Every Thursday, Stephanie Osei asks employees and employers at our favorite shops around the world what their most cherished in-store item is at that exact moment for Staff Affections. This week, we caught up with New York City's boutique Project No.8 at the Ace Hotel about the Isaac Reina Hidden Pencil Pouch.
Kersti, staff member at Project No.8:
Because it's in a hotel, Project No.8 is very conscious to the needs of the traveler. What essentials can't they leave the store without?
Well, the Isaac Reina pencil pouch is my favorite piece in the store. All of the pieces we carry by Isaac Reina are very simple and unisex. It can be carried by a man or a woman, which is really nice. Isaac Reina used to work for Hermès, Margiela and Cacharel, and has had his own line now for five years. Another item would be our Fürst pencils. They are traditional architectural pencils that come in some lovely colors, and really beautiful too. We also have some publications produced by Project No.8 owners Elizabeth Beer and Brian Janusiak under their line Various Projects which are really beautiful.
Does this Isaac Reina piece work best as a pencil case or can it be used as a multi-purpose item?
Yes, for sure. I put my YSL lipsticks, pencils, and film canisters in it actually. I carry a tote bag and I can’t stand digging around and the pencil pouch fits in perfectly. Most of Isaac Reina’s pieces are purposeful in his designs.
Describe the dynamic of having a retail store within a hotel environment.
It’s interesting because we get a pretty wide mix of people coming into this store. A lot of people who live in the city come here as a destination, but we also have a lot of travelers coming through and it’s really nice interacting with them. Which is interesting because the aesthetic of the store is quite different to the aesthetic of the hotel. So they’re usually pretty curious about what we carry and why. Every product in the store is specifically picked and has a pretty long story behind it.
Does the fact that the Project No. 8 store resides in the Ace Hotel influence the merchandise selection?
The merchandise over at our Lower East Side store is primarily clothing, some accessories, leather goods, footwear and jewelry. All Various Projects pieces are available there too. Here at the Ace Hotel it’s the owners’ idea of what they would want to buy at a travel store. It's items that they think are very special, and a lot pertaining to New York City. We always develop a relationship with the people we work with and are really conscious of the story behind the products, why someone’s making it, the vision, the design behind it. So it’s quite a big criteria to be in the shop.
What are three words that best describe the Project No.8 store?
Useful, refined and interesting.