like I was likening Lisa Jenks’ jewelry to a Tesla, which was not the point. My point is you get what you pay for, and some people want to pay for the craftsmanship.  As it stands, we have supported these small studio designers, complete with stories, since we opened in 1969. Give me a story, instead of a piece of crap off a container ship, any day.

Tara Silberberg

Introducing New Designer Andrea Fohrman!

When asked why she chose to carry Andrea Fohrman’s collection of rainbow necklaces, Tara the owner of the Clay Pot said, “It reminded me of  all the rainbows I saw in Hawaii when I went last December with my daughter and my sister’s family. I thought how nice it would be to have one around my neck.”
And oh, how sweet these necklaces are! Andrea Fohrman, a LA based designer, whose work has been featured in Elle, W and InStyle, hand picks the stones herself and uses mostly recycled 18k gold to create beautifully designed pieces that represent all things celestial. Wear these rainbow necklaces everyday to complement any outfit as they’re all bits of fun, edgy and elegant. Come check them out at our store location in Brooklyn or on our website.
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Get Hot with Our Ruby Pieces

With spikes in hairspray sales, electricity bills and maxi dresses, you know  humidity is just around the corner. So, why not play fire with fire?

Turn up the heat with our fine selection of rubies to celebrate July’s birthstone! Add levels of hotness to your summer outfits or surprise your friend with a lovely birthday gift. Come visit our fabulous ruby collection over at the Clay Pot.

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LISA JENKS – Stripelette Bracelet in Ruby ($560)

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MELISSA JOY MANNING – Small Oval Ruby Ring ($850)

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MIZUKI – Rectangle Ruby Necklace with Diamonds ($1,398)

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AILI – Short Ruby Bar Studs ($256)

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Did you know that Father’s Day didn’t become an official American holiday until 1972? That’s pretty recent considering how Dad’s have been around since practically always. Regardless, Father’s Day is just around the corner and if you’re in search for what to get Dad or the father figure in your life, get yourself to the Clay Pot or online shop. We’ve got candles that smell like campfire, leather wallets made from used luxury car seats, flasks and more.

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              The Blue Hound – Snakebone Bracelet ($290)

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The Blue Hound – Carved Ring ($152)

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The Blue Hound – Roman Coin Necklace ($188)

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Pyrrha – Spirit Talisman Necklace ($140)

318ytW5LPJLThe Blue Hound – Edwardian Square Cufflinks ($248)

Swing by the Clay Pot for more gifting ideas.

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THE BLUE HOUND – Roman Coin Necklace

Presents for Our Grads

April showers bring May flowers. But it’s also that time of month where students take their final step towards matriculating.

Whether you’re looking for a personalized gift or something fun, we’ve got something for you. Here are a few items that will be perfect to show how proud you are of your soon-to-be graduate.

ImageMarian Maurer – Custom Name Necklace in 18K ($500)

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Workhorse – Evangeline ID Bracelet ($462)

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The Blue Hound – Edwardian Oval Cufflink ($134)

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DOGEARED – Karma Necklace ($58)

WORKHORSE – Evangeline Thick ID Bracelet