Michele Varian is a home and lifestyle shop in Soho, New York. An eclectic mix of interesting products that include Michele Varian designed pillows, wallpaper, lighting and furniture. Customers are local, destination shoppers and tourists. There is a rock and roll edge, which makes the shop accessible to men, who are frequent clients.
Michele, a former fashion designer, launched her decorative pillow line in 1999. What started as a home decorating project, snowballed into a business as demand for her pillows grew via her friend network. She opened her shop in the aftermath of 9/11, as retail around the country froze and she needed an outlet for her wares. She set up shop on Crosby Street, Soho, operating out of a 300 square foot selling space with a sewing room in back. She has since relocated, to Howard Street, and expanded her selling space to several thousand square feet. Originally from Detroit, her Mid-western values shine through; not only in her constantly smiling face, but also in the welcoming environment she has created for her customers. Being a shopkeeper affords Michele the opportunity to interact with people from around the world, making her part of the zeitgeist.
On the shop’s playlist
The best was when David Bowie was in the shop and singing along to my music while shopping (swoon) and then he stopped and said, “Hey, this is me!”
27, Howard St, Soho NY
Well, I always have a bunch of Crash Test Dummies on the playlist, because it is my husband’s band and now that we’re getting into the Christmas season, I’ll be adding his Christmas recordings, which is the best contemporary recording of Christmas tunes I know, really! Besides that, it is usually a pretty broad mix of music in the shop. The best was when David Bowie was in the shop and singing along to my music while shopping (swoon) and then he stopped and said, “Hey, this is me!” and then, “but this is from my new album. Did you buy it?” To which I could proudly say, “yes.” As the wife of a musician, I pay for all of the music I play.
In the shop my favorite candle lately is Haus Summer, even though it’s Fall outside.
1. DeVera for aspirational curio and objéct, go across the street to DeVera. The curation is the unique vision of owner, Federico DeVera. 2. BDDW for the most beautifully finessed, American-made furniture. The urban mountain man movement happened in great part to owner, Tyler Hayes, natural and organic aesthetic paired together to define the decade, along with amazing workmanship. The minimal and expansive space alone is breathtaking. 3.Masion Mae (Mezzanine at Michele Varian) is my go to for women’s clothes. They have a smart selection of easy to wear, comfortable, but sophisticated enough to look just right at an opening after a day of climbing ladders and moving furniture in my store! 4.Smile to Go is right across the street for lunch and snacks. They have fantastic pastries, and lovely sandwiches and veggies for lunch. 5.Maman make their croissants fresh on site, Yum! 6.Ed’s Lobster my husband’s and my absolute favorite place to have lunch or dinner in the neighborhood. Everything is consistently amazing. Most everyone orders the lobster roll, but the fresh oysters are amazing, the fish and chips are respected by Brits! We get the fried oyster sliders and I usually have the tuna tartar.