Good morning dear readers! Today’s post is dedicated to those of you in the Windy City, as I’m thrilled to share an interview with space519 owner and creator of therichmond.net, Lance Lawson. Coined by him as a “general store that’s anything but general” this gorgeously chic shop offers an expertly curated collection of treasures, from apothecary indulgences to the latest fashions. We would be so lucky to have a space519 here in the Big D! And so, without further ado, I give you my interview with Mr. Lawson. Enjoy!
Do tell, how did you come up with the idea for space519?
My partner Jim Wetzel and I previously owned a store that focused exclusively on designer clothing. When we were buying for that store, taking trips all over the country and the world, we kept running across many products that we loved. So with space519 we created a store that has a wide array of product categories and price points to truly present all of our favorite things.
Give us a hint, what inspires you?
I am aesthetically driven. So everywhere I go, I find things that speak to me. I was at an old school steak house in rural Wisconsin this past weekend and there was a wall tile in the men’s room that I loved. It was this amazing faux marble linoleum from the 40s that looked like a Jackson Pollock painting. My phone is full of lists and photos of those moments.
What are your favorite items in your gorgeous store?
I really love our assortment of art, cooking and travel books. I feel like even in this digital age there are times when you have to hold a book in your hands – especially in these categories where the photos and quality of paper are so central to the experience. I also love our assortment of apothecary items from the legendary Parisian hair stylist David Mallett, and we have the coolest new sunglasses by Illesteva.
How do you choose which merchandise to carry?
We tear tons of things out of magazines and are online all the time sourcing brands. For the vintage furniture we carry I do most of my sourcing at local estate sales and auctions, we also go to the New York Gift Show, women’s markets in New York and Paris, as well as London. We are shoppers at heart so wherever we travel we find things, and a lot of our adventures are on my blog. Also, I have some neat city guides on London and Paris on my blog.
Do you have any tips for young entrepreneurs/business owners?
Do your research and be novel. So many people open stores when they don’t have a real creative vision. Liking to shop or liking clothes isn’t enough. You need to have perspective and fill an actual need in your community. For instance many of the items we carry are exclusive to us in Chicago.
What do you hope for in terms of the future of space519?
We are looking to expand – but not open more cookie cutter versions of our current concept. Instead we would like to go into markets and see what they lack – what that community would respond to.