-your name, name of store, year opened
Rena Tom, Rare Device, est. Oct 2005
-tell us a bit about your shop and your inspiration to open
The store features a bit of everything - housewares, gifts, clothing, bags, books, jewelry. I like "designed" objects that have some special point of view, or that you can look at and not get tired of in a year. I opened my store because I was working at home every day in isolation and was incredibly lonely :) OK that's only part of it! I had one of those "I can do that" moments when I saw all the great, tiny boutiques in NYC. I also love helping my designer friends get exposure in new markets, and I wanted to show off my California people over here.
-what item is currently on your covet list? what could you not resist buying for yourself?
Oh, I have pretty good restraint, but I can't help but covet the Hudson satchel from Hayden-Harnett, and an Inhabit Structures "shake" pendant made from old watch components and gemstones, encased in a layer of glass. And I own a top from Augustine's first collection - I first met Kelly Lynn Jones (one of the designers) when we were both selling stuff at a tiny craft fair in Oakland, I have a printed T from that fair and now I have something from her fashion line and it's great to see the progression!
-who is your personal "it" designer right now?
That is a tough one. For high design, I love everything Jasper Morrison does. But, I really like anyone doing something evocative or thoughtful, something beyond pretty. For example, I am trying to get these handmade journals from Germany - the designer considers everything, from paper color to texture to weight to pattern to construction. They are just simple exercise books but each is just right as an object. Also there is a couple here in New York working with leather to make amulet necklaces. Generally I am not into something like that but again, the presentation, the thoughtfulness and the workmanship is really impressive, and you can just tell the necklaces are special when you see one in person.
-what is your advice for designers who want to be carried in your store?
Make sure your product would be a good fit. Send a professional email with good clear photos, dimensions, prices and terms. Tell me why your product is special. Alternately - make a website, get some blog press, do fairs or shows, and I will probably find you :)
-what is the biggest trend that is currently impacting your buying decisions?
Cleanly constructed with a special detail or handmade touch. For example, bags are losing the heavy hardware and gaining braided handles, pleats and interesting silhouettes. Also, color. I love my greys but colors are going to be super bright this spring, in fashion and housewares alike.
rena tom, owner/buyer Rare Device