Bleulili Home, located on Third Avenue near East 80th Street, will offer a curated collection of products including soaps, stationery, lighting and furniture. Husband and wife owners Peter and Lisa Caroline Harkins plan to source many items from small businesses and artisans in order to create a unique shopping experience that aims to bring popular lifestyle websites to life.
“Pinterest is very key to our business,” Lisa Caroline Harkins said of the popular social network. “We’re sort of creating a life-sized Pinterest board, if you will, so that people can feel inspired by our products.”
Before opening her own store, she spent years as a decorator and a merchandiser, designing window displays for retailers. She has used that experience to find unique products for Bleulili Home.
The store will carry handmade furniture from Aiden Gray and pillows from Lacefield Designs, an artisanal home goods company based in Atlanta. In addition, she is collaborating with New York-based lighting company Canopy Designs to produce custom chandeliers for the store. The collection will be rounded out by organic soaps made by a Brooklyn artisan and handmade cards from small stationers.
The couple, who lives on the Upper East Side, chose the neighborhood for their first store because they saw a need for a shop with a more personal feel amid all the big-box stores.
“The Upper East Side is changing dramatically. I was with a friend recently who has moved away from the neighborhood and she was amazed by how many interesting new places have opened,” Lisa Caroline Harkins said. “There’s really a sense of culture and that artistic environment emerging whereas before it felt more commercial, so there's a niche for us”
In addition to carrying unique products, the store will be set up differently from many home goods retailers.
“We’ve noticed that more and more, people want to shop in places that have a theme or a story to them,” Peter Harkins said. “Rather than just splitting things up into sections by product, the items will be coordinated and displayed together to create a certain feeling."
In addition, Lisa Caroline Harkins said she plans to offer free monthly workshops on different design topics such as how to create a beautiful bookshelf display or how to set an interesting holiday table. She will also maintain a blog for the store to give customers ideas on how to incorporate different items into their homes.
“So many times you go into someone’s home and you see a setup that you’ve seen a million times before. You think, 'Oh, that’s from this or that store,” she said. “I want the products to not be immediately identifiable, to feel like maybe you traveled all over the world and just found these beautiful things and put them together.”
The average price for items will be around $250. However, prices will range from $5 for some stationary items to $2,000 for furniture and chandeliers. The couple wanted to make sure that at least some elements of the store would be accesible for everyone.
Bleulili Home, at 1407 Third Ave., is expected to open by the end of May.