In our Ask a Shopkeeper series, we tap the coolest store owners we know to tour their space and ask them which items are trending now — and next. For this episode, Margaret Austin, Hannah Rieke and Julia Edelman, the co-founders of Overview in Brooklyn – take us to their new concept store.
Why did you decide to open Outline?
Margaret Austin: Opening and running a store was always a dream of mine, but after working as a buyer for four years, I felt I needed a change, so I left it to become a librarian. It took me a semester of graduate school to realize how much I’d missed it. As I walked through Brooklyn (where I grew up!) and saw the damage COVID had done to the retail landscape, I felt the opportunity to help fix was clear. I reached out to old friends Julia and Hannah, and Outline’s seeds were planted.
How would you describe the layout of the store?
Hannah Rieke: We wanted the space to feel inviting, natural and cozy. To my mind’s eye, the store is split into two parts: the main shop floor at the front has a classic shop feel and the common area at the back – consisting of the living room, studio and garden – has a very homey feel. An integral aspect of the design is the custom millwork of our talented friends Antoine Dumas and Benji Gavron; they designed and manufactured the custom shelves throughout the space, as well as the bench area in the front.
What kind of household items do you carry and how do you find your sellers?
Austin: We have a very carefully curated range of household items, from ceramics to paper lamps to garden tools. Two of our brands, Casa Adams from Sydney and Kutsurogu from Tokyo, I found on Instagram. Neither of them had ever sold wholesale in the US before, so that was cool. Then there is Jan Burtz—
Julia Edelman: This is my mother! She started selling her pottery to ABC Carpet & Home when she was 26 or 27. Now her studio is in my family home in Connecticut. We collaborated to create a special collection of exclusive vases and color combinations.
What renos did you bring to the store?
River: The first time we saw the space it was gutted, filled wall to wall with building materials, so this meant we had a clean slate to work with. But because the layout matched our concept and vision so perfectly, we didn’t want to make any structural changes. Apart from the beautiful windows and two skylights, which flood the rear with light, we have renovated every inch of the space. Most importantly, we had always dreamed of having a workshop in the store and the glass atrium was the perfect place for that. We added the green and white cement Mosaic House tiles and a 5 meter long farmhouse sink for making bouquets with flowers from our garden.
The garden! Whose idea was it and how do you see customers using that space?
Nobleman: I knew I wanted the garden to function both as an aesthetically beautiful space and as a cut flower space where I can harvest flowers for the bouquets we will be selling. The garden is a bit wild, with flowers growing in all directions, just as I imagined. We will also host several backyard events and encourage customers to go outside to enjoy the space.
Tell me about the inspiration behind the bathroom.
Austin: We knew we wanted to go over the top.
River: Honestly, I didn’t expect it to get to the point where it is now. We had a strong feeling that we didn’t want it to be like the rest of the store. We fell in love with the pink Key tile and the House of Hackney wallpaper but couldn’t choose between the two so we decided to do both! It snowballed from there.