Twenty-two years ago, I opened a little shop on Bleecker Street. I had no idea what I was doing. I had little idea of what I liked. And I had no idea how long this gambol would continue. What I did know was what I wanted to do: I wanted to sell “Handsome Gifts.” I knew that I had a lot of energy and was willing to spend it. And I realized that I was sailing into the mists of an unknowable future.
Things went well. Initial orders of “ones and twos” grew to orders of dozens and hundreds. I hired staff and we started opening seven days a week. I began to fold antique items into the product mix—and someone told me it was called “Arts & Crafts.” I got to shop in wonderful places like Paris, London, Capetown and Edinburgh. And I got to meet wonderful people. Most were lovely (and supportive) neighborhood people and others were named Whoopi or Gwyneth or Brad.
I learned a lot—possibly enough to merit an MBA. I learned how to drill a hole, how to refinish floors, how to wire a lamp. I learned how to line a box, how to build a website and how to complete import documents. I learned how to read a hallmark, how to program a cash register and how to create a handsome, eye-catching display window. Most of all, I learned what I liked, I learned what was important to me and I learned that I must find, train and retain the best, most loyal team—and grab them the minute they walked through my door.
Today I find myself on the other end of this rich and wonderful story. And, strangely, I find myself back where I began. Once more I find myself at the start of something new—invigorated, happy, hopeful—looking-out into the mists of a new chapter.
Please be patient with me and please don’t disappear. Check my website or Instagram account where I’ll announce any new developments. And keep visiting my on-line store which will continue to operate into the future.
Most of all, thank you for your purchases over 22 wonderful years.
LEO Design will be closing its doors today at 4:00. Please visit our on-line shop where all remaining merchandise is on-sale (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
Follow us on Instagram: “leodesignhandsomegifts”