In June 2013, former NARS publicist Julia Carmona and Lauren Katzberg, who worked as a management consultant at PA Consulting Group, launched at-home beauty-booking site TheStylisted (thestylisted.com) in Chicago, where they met and dreamt up the company while attending the University of Chicago business school. The Westchester natives recently relocated to NYC to expand their endeavor, with Carmona settling in the West Village—Katzberg’s former neighborhood of more than four years (she currently resides on the Upper East Side). “It’s like nowhere else in New York,” muses Carmona. “It’s so quaint, you don’t feel like you’re in Manhattan.” The duo loves to explore the area’s cobblestone streets and has discovered many indie stores that way. “As small-businesswomen, we appreciate supporting local [enterprises] and helping our fellow entrepreneurs,” notes Carmona.
Darling 1 Horatio St at Eighth Ave (646-336-6966, darlingnyc.com)
“It’s probably my favorite store in all of Manhattan,” declares Katzberg of this womenswear boutique. “It’s the first place I go if I need a dress for any occasion, from a casual picnic to a black-tie wedding. It’s a small shop, but the variety in there is incredible.” Katzberg credits owner Ann Emonts Sherman’s discerning eye for cherry-picking dresses ($85–$240) from popular labels such as BB Dakota, Karina and Bailey 44 that meet her girly aesthetic. “There’s lots of lace, lots of silk,” describes Katzberg. “[The clothing] is fun but not frivolous; it’s a sophisticated look, but there’s nothing austere about it.” Also of note: the delicate Sally Kay jewelry ($50–$250) displayed near the register. “It’s all of these gold wiry pieces that you can wear every day,” she says.
Ardian’s Tailor 5 Horatio St at 4th St (347-733-6651, ardianstailor.com)
Katzberg discovered this one-man operation on a recommendation from the staff at Darling and has gotten everything done, from small hem jobs ($20–$30) to complete overhauls ($45–$60) of bridesmaid dresses, there. “It is the tiniest of closets—if you’re not the only person there, you are waiting,” she says. “[Owner Ardian Garunja] is never really in a rush, so if you have an event, you need to call and remind him. But with that said, he is the best tailor I’ve ever used. You get the garment back and feel like it was made for your body.”
Personnel of New York 9 Greenwich Ave between Christopher and W 10th Sts (212-924-0604, personnelofnewyork.com)
“A lot of my family lives in L.A. and it reminds me of the boutiques there—really airy and light, with amazing, breezy knitwear ($70–$590),” says Katzberg of this spacious store for men and women. Although the pair ogles the splurgeworthy sweaters from Swedish brand Rodebjer ($390–$590), they’re likelier to buy more affordable Greylin dresses ($195), and Alice Park wallets ($65) and clutches ($280). “It also carries [clothing from] Mara Hoffman ($146–$888), which you don’t really see that much in New York,” notes Carmona. “Her stuff makes me want to run to South Beach.”
Foreign beauty products
Avignone Chemists 281 Sixth Ave at Bleecker St (212-989-5568)
This spot is the only place in New York that carries Carmona’s favorite lip balm, from French company Labello ($7). “It has a huge collection of beauty finds from around the world,” she enthuses. Aside from obscure overseas labels, Carmona shops for salon-sized hair-care products ($5–$100) from Biolage and Bumble and bumble. “You can buy in bulk there,” she says. “It is the Costco of upscale shampoos.” Katzberg, meanwhile, heads to Avignone for the vast assortment of facial loofahs ($4–$20). “It has every single texture and size loofah that is made in this world,” she swears. “Also, one of the best things about this place is the really great samples—they’ll let you take home three. It’s how I tried Mario Badescu’s honey moisturizer ($25).”
Giftable home decor
Leo Design 543 Hudson St between Charles and Perry Sts (212-929-8466, leodesignnyc.com)
“It’s the old soul in me,” says Carmona of her love for the American-made vintage housewares ($22–$495) at this curated store. “Everything is really handsome, so it’s a good store for shopping for men.” A recent visit turned up handcrafted wooden storage boxes ($95–$200), a set of crystal Scotch glasses (four for $75) and a hedgehog bottle opener ($90). “You feel like you’re in the living room of a hoarder who has really good taste,” describes Carmona.
Indie designer add-ons
Albertine 13 Christopher St between Greenwich Ave and Waverly Pl (212-924-8515, albertine.co)
“Everyone is so incredibly helpful and knowledgeable about every single piece,” enthuses Carmona of the staff at this slim shop, which carries women’s clothing ($185–$725) and accessories ($50–$100) from emerging labels. “Anything we touched, [owner Kyung Lee] told us about it.” Of particular interest are the handmade leather bags ($215–$300) from local brands such as Meanderware and Thomas IV, as well as the unique statement baubles ($200–$295). “[Madame Fortuna designer Allison Nowlin Ward] finds old lockets, and refinishes and repurposes them on these really funky chains,” says Carmona.
Affordable nail salon
Wistaria Nail Spa 10 Christopher St between Gay St and Greenwich Ave (212-929-2226)
“It’s never crowded; I can usually walk in and get a chair right away,” says Carmona of her go-to spot for reasonably priced manicures ($10) and pedicures ($20). “It has a huge variety of Essie polish—colors I’ve never seen—and most importantly, [the technicians] open a fresh package of tools every single time you go in.” She’s also a fan of the ten-minute massages ($10), performed on cush leather recliners. “You can get a manicure, pedicure and 20-minute massage for $45,” she notes. “It’s like a treat-yourself kind of deal and it’s available any day of the week.”
Blessed Peacemakers 159 Seventh Ave South at Waverly Pl (212-510-7814, blessedpeacemakers.tumblr.com)
“It’s fantastic for night-out must-haves,” says Carmona, who favors the boutique’s vast assortment of Yumi Kim dresses ($196–$304), designed by owner Kim Phan. “All of the clothing is very colorful,” adds Katzberg, who gravitates toward the selection of trendy Dolce Vita shoes ($129–$150). “You can really get a complete head-to-toe outfit.” Carmona once scored a “ridiculously sparkly” Ricki Designs clutch on sale for $42. “It looks very Studio 54,” she jokes. You can expect such finds after a bit of intrepid digging. “[The store] is bite-size—you could make your way around it in ten minutes,” admits Carmona. “But in the middle, there are these little ottomans that are actually storage for some extra stock of clutches ($68–$95) and jewelry ($18–$52) that [the staff] opened up for me.”
Star Struck Vintage Clothing 47 Greenwich Ave between Charles and Perry Sts (212-691-5357, starstruckvintage.com)
Katzberg first discovered this store, which carries items for both sexes from the ’30s through ’80s, after a friend suggested it for sourcing a last-minute Halloween costume. “I’d probably passed it a hundred times,” she admits. “It doesn’t look too special from the outside,” seconds Carmona. “But you can find pieces for outrageously affordable prices. Every square inch is covered in something you can buy, so you’re treasure hunting for sure.” While the range of fur coats ($125–$145), and ’80s and ’90s graphic tees ($10–$20) are memorable, the pair prefers sifting through the accessories. “If I had a Gatsby event to attend, I would definitely go here because it has some really amazing hats ($35–$110),” says Carmona. “There were some nice Coach leather bags ($45–$55) there the last time we were in, and Lauren has a friend who walked out with $90 Chanel satin slingbacks. We didn’t go that day.”
Follow Cristina Velocci on Twitter: @cvelocci