We’re so excited to be working with Abbi and Jo again for their next Pop-Up for Dreamers event. We got a chance to interview the Abbi and get a little insight on what makes them tick and how this event came to be. Read on for more info!
Rima: Tell us a little about how Pop-Up for Dreamers came to be. How did the two of you meet and what inspired the idea?
Abbi: We met in 2011 when Jo began carrying Abbi’s jewelry line (Brooklyn Heavy Metal) in her Nolita boutique Alibi NYC. Soon we were participating in lots of holiday markets together. After doing shows for a few years and never feeling like they were the right fit for our lines, we decided we should just do it ourselves! We wanted to create a higher end holiday shop that catered more specifically to our clientele that felt more like a boutique than a holiday market or pop-up. The holidays can be crazy so we wanted something smaller and low-key with just a few other emerging designers who we loved and felt shared a similar aesthetic as well as a shared level of importance to being made in NYC. We had such a positive experience meeting new designers and collaborating/working with other businesses after our holiday pop-up that we decided we should keep up the momentum!
Rima: We at bkstyled love your commitment to local designers. Can you tell us a bit about your selection process for your pop-up events? How can other Brooklyn designers get involved?
Abbi: At first we reached out to friends and friends of friends and ended up with a pretty amazing group of women who make everything from lip balm, cards, and candles to hats, bags, and clothes. Since we both have our own jewelry lines (Jo with Alibi NYC and Abbi with Brooklyn Heavy Metal), we haven’t been taking on jewelry designers as of yet since we want to keep an even mix of clothing and accessories with a bit of beauty and home. After our first pop-up we realized just how many other amazing designers were out there and began getting contacted by designers who wanted to be involved via Facebook and Instagram. We did a lot more scouting this round and discovered even more designers who we had either heard of, but didn’t realize were local, or who we hadn’t heard of and absolutely loved! If we had to break down the criteria of what we’re looking for, we want designers and companies that are handmade in NYC. We are looking for higher-end products with a medium-to-high price point. Aesthetically we are drawn to things that have a level of elegant simplicity, but as they say the devil is in the details, which is why we also like a little edge as well. The shop is not driven by labels or trends but by the wish to create a space where our customers can discover something new, unique, and hand-made. Any designers interested in participating in future pop-ups can email us at email@example.com with a link to their website, social media links, and a line sheet/lookbook. We’re always looking for new Dreamers!
Rima: Which designers are you working with this round?
Abbi: We have an amazing group of designers that we are really excited about. Alessandra Rivera makes beautiful hand-made hats and can do custom pieces as well. BrooklynThread, a line of hand-made home jewels. Many pieces are one-of-a-kind since many of the pieces are hand-crafted from stones, crystals, and vintage pieces. H Fredriksson, a line of amazing sustainably-produced clothing out of original fabric prints created from the designer’s photographs and drawings. Karie Laks‘ collection is vintage-inspired and feminine with a sexy edge. Mad Brooklyn, a line of sculptural, handmade candles that reflect the designer’s somewhat surprising inner cryptic fascinations. Stewart & Claire‘s lip balms and scrubs were created by a former editor at Food & Wine who combines her passion for food and natural beauty products into a wonderful collection of lip products. Last but not least we will be carrying a small selection of sunglasses from Selima Optique. Selima is an exception to the rule since her frames are made in France. However, Selima is definitely a New York celebrity in her own right and Selima Optique is based in New York and has been for many years. Then, of course, we will be carrying our jewelry lines Alibi NYC and Brooklyn Heavy Metal as well.
Rima: What can our readers look forward to at your May pop-up event? Any special events planned?
Abbi: We officially open May 2nd with a launch party from 6-10 p.m. featuring small bites by El Rey, photo booth by bkstyled, gift bags for our first 35 guests with goodies from Manic Panic, MonicaHues, and Suite 303. May 3rd is “Sunday Bloody Sunday” with Santa Muerte Hot Sauce and Industry Standard Vodka. May 8th is “Freaky Friday” with special guests Las Brujas and palm readings by the founder of the Tarot Society. May 10th is “Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea” featuring a tasting and custom blending session with Té NYC. May 12th is “Tiki Tuesday” with Fort Defiance and Tirado Rum, May 14th is “Blow Me!” with a stylist from Suite 303 Salon doing blow outs and styling. May 16th and 17th is “Manicures and Mimosas” with Lady Fancy Nails, who will be booking appointments ahead of time, and nail decals by MonicaHues.
Rima: New York has become very saturated by pop-up shops over the last couple of years. What is Pop-Up for Dreamers doing to differentiate itself from all the others?
Abbi: “Pop-up” has definitely become a buzzword, especially in New York. Pop-Up for Dreamers is more than just a pop-up for us though. Besides being a means of supporting, promoting, and exhibiting locally-based emerging designers and companies, we are working to build connections and relationships with each pop-up to help one another succeed. New York is thriving with talented and driven creative people. Sadly with areas of Manhattan and Brooklyn becoming increasingly expensive and rents going through the roof for apartments and retail spaces alike, neighborhoods that were once full of small independent boutiques are being taken over by large chain stores now resembling high-end outdoor strip malls. As a small designer/business it is nearly impossible to stand up against large franchises with huge budgets and Pop-Up for Dreamers is trying to create a remedy for just that! We want to create a space that feels like a boutique, not a pop-up.
Rima: Any plans to host an event in Brooklyn this summer?
Abbi: Since we’re still “emerging” ourselves, one of our main criteria when searching for a venue is a good window and foot traffic! We have worked primarily with miLES when it comes to finding locations and had a great experience working with them. However their main territory is the LES. It would be amazing to do an event in Brooklyn soon, especially since many of our designers are based there.