There is a shopaholic deep down in all of us. It is just that some are more equipped to hold back, and save the much needed dollar. I, however, am not one of them. My days off in London Town are spent browsing my regular haunts, be it my favourite second-hand bookstore in Notting Hill, vintage fashion and jewels in Camden or Carnaby St, and Oxford St for when I feel like brainless shopping. So of course I have been screening the stores here in Williamsburg.
Bedford Ave has many a store. Many of them for clothes; vintage, boutique and franchise, oh my! Stalls are set up on the streets that sell books, jewellery and even a shoe or two. But if you walk down the road, I suggest that you turn down North 9th St and peek into Brooklyn Charm, a quaint jewellery store with a difference. When you walk in, instead of being bombarded with their own designs, you are the creator yourself. They have many different kinds of chains for bracelets and necklaces, gold, bronze and silver, with big or small links, and depending on the length they range from $6 to $10. Once you choose the one that you like, just browse around and be in awe of the many decorative objects; the typical and expected mixed with the vintage and rare. The charms and amulets and crafty ornaments are priced from a buck to $15. There are baubles for all tastes and quickly I was watching the amiable store girl make my bracelet in front of me. The process depends on your design and you can be particular in placement so the finished piece is exactly what you want.
Brooklyn Charm owner Tracie Howarth whose been making and selling jewellery for over 13 years, says she was inspired by the mix of vintage jewellery and customizing—the two passions came together for her; and she says: “I’ve come to learn that the more customized a piece of jewellery is, the happier the customer is.”
I have been looking around for a skull charm for some time now, and now I have a cute bronze bracelet with a little skull and hearts aesthetically placed to add to my collection.
Not only do I shop for fashion, but I find literature constantly popping up on my bank statements. A good bookstore needs to have the right ambience. It must be a place in which I feel comfortable to sit and read without being pressured into buying, although with my track record they need not worry; I’m always going to buy something. With the invention of the internet, it was only a matter of time before not only were books being sold on the net, but read on it too. I am not a fan of this, the turning of a page is therapeutic and rewarding so I will always have the hard copy. Any second-hand book store can sell books, but they must have the right collection. As they are not Waterstones (the London Barnes & Noble), they will lack all the new titles on the New York Times Best Seller List, hence they must not only hold a good selection of classics but also authors that have inspired us from many generations. Open Air Modern located on Manhattan Ave has just this. As well as carrying a good collection of American and British literature they also sell rare, out-of-print books, and mid century furniture. I found that after leaving the store my bag is just that little bit heavier, and I’m a little bit more well read.