We love the excitement that comes with welcoming a new store to Cameron Village. But between the “Coming Soon” barricades and the “Now Open” banners, opening a new store means a flurry of activity and loads of logistics.
Rachael Cosky, store manager of the new Steven Shell Living, brings us behind the scenes to show what it takes to bring the Steven Shell Living concept to Raleigh. And it’s now opening day! Pop by the store on Clark Ave. near Penzey’s Spices and Cameron Bar and Grill to welcome them to the Village.
Steven Shell Living opened its first retail store four years ago in Mt. Pleasant, SC, and heading to Raleigh seems a perfect direction to grow the company. Showcasing the infinitely customizable furniture concepts of designer Steven Shell, the store features eclectic home decor with accessories like candles and pillows alongside made-to-order custom furniture. Rachael has been keeping the highways hot with weekly trips to SC to learn what makes the Charleston-area store such a hit. She credits the Mt. Pleasant team with teaching her everything about the store, from how to coordinate delivery of a 40 foot shipping container to helping customers navigate their options when any piece can be finished in over a million ways. “It’s like a huge orchestra,” she says. With one person ordering accessories, another organizing containers, running Steven Shell Living is truly a group effort. And the whole group is working to ensure the expansion to Cameron Village runs like clockwork. Back in Raleigh, Rachael’s been conducting an orchestra of her own, attending to details big and small: getting a phone line for the store, choosing store hours, hiring staff, and arranging inventory for the big opening day.
Rachael’s enthusiasm for Steven Shell Living is contagious, and her love of good design comes through in every word. “Check out the turned legs on this table! Isn’t it the most gorgeous thing you’ve ever seen! Now, come over here to see this finish; it’s one of my favorites. Stunning, right? And look at these sliding doors! These dovetail joints? Incredible! And here – see how the tin top matches the hardware?!” Rapid fire, she gushes over each table, every buffet as she walks between the close set rows packed with inventory. Her passion for each piece is so genuine, you can’t help but fall in love with the furniture, too. With tables stacked three and four high and stunning accessories heaped on every surface, even the store’s atmosphere seems to echo Rachael’s exuberance.
She raves, too, about their Green Pledge, Steven Shell Living’s commitment to good stewardship of the natural resources used in building furniture. All of their furniture is hand-crafted in Indonesia, and it’s primarily made of local, sustainably-grown Indonesian mahogany. To ensure that beautiful wood is available for generations to come, the company plants a tree for each piece of furniture sold. With more than half a million trees planted to date, they stand behind their pledge.
Though she has many years of experience running retail stores, Rachael has been learning the business of custom furniture. She talks almost reverently about the two thousand artisans crafting the furniture in Indonesia, explaining how they bring your ideas to life. “We see your vision and we will execute,” she says. “We have the options to do so, and we have the artisans to back it up.” So what does it mean to be able to finish a piece in over a million ways? One look at the store’s finishes wall will give you a taste of the options. You might walk into Steven Shell Living and find the side table that perfectly fits the space in your home. You could buy it just as is, taking it home that day. Or you could choose to have that piece made with a tin top and antique white distressed legs. You could choose different finishes for the interior and the exterior of a piece with open shelving, or you could choose it painted with custom artwork, hand crafted just for you. Overwhelmed by the choices? Rachael and her team of designers will help you choose the perfect blend of finishes to match your style.
During Rachael’s visits to the Mt. Pleasant store, one customer stands out in her mind. A woman and her husband came in looking for a new dresser. They looked all around the store, surveyed the myriad options of finishes. But the customer fell head over heels for a sample piece that had been painted with an octopus on it. Despite the opportunity to personalize a piece any way they wanted, the octopus won out, and they took it home that day. That’s what Steven Shell living is all about, Rachael learned. It’s providing customers with an opportunity to create exactly the piece they want, but knowing that sometimes the perfect dresser is already in the store waiting for you to discover.
Be sure to stop by Steven Shell Living opening Friday, June 30 at 2030 Clark Avenue (in between Penzey’s Spices and Cameron Bar & Grill). They will be open Monday through Saturday from 10:00am to 7:00pm and Sunday 12:00pm to 6:00pm!