Mae Downs & Co. Shoppe Grand Opening, fine home decor, interior design, antiques and vintage.
Mae Downs & Co. has been operating out of the artist studio building 1241 Carpenter Street for years but now they have taken the leap to opening a lovely shop at 1118 Pine Street in Philadelphia. The studio shared by Brian Campbell, the dish and pottery collector/connoisseur and Kevin McLaughlin, the fabulously creative fabric artist was inviting and inspiring but hard to find in the maze of studios.
Now, with a simply gorgeous storefront window decorated with vintage pottery such as Clarise Cliff pots and Kevin McLaughlin‘s own aspirational handmade pillows, the duo have staked a claim for elegant home decor among the galleries, restaurants and antique stores along Pine Street.
Mae Downs & Co. Shoppe 1118 Pine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Quirky yet homey the collection of elegant china, fun vintage finds and handmade pillows and sachets creates an aura of fine living Philadelphians have longed for after existing too long with Swedish flat-packed furniture. The collection isn’t old fashioned at all with a mix of mid-century modern, art deco and 21st century craft proving good design is timeless and desirable.
Kevin McLaughlin‘s handmade strawberry shaped sachets are made with vintage fabrics and stuffed with luscious lavender. Each piece is unique and have even been sold at The Philadelphia Museum of Art gift shop. When DoN visited the workshop during a Philadelphia Open Studio Tour a few years back, Kevin chatted while not missing a stitch as he assembled each berry from fine flannels, linens, wools and re-cycled knits. The sachets are so popular that design maven Brini Maxwell even featured the fine sachets on her popular webpage and YouTube channel.
Each of these gorgeous pillows are handmade by Mae Downs & Co. Shoppe proprietor Kevin McLaughlin and are affordably priced in the low three figure range. Considering the time and effort lovingly put into each piece, these pillows will need to be re-stocked as Philadelphians discover the beauty of these fine American made products.
DoN had the opportunity to chat with shop co-proprietor Brian Campbell and asked about the challenges of opening a small business in these harsh financial times? “Well, the economy has certainly been a challenge. I started by collecting pottery and turned to china, and I started collecting obsessively. And then I found I had too much stuff so I started selling it on ebay and then opened the studio to keep it all and sell. I share the studio with Kevin McLaughlin of Mae Downs and Co., so we had his shop and my storage and we would have open houses but it wasn’t a retail space with little foot traffic.”
Brian Campbell explained, “We wanted a place where people could come and get to us easily. And we found it. ebay worked out when I first started doing it but after America tanked after 2007, sales started going down. The last year or two it’s been on the rise again, there’s definitely, um, people are paying more for things. So, that was kind of a clue that maybe it was time to start thinking of opening a shop. Whenever I go to a shop I ask them, ‘How’s business?’, because in the back of my mind I was always thinking about opening a shop.”
“As I started getting better reports from small shop owners, I thought, ‘OK, maybe it’s time?’, and this kind of fell into our lap. We saw it in the City Paper and we met with the realtor. I stopped in early on my way to work, I have a job at The Mural Arts Program, and we loved it so we applied and they loved what we do and felt really good about what we were doing. And that it would be a good fit for the street. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, we found the space in August, we took the lease beginning September 1st. All we really had to do was paint the floor and then move stuff in, we still have some work we want to do but we want it to be open so people can walk around and not feel like they’re in a museum.”
“I was trying to describe to someone what the feeling was like and the line came up, “Where Sister Parish meets Dorothy Draper“, said Brian Campbell before he was drawn back into the shop to answer questions about the eclectic merchandise by excited shoppers.
Written and Photographed by DoN Brewer
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