A Valentine’s Shop Pops Up in Manhattan: It’s a Love Story

    By adrienne_burke | Small Business

    New Yorkers have no excuse for coming home tonight with nothing more than bouquets from the bodega for their Valentines. The ever-changing theme boutique STORY is all about love this month, and features dozens of ways to shop small and local for your lover. STORY marketing gurus say their current curated shopping experience explores “love's capacity to inspire a work of art, delight the palette, surprise the nose, and even grow.”

    We reported here last summer about Rachel Shechtman, the retail industry consultant who is on a mission to elevate the consumer experience of the brick and mortar store to what she calls “translational storytelling.” STORY is her 2,000-square-foot shop on 10th Avenue at 19th Street in Manhattan that she says “has the point of view of a magazine, changes like a gallery, and sells things like a store.”

    Shechtman swaps out the entire inventory and interior design every three to eight weeks, and managed to achieve profitability her first year, generating revenue from a combination of sales, brand partnerships, and sponsorships, such as a collaboration with ad agency Made Movement on a popular “Made in America” story last summer.

    Shechtman says her February-into-March STORY is “as much an effort to understand love as it is a celebration of life's most enigmatic emotion.” Products and events in the store draw on love stories such as the social-experiment-turned-viral-love-story of two friends, Manhattan designers who documented “40 Days of Dating” each other (spoiler: it didn’t work out).

    STORY’s merchandise this month includes “Love Me” branded tees, totes, and teddies designed by New York artist Curtis Kulig, as well as romantic cards, luxury imported chocolates, made-in-New York City lingerie from Only Hearts, and skivvies from Swedish brand Bread and Boxers. Where other retailers can really take some inspiration from Shechtman is the way she’s luring busy New York shoppers into her store.

    Starting February 4 and through late March, STORY is hosting a series of on site events and workshops. Events include bouquet building with New York houseplant deliver service, The Sill; a demonstration and discussion of scent with the noses behind the olfactory branding company 12.29; a DIY Valentine card-making class with Brooklyn Craft Co.; an Online Dating 101 course with the founder of eFlirt Expert; a socializing strategy session with the Professional Wingman; a book talk from the author of All My Friends Are Engaged; and an evening of cupcakes and cocktails with New York’s famed Magnolia Bakery.

    Of course, another part of the attraction for shoppers who hate to miss out on anything, is that the theme-store is temporary. Like many a love connection, this STORY won’t last.

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