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Monday, November 16, 2020

Store Profile: Norman & Jules – Brooklyn USA

With second waves leading to lockdowns across the globe supporting the independent stores is on our minds. Of course there are wonderful products and finds from larger online retailers, but the market would we be all the poorer without the diversity and personal curation that the smaller independent stores offer us. So make sure to checkout the Pirouette Store Profile Features to discover some of our favourites in the lead up to Christmas.

First up is Brooklyn based Norman & Jules, with both a bricks and mortar store and e-commerce shop normanandjules.com. Founders – husband and wife team Courtney Ebner and Avi Kravitz, recently relocated the store to Gowanus, Brooklyn from Park Slope, Brooklyn.

 

Norman & Jules – children’s boutique shop, Brooklyn, NY

Courtney Ebner and Avi Kravitz, husband and wife team and creators of Norman & Jules.
Courtney Ebner and Avi Kravitz, husband and wife team, and creators of Norman & Jules.

From the budding artist, to the curious one, to the little rockstar make sure to check out their 2020 holiday gift guide for some wonderful finds. Now to discover a little more about the store…

How​ ​important​ ​is​ ​​location?
When we opened 8 years ago our location was very important. We were located on a busy street in the center of Park Slope, which was a Brooklyn neighbourhood full of families with young children. Our shop was a block away from an elementary school and surrounded by other specialty shops. The Avenue was a destination—so full of life—and it was great to open there.

Since moving to Gowanus, our brick-and-mortar location isn’t the main focus anymore. We are only a mile away, but on a quieter street. We made the move because we needed more storage space, less rent, and less square footage dedicated to the retail storefront. It’s wonderful to see how many of our regular customers are taking the walk over, and we are meeting so many new customers with young children in our neighbourhood.

Norman and Jules kid's store, NY

When​ ​did​ ​you​ ​start​ ​to​ ​sell​ ​online?
We launched our first e-commerce site in 2015. There was no marketing behind it—we just kind of put it out into the world and hoped for the best. The site always had a little traffic on it, but it wasn’t until 2017 that we really started to push e-commerce.

Do​ ​you​ ​feel​ ​having​ ​a​ ​bricks​ ​and​ ​mortar​ ​store​ ​helps​ ​your​ ​online​ ​presence?
I absolutely think that having a brick-and-mortar location helped to launch our online presence. Customers gravitate towards a back story; showing that Norman & Jules are real people made them feel closer to the store and created a sense of trust.

What​ ​percentage​ ​of​ ​total​ ​sales​ ​does​ ​the​ ​bricks​ ​and​ ​mortar​ ​represent?
Over the last 8 months our business has really shifted to a stronger e-commerce shop. Up until recently our brick and mortar was 65% of our business, but now I would say it’s about 15%.

Could​ ​you​ ​please​ ​talk​ ​to​ ​us​ ​about​ ​the​ ​past​ ​year​ ​with​ ​your​ ​store​ ​and​ ​what​ ​you​ ​have​ ​planned for​ ​the​ ​future?
At the start of the year, Avi and I were having a lot of discussions around how to grow Norman & Jules and maybe even reimagine the brand. Our conversations were very exciting and inspiring, and led us to dream up a whole other venture around the notion of play. We obviously had to put that on hold due to COVID-19. Pandemic circumstances aside, it still made sense for us to bring down our overhead by focusing less on the physical location and more on e-commerce. The move has helped us to do that, and given us the mental space to reconsider the future of the brand.

childrens store Brooklyn Norman and Jules

How​ ​do​ ​you​ ​source​ ​the​ ​labels​ ​you​ ​carry?​
Sourcing the brands we carry is so much fun! We do tons and tons of research via social media—mainly Instagram and just regular ol’ Google.

We haven’t traveled to any trade shows as of yet, but we are lucky to be in New York and have access to a lot. The local shows we go to are Playtime, NYNOW and Hudson Collective. For us, the shows are really more about having a conversation and saying hello to the brands and people we have built relationships with.

Always​ ​difficult​ ​to​ ​choose​ ​a favourite​ ​but​ ​please​ ​try…​ ​name​ ​5​ ​favourite​ ​brands?
Moon Picnic, Main Sauvage, Oioooi Design, Konges Slojd, Grapat

What​ ​features​ ​and​ ​practises​ ​do​ ​you​ ​feel​ ​create​ ​repeat​ ​custom​ ​and​ ​a​ ​loyal​ ​customer​ ​base?
A sense of trust is key. We do our homework to vet all the products we carry—it’s important for us to be able to stand behind the brands we love. We are very deliberate in presenting how each and every product fulfils a certain need, no matter how niche, and demonstrating why it is or isn’t right for you. Overall, we’ve stayed true to our original mission to be more thoughtful about what products come into our home and yours.

A​ ​favourite​ ​quote​ ​or​ ​comment​ ​by​ ​a​ ​customer?
I used to have a bunch saved in my phone and unfortunately that list is gone. There are some really good ones that I just cannot pull from my memory right now. I’m sorry.

There was one time that a customer walked in and started speaking to our daughter, then probably 3 years old, and Charley said “Oh hi, I’m the kid of the toy store. Welcome.”

Finally,​ ​describe​ ​your​ ​store​ ​in​ ​terms​ ​of​ ​personality​ ​and​ ​something​ ​unique​ ​to ​your​ ​store…
Norman & Jules represents the intersection of play and function. We love when smart design comes together with beautifully made objects. Our selection of goods is really meant to suit the needs and concerns of modern families. We are always listening and evolving to address those needs, whether by offering more sustainably-made products or toys that support the development of specific skill sets. We see each child as individual, and try to be as inclusive as possible when choosing what we carry.

Nest Bowls by Grapat - Norma & Jules children's boutique shop
Nest Bowls by Grapat
Beauty Set by Konges Slojd, Norma & Jules children' shop NY
Beauty Set by Konges Slojd

kids boutique NY Norman & Jules

 


Norman & Jules

68 Third Street Brooklyn,
NY 11231

https://normanandjules.com/

Opening hours: Every Day  10:00–6:00 pm



from Pirouette https://www.pirouetteblog.com/business/company-profiles/stores/store-profile-norman-jules-brooklyn-usa/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=store-profile-norman-jules-brooklyn-usa
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