New York City is never short on inspiring and unique shopping destinations, but we now have a new store to add to our décor arsenal: Jayson Home, the beloved Chicago décor store, opened its doors in mid-September on a cobblestoned corner of Greene Street in the heart of SoHo's shopping district. "That's a stone's throw from Apple and Louis Vuitton, smack dab in the middle of SoHo," says Devin Kirk, the brand's VP of merchandising. "We'd been plotting this project for years, so we had already visualized every detail.
When it came time to go, we loaded up some trucks and got busy."
After a successful appearance on Sag Harbor's main street in the Hamptons last summer, Jayson Home, now a favorite of New Yorkers, is firmly rooted in the streets of Manhattan. "We have so many amazing customers in New York already, so this opening wasn't really a matter of if but when," explains Kirk. "And it was the logical next step after we had so much success in the Hamptons last summer." We chatted with him and Jayson Home's creative director, Caroline Scheeler, about their new store and future projects.
With exciting new furniture designs in the pipeline for next year and a collection of candles on the way, this is not the last you'll hear of this décor powerhouse—and it's befitting: Their style perfectly embodies the trend we predict will be huge in 2018. Mark our words: This is where all the cool New York It girls will shop for décor.
"The space is about 5500 square feet on two levels," says Devin Kirk, VP of merchandising. "It is the iconic SoHo shop we always wanted—a gorgeous storefront on a cobblestone street, super-high ceilings with cast-iron columns and those beautiful back skylights. It also had the nicest lower level of any we had seen on our exhaustive search—perfect for our vintage rug den."
The search for the perfect space wasn't an easy one: "We've been looking for years," Caroline Scheeler, Jayson Home's creative director chimes in. "We have seen a lot of spaces, mostly in SoHo and some in Flatiron. We ultimately decided SoHo was the best fit for our grand entrance into the NYC market."
The choice to open a store in NYC's SoHo neighborhood was born out of a love affair between the city and Jayson Home's execs: "We travel to Paris and London and Marrakech and many more places every year, and as magical as those places are, I think we both have an extra-special soft spot for New York and specifically SoHo," Kirk adds. "We've been coming to the city together three or four times a year for 15 years now, and every time we're done with our meetings or appointments or flea markets or whatever we're here for, we head straight to SoHo to shop.
Every time. There's no better place to shop in the world."
The building perfectly represents the romanticized idea of SoHo and its iconic architecture: "It has this very old-world feel on a charming cobblestone stretch of Greene Street," says Scheeler. "We're in a historic part of SoHo, so it probably dates back to the mid-1800s, and it was most likely used as a shop back then too."
The design and color scheme came together naturally for the Jayson Home team, whose decorating style is easily identifiable as a blend of distressed antiques, classic furniture, and modern accents. "Tapping into the rich gallery history of SoHo, we chose white walls and dark wood floors as a canvas for our products," says Scheeler. "In contrast, our Chicago store is all brick and dark walls—very textural. Our SoHo space feels different and fresh, but it's still relatable and very Jayson at the same time."
The white walls were a strategic move for the Jayson team, whose aesthetic is always bold and colorful. "We're all about layering color and pattern right now, so we went with a more-is-more approach with our merchandise," explains Kirk. "That white backdrop made this easy. All the products pop."
The layout of the store, arranged in various product groupings that come together as stories, is charming from the moment you walk through the door. "Both levels are wide open, giving it kind of a classic loft feel," says Kirk. "We grouped products into loose stories, but they purposely bleed together so that people can put together a story of their own that suits them. You enter the space into a beautiful little flower shop, which is kind of a nod to our Chicago store's legendary floral department.
Throughout the first level, we alternate seating groups of furniture with dining and tabletop collections. Accessories, including pillows, throws, and candles from Cire Trudon and Mad et Len, are incorporated, plus great gifts and entertaining essentials."
"I think this main floor is a good representation of the Jayson Home brand," adds Scheeler. "As this is a pop-up, we wanted to show the most merchandise possible and share as much of the brand experience as we can, knowing full well that our captive audience has a lot to look at and not a lot of time. Many of the people moving through the space might have only ever shopped with us online. So this is our opportunity for them to touch and feel and take it all in."
The vast Jayson Home collection continues down a flight of stairs, in what they call their "rug den." "Downstairs, we went full-on rug crazy," says Kirk. "I think it's the best-edited collection of vintage rugs in the city. We handpick every single one, so there's not a bad rug in the bunch. And if vintage isn't your thing, we have a great collection of new rugs, too."
Jayson Home's strength is perhaps its ability to create the perfect mix of furniture and décor in a way that feels authentic, from the vintage rugs to the smallest accessories. "As with all we do, we tried to convey our vision in a multisensory experience," explains Scheeler. "We want our customers to be transported a bit, but not so much that they can't see our merchandise fitting into their own little world."
"Right. We wanted to give people the complete Jayson Home feel," adds Kirk. "It sort of ended up like our website and our Chicago store had a baby, which I think might be the perfect way for people to meet our brand in person for the first time. Interesting, pretty, inspiring, a little chaotic—very us."
Jayson Home's style might be eclectic in nature, but it manages to all come together in a coherent manner, which is something that many interior designers and customers alike are constantly trying to perfect. "We are all about the mix, so it's not just about one thing but the way it all comes together," says Kirk. "We also only buy things we love—which could be anything from a crusty French antique to a slick modern light fixture. We want to help people create rich, layered spaces that reflect their style."
And yet, neither he nor Scheeler likes to label their iconic style "I think one thing we're good at is appealing to a wide range of styles and customers within what could be considered a niche market," adds Scheeler. "We constantly evolve our look, so it's kind of hard to put a name on it. Impossible, really, without sounding trite or using painfully rehashed adjectives."
For the design duo, envisioning the perfect environment for a pop-up shop came easy. The logistics of securing their imagined prime spot in the heart of SoHo proved a little more challenging: "While it may seem like the obvious obstacle would be moving our merchandise and people from Chicago, that was the easy part. Getting into the space when we had planned on getting in is a different story." New York real estate is notoriously competitive, but the pair never wavered from their initial vision.
"As any New Yorker knows, real estate here is not a joke. But once that lease was signed, everything else was exciting and (mostly!) fun."
While nothing ever goes according to plan, Scheeler believes that their obstacles were a blessing in disguise. "Long story short, we had a crew of Chicago people here to get into the space and get open fast, but we had a blip in that plan, so our crew did their best to take advantage of exploring the city for five days. Flower markets, hardware stores, shopping, eating, making sense of our new home—in a way, those extra days were a gift. We came back the next week, kicked it into high gear, and got the store ready within a week.
As with everything we do, it was a collaborative effort, with many people working together to nurture and grow the Jayson Home brand."
Their favorite aspect of the store. "I love the vintage canoe we found at a flea market in France," says Kirk. "We've had boats before in our Chicago store, but this is the first time we've hung one on the wall like this. It looks like a beautiful organic sculpture. I also think our Drake Sofa looks so good in the space. We did this sofa a few years ago, not really thinking it would sell, but knowing it would be a fun place for guys to hang out while their spouses shopped for our more sensible offerings.
Happily, we were wrong, and it has become one of our all-time best sellers. It was meant to be in a loft space like this. And I'm obsessed with our vintage Pod Chair and Ottoman. I think every room should have a little plastic in it so things don't get too serious."
For Scheeler, it's all about the space, which makes it a joy to be in every day. "I love the high ceilings, and the façade is really pretty. And the skylights at the back of the store offer a lovely, glowy light quality all day long."
Next up: Ulla Johnson's new Greenwich Village store is as chic as it gets.