One of my favorite things about blogging is sharing inspiring spaces, products and people. Today’s store spotlight post covers all three of those things. Woonwinkel is a beautiful space filled with lovely products, and it’s also run by two inspiring women, Kristin Van Buskirk and Erica Essink. Portland Monthly recently named Woonwinkel best design store, and I can’t help but think Kristin and Erica have helped shape the new modern aesthetic: clean lines, but comfortable and natural. Colorful accessories and furniture can be found throughout the store, and the space perfectly highlights products from designers both near and far.
This weekend, Woonwinkel is turning one and everyone’s invited to the party. That includes all you out-of-towners too! They are offering up to 20% off everything in the entire store AND the discount is available online too!
As for the in-store festivities, there will be champagne, treats, and discounts. My kind of party! Now, here’s Kristin and Erica’s story…
Names: Kristin Van Buskirk and Erica Essink
Store address: 935 SW Washington Street, Portland, OR, 97205
Tell us about you – what’s your story? We dreamed up Woonwinkel when Kristin was living in The Netherlands and really becoming enamored with Dutch design. Part of it was the quirky, comfortable modern aesthetic, and part of it was the admiration of the independent design scene there. It’s very well established–independent designers in Europe have been quite successful in delivering cutting edge work partly because of free education and grants and there also seem to be plenty of venues for showing work. There are some great independent designers in North America too but it’s harder to stay independent here–designers have to rely a lot more on the salebility of their work. So we decided to help in a small way by creating a venue for them.
Tell us about your shop – what products and services do you offer? We offer a carefully chosen mix of furniture, home accessories, and gifts by independent designers from Europe and North America.
What’s your style and what are you “known” for? We call our style new modern: warm, inviting, tactile, quirky. The objects in our store are often made of natural materials–wood, wool, clay–but with clean, modern lines. But what we’re probably most known for is our love of color. We love accessories in bold, bright colors.
Favorite product in your store right now? Our favorite product right now is probably a good example of our style. The Perrette bowls by Y’a Pas Le Feu Au Lac are inspired by old buckets like the ones you’d find on farms in the Upper Jura region of France. They’re made of a light-colored lime tree wood, and the handles are painted in cheerful, bright glossy colors.
Story behind your store’s name: Woonwinkel means home shop in Dutch. Kristin was learning the language when we cooked up the idea of this shop, and we sort of used it as a code word. But we realized it had a nice ring to it in English too—it tells a lot about us—it’s not too serious.
Favorite part about owning your shop: It’s really fun to be surrounded by beautiful things but most of all we love getting to know the people who shop here and sharing the stories behind our products.
We also enjoy having our families in the store with us. Some of our most cherished moments include Kristin’s mom and baby boy playing for hours on a blanket on the floor while we did inventory, or Erica’s son lining up illustrations on the window sill of the products he’d like to sell.
Where do you find inspiration? Anytime we get a chance to travel we enjoy seeing the work of designers all over the world. Milan Design Week (especially any show at Spazio Rosanna Orlandi), Mint in London, Frozen Fountain in Amsterdam, Dutch Design Week in Einhoven…the list goes on.
Most memorable store moment, customer or client? I think the first time a journalist came into the store and starting taking pictures we both ran into the back room and did a little happy dance.
Hottest trend of the season? Indulgently sunny yellow.
What does the future hold for your store? Soon we’ll start bringing more temporary shows of designers’ work into our space–we’re looking forward to that.
Can we find your store on Facebook and Twitter? Yes! Find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/woonwinkel/133980386633358 and our Twitter handle is @woonwinkelhome.
Anything else you’d like to say? If you haven’t been to the West End neighborhood of Portland lately, come take a look. It’s changing every day and would be our favorite neighborhood in Portland even if we didn’t have a shop here!
Seems like this Saturday is shaping up to be a shopping day! It’s Portland Flea time and Woonwinkel’s sale…what else could you ask for?
P.S. You can find Woonwinkel at 935 SW Washington Street and they will be open 11-6 on Saturday. Happy shopping!