Now that it’s the new year, it’s time to reflect on goals and intentions to set the tone for 2018. Somewhere during the middle of last year, I made a choice to try and only shop small where I can and when I can. It’s an intention I’m going to continue this year, especially after interviewing so many small businesses and shop owners who truly care about cultivating community and sharing good design. The Primary Essentials is such a store. Located in Manhattan, New York, this beautiful and highly curated shop offers objects from textiles, jewelry, ceramics, glassware, tableware and more by independent makers, designers and brands. It’s a one-stop shop for finding items for your home that you won’t find easily anywhere else.
We chatted with storeowner Lauren Snyder, who opened and designed the store with her husband/architect Keith Burns to create a unique space that reflected the unique objects in the store. Read on to learn more about this hidden gem on Centre Market Place.
Why did you pick this storefront?
The storefront really spoke to me. It is on a little quaint street that is only one block long in the midst of a really busy downtown neighborhood (Nolita). It feels so special and rare in a city like New York and really felt like the right place for a second location for us.
Where did you get the name for the store?
I can’t even really remember how I ended up landing on this name, but my intention was to say that we are selling really special functional objects.
Has it changed much since it opened? How?
It has definitely evolved, aesthetically, but the things that were important to the store in the beginning still are very relevant- we will always be a store that champions and works with small designers, and works really hard to have things that are not found everywhere else.
What’s one of the challenges you have with the business?
Day in day out running a small business is really tough- no one is telling you what to do and you are the one driving the decisions. It can be really challenging for me to be thinking about the bigger picture as opposed to all of the daily things that need to take place- and managing the two simultaneously.
What other stores have you worked in before opening this one? I worked at Bergdorf Goodman for a while, in the personal shopping department as an assistant when I was younger. It was like running a small business within a large store, and I really enjoyed it.
What’s your favorite item in the store right now?
This pitcher from Laurence Brabant Editions.
What is this season’s theme?
We always try to stick to elevated basics that people can always use and have around.
Are you carrying any new products and/or undiscovered gems you’re particularly excited about?
We recently started working with Alex Reed, a young ceramicist based in Los Angeles, and I am really excited about his pieces.
What’s been a consistent best seller?
We have been selling Hasami Porcelain in my Brooklyn location since we opened, people really love it.
Does the store have its own line?
Yes, we have some our own items that we’ve worked on in the past year and a half. It includes candles, a line of textiles, teas and quilts. The items are an assortment of functional products that refine everyday classics.
Any special events/exhibits/pop ups/collaborations coming up?
We always do a few special things for the holidays- we have an event with Ft. Standard coming up later this month where we will be offering engraving on their objects.
Do you have anything from the store in your own home?
Yes, many things! I use all of the Humble Ceramics dinnerware, Deborah Ehrlich glasses, all of our own napkins and candle and so many ceramics from Natalie Weinberger and Clam Lab.
What’s next for you and your store?
After a whirlwind year of opening the second location Im really looking forward to buckling down in the New Year and taking a look at everything we are doing and figure out how we can be doing it better.
What’s one lesson you’ve learned since opening your store?
To always be open to change and keep evolving.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to follow a similar path to yours, what would it be?
Sit down and talk to as many small business owners as possible. I always find that I get really helpful, and real advice from other business owners.
Visit The Primary Essentials at 3 Centre Market Place, New York, NY 10013.