Pretty Things & Cool Stuff raison d’être is to enlighten, engage, educate, empower, enrich, encourage, excite and entertain through discovery and delight.
We strive to do so through the undeniable power of books, thoughtfully and conscientiously curated gifts — with a heart for handcrafted — and artisanal, small-batch goodies to sip, savor and enjoy.
We do all of the above with a priority focus on, and deep commitment to People & Planet and working with and supporting partners who do the same.
Every day is a new day at Pretty Things & Cool Stuff. There is so much to discover, understand, learn about and determine how best to put into place and practice, as we work diligently to stay true to and deepen our purpose. We also are focused on how to better craft such to serve you and yours, and of course - People + Planet. (And, doing all of this doesn't always leave us much time to feed all of the always-hungry social media channels. Please know that we do love and care about you and want to engage and share, and that we are working on how to to a better job of such!)
Thank you so very much for believing in and supporting our mission!
THE BACK STORY
Never underestimate the power of the subconscious mind.
For years, I have been drawn to, lingered in and been delighted by thoughtfully and tastefully curated shops owned by dedicated, creative individuals committed to searching for and finding the beautiful, the clever, the enlightening —even the life changing — in all shapes, sizes and forms. Even more special are the ones who take the time and effort to seek out artists and artisans for their unique, handcrafted gems.
Pueblo Blue, Ken Knight and Sticks and Stones are ones from my past that immediately come to mind as inspirations. There are many others from my travels across the U.S. And many, many more in Europe - history and culture can be great preservatives, thank goodness!
And don't get me started about book stores! Hatchard's, Dumont's, La Hune, Collected Works, etc., etc., etc. I could live in any one of them — feeding the mind, heart and soul!
I miss them very badly.
Oh yes, some are still around, but more and more are being driven out of business as the Walmart Effect evolves into Amazon's drones. The impact of big box retailers shifting into smaller spaces will close even more.
For a long time, I've been keeping an ever-growing list of what I call pretty things and cool stuff — wonderful things that I discover and am delighted by during my travels, from readings and recommendations or from daily observations — especially when one taps that incredibly rich subconscious and learns to see, really see.
I love fine details like the pattern and texture of the bark on a tree and on a piece of hand-painted pottery. There are the hues each season brings and those in a handwoven scarf. And the way a piece of jewelry feels in your hand and when you wear it. There are books and music that give up good stories with ease or illuminate memories that you really feel and want to keep with you. And there are ones that plant a seed, change your life, and even change the world. Uh huh!
It's a global list. There are new things. And there are not so new things — vintage, retro,classic. Wabi-sabi, finely handcrafted and organic are guiding concepts
Noted film director Martin Scorsese once said, "There is no such thing as old film, Just pictures you've never seen before."
In a world when a nanosecond-old tweet is passé, and things flow by in a constant stream that erodes attention spans, time stamps are irrelevant. What really is important is meaning, discovery, enlightenment and delight!
And that's the raison d' être for Pretty Things & Cool Stuff.
I can see the capital "V" vision in my mind's eye - it involves Pretty Things & Cool Stuff becoming one of your favorite little shops where you can linger, discover, share and be delighted by what you find and make yours - or give to someone else! And because location is key, we are so very excited to be located at the corner of Discovery & DELIGHT!
We want to be the thoughtfully and tastefully curated source of discoveries new and vintage, handcrafted and locally grown, useful and delightful, meaningful, enlightening, inspirational and aspirational — crafted around community to bring DELIGHT! (Such a wonderful word — and state of mind — that makes you smile inside and out!)
Our Collections are starting places for Discovery, or pathways for you to explore further. And where they go will be shaped by YOU!
It's a big world out there with lots of stuff. A lot of it doesn't fit what Pretty Things & Cool Stuff is about. While we will work hard to find and offer thoughtful, enlightening and entertaining collections, we will look to you to help inform and guide our efforts.
Many things in our opening collections were passionately recommended by friends and family. And they are just a start. So, don't be shy! Tell us about books, artists, music and more that your are very passionate about. And, if you are looking for something special, give us a category and some direction, and we'll see what we can discover for you! Such fun!
We wouldn't be celebrating our Grand Opening if it weren't for some very special, talented, caring folks. First and foremost is my very dear - and very patient and encouraging - husband, Bill.
Then, there is our very dear little parakeet, Sybil, who will be celebrating her 14th birthday on Christmas! Sybil also is our official mascot, and you will see her keeping an eye on things perched on the street sign at the corner of Discovery & DELIGHT!
And of course, I am ever so appreciative of the artisans, publishers, service providers, etc. who have been such patient and caring partners in helping to get Pretty Things & Cool Stuff to this very important starting point!
It's overwhelming at times, but isn't every worthwhile and meaningful journey and adventure?
I've been a customer since I was old enough to point at whatever was brightly colored and sparkling on shopping trips with my Grandmother. And I've had my retail stints — from Sakowitz in my hometown, to Macy's to Apple.
As far as career goes, for the past 30ish years, I have been what I summarize as a Connecticator = Communicator + Connector, e.g. reporter, corporate marketer, advocacy communicator, teacher for not-for-profits, founder of a college scholarship fund for 8th graders, geekette, etc.
I have learned a lot just getting Pretty Things & Cool Stuff's doors open, and I know I have a lot more to learn. But that's the most exciting part! In addition to soaking up as much as possible about the operational side of things, I also am learning more about the incredible history of trade, commerce and retail.
Right now, I am engrossed in The Romance of Commerce by Harry Gordon Selfridge. Yes, that Selfridge. And this one. I tried to find a good copy from the first year his book was published in 1918, but this second printing from 1923 will have to do.
I also have the biography of Chuck Williams, Merchant of Sonoma: American Pioneer of the Kitchen, and Minding the Store by Stanley Marcus on my list.
Sustainability of Mother Earth and keeping People + Planet top of mind are core operational values at Pretty Things & Cool Stuff, and that is why Paul Hawken's Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability is our always-within-reach guide. We will be carrying books and other items that we think will help you do so, too, in your daily life.
This is the first step of a journey that I have been planning subconsciously — perchance even dreamt about — for a long time. And, it is the beginning of an adventure that already is very exciting — and nerve-wracking — and one that I really look forward to creating with you daily— at the corner of Discovery & DELIGHT!
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Thank you so very much for your time, interest and consideration - and for sharing Pretty Things & Cool Stuff with your friends!
HERE WE GO!
Kim Young, Proprietor - Pretty Things & Cool Stuff, LLC