Stylish and Sustainable Gift Shop Opens in New York City
Buying local is more than just a buzzword at Magpie on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The eco-minded gift shop on Columbus Avenue is my new favorite neighborhood store with its well-curated selection of fair trade, recycled, or local home decor, stationery, and accessories. Many of the sustainable gifts are from local designers and companies based in the New York area. Some of my favorite items are Buddha Beeswax Candles handmade in upstate New York, an adorable Recycled Sweater Squirrel by Sweatertoys and the Lavender Lemon Soap by Meow Meow Tweet from Brooklyn. As you know I’m a big supporter of local businesses since it creates jobs and cuts back on the carbon footprint of a product.
Magpie’s owner Sylvia is incredibly knowledgeable about every single item in her store. She has a great passion for designs that are handcrafted by fair trade cooperatives from all around the world. Many of her products I encountered for the first time even that I’ve been writing about sustainable design for many years. Her keen eye for beautiful design made of organic, recycled, renewable or sustainable materials is reflected throughout the interior design as well. Displays consist of smart finds from flea markets and thrift shops that are in high demand by her customers. It’s no surprise since Sylvia was a buyer for the American Folk Art Museum Shop and a retail consultant for the South Street Seaport Museum. Some of her new fair trade items include the Fez Handpainted Mugs made by artisans in Tunisia or the Higuerilla Wood Bowl made in Peru from managed forests. Or check out the colorful Tsuy Bud Vases that are handpainted and glazed by artisans in Vietnam. As for the name, Sylvia mentioned that magpies are attracted to shiny objects and like to bring them back to their nests. To her the name seemed like a great way to represent the shop’s offbeat, eclectic mix and I couldn’t agree more. Now you know where you’ll find me shopping for eco-friendly gifts during the upcoming holiday season.