Over the past seven years it's been such a gift to see how our little brand has grown and evolved. From launching a Kickstarter project back in 2012 to quitting my freelance gigs a few years later to work on Kordal full time and hiring our first team member Jia Yee, we've reached milestones I couldn't have imagined. I'm still pinching myself that on November 30th, 2019 we opened the doors of our very own store.
Creating a space that felt representative of our brand, ideals and ethos was extremely important. The first step towards this was finding the perfect location. Through serendipitous conversations we were introduced to Henry Rich, the owner of Rhodora, NYC's first zero waste restaurant and wine bar. We learned that the storefront next door to his restaurant was available to rent starting Nov. 1st, and after meeting with the Rhodora team and seeing the space we knew that we had found our home. Big glass front windows, a tree outside surrounded by a wooden bench, an original brick wall with wooden shelving perfectly dividing the space for us to set up a studio in the back, and the rainbow. That's right, there's a rainbow that shines through the space every sunny day, and we took it as a sign! 🌈
We had 25 days to transform the space from an ice cream shop that was set up for food service into a design studio and retail space. Our little team designed and built out the storefront with the help of a few friends and contractors, using mostly second hand materials and furniture. We hope you'll enjoy this little sneak peek into our shop build out and perhaps find a little inspiration to spruce up a space of your own!
The next step was sketching & creating specs for our custom builds. We worked with our friend Dan to design a bench that provided us the space to gather community, store inventory and display products. We designed a drawer system below the bench for storage and a slanted back for comfort. For our dressing room it was important that it felt comfortable and spacious for our customers. As this would require a larger footprint, we took advantage of the back wall space and incorporated small cubbies to house some of our smaller products. Taking a nod from the shelving layout in the brick dividing wall, we designed the cubbies to mimic the same geometric shapes.
Once the larger pieces were under construction we began sourcing all of the other items needed to open up shop: a point of sale counter, a dressing room mirror, a display table, etc. Working with a tight budget while also trying to source sustainably meant we looked for second hand options first. Luckily we stumbled across The Big Reuse, the most incredible place on earth! We scored a travertine table base for $60 (previously the stand for a sink basin), our dressing room mirror for $30 and a marble slab and a wooden base for our point of sale counter for just $10! Huge shout out to The Big Reuse, we love you guys! They also host the NYC Compost Project, part of a community-scale composting network that works to rebuild our soils by providing New Yorkers with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities they need to produce and use compost locally.
Finally all of the pieces started coming together and we miraculously were able to open up shop in just three weeks! The final touches came from Andrew & Son construction who installed our garment racks, gave the floors a new paint job and built out our dressing room partition; our friends and family who volunteered their time to paint the shop walls with us; the dream team Etvernal who installed the dried grasses in our front window (which we plan to rotate seasonally!) and added other plant life inside the shop; artist Molly Haynes who lended us her gorgeous weaving to be displayed on the front wall as part of our rotating artist feature; and of course our incredible team who did all the things in between!
On November 30th we opened our doors for the very first time! We shared our first day with some old friends, met some new ones and toasted to a new adventure, and the following Thursday we hosted a party to properly kick off the shop! Organic wines were served, my little sis brought the best homemade cookies you can imagine and artist Amber Vittoria created custom illustrations for our guests!
We are so very thrilled to share our new shop with you all and hope you'll swing by to say hello, check out one of our workshops or find us at our Thoughtful Happy Hour at Rhodora every second Monday of each month!
You can find us on a quiet street in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, nestled between Rhodora, our favorite zero waste wine bar, and Peckish, our local coffee shop which also happens to have the absolute best homemade dog treats!
Kordal Studio & Shop
45 Willoughby Ave
Brooklyn NY 11205
Tuesday - Saturday 12pm - 7pm
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Like many of us, I was introduced to Ilana Glazer through the genius of Broad City, a show that she and pal Abbi Jacobson created and starred in. So when Ilana came to our Fort Greene shop last fall, we just about lost it! We shared that this year is Kordal's ten year anniversary and it would be such an honor to feature her in our Lived in Series to mark the occasion. Fast forward a few months later and Ilana is rolling up to set in Crown Heights on her bike, and yes, she's just as cool and kind as you'd expect. She's generous with her time, has everyone cracking up and looks incredible in our knits - even on a humid 90 degree day. We got a chance to talk about pregnancy and healthcare, how styling informs her characters, and finding levity amidst existential challenges.