August 20 2014

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3 posts tagged "Saipua"

Beauty By Design


Like the real-estate landscape in Williamsburg, the increasingly gentrified Brooklyn neighborhood’s retail scene is exploding. Boutique after cool boutique seems to be cropping up off the main Bedford Avenue drag, offering up everything from wall-to-wall denim and designer duds to salvaged furniture and “funky” eyeglasses. Caitlin Mociun’s beat at her eponymous concept shop is jewelry—make that jewelry and ceramics. And sculpture. And bags. “It’s all part of a comprehensive lifestyle that I’m promoting,” says the RISD-trained textile designer who dabbled in a fledgling fashion business before turning her attention to baubles two years ago. “It’s nice to make something that has longevity. It feels more sustainable,” she explains of the creative shift, which turned curatorial last March. Following a stint in a pop-up space in downtown Brooklyn, Mociun realized that her wide-ranging taste had more mass appeal than she previously thought. “People liked the same weird shit that I like,” she says of the experience’s takeaway, which prompted her to open a space of her own. The beautiful, white-walled Wythe Avenue venue now houses delicate rings, necklaces, and the like from Wwake, as well as Mociun’s own line, not to mention earthenware from Shino Takeda and Robert Blue, artwork from Genesis Onasis and Katie Krantz, bags from Doug Johnson and Baggu—and the most recent addition to the Mociun lifestyle brand: beauty.

“If you really wanted, you could buy your whole bathroom here,” she says of the purposefully edited selection of soaps and candles from small-batch Brooklyn purveyor Saipua; body care from Aesop, the Australian apothecary company that actually sought her out to stock its array of creams and salves; fragrances from MCMC; extraordinary and hard to come by haircare from Beverly Hills-based Rare El’ements; and, starting this month, One Love Organics skincare. “For me, it’s about finding smaller, more artisanal brands that don’t have a huge array of stuff to pick from,” Mociun explains of her buying process, which also includes an extensive round of “testing” on a diverse group of friends. “I’m open to other things,” she divulges of the prospect of including a makeup brand in the mix going forward—and maybe some additional skincare lines to keep the neighborhood’s increasingly expanding consumer base excited. “They’re building four apartment buildings around the store right now that will accommodate four thousand people,” she points out—at least some of whom, we imagine, will be excited to find an organic, multipurpose skin balm with cold-pressed plant oils, mango butter, and chia-seed extracts just a few doors down.

Mociun, 224 Wythe Ave., NYC, (718) 387-3731.

Photo: Courtesy of Mociun

Keeping It Clean For The Fourth


If your holiday weekend plans involve dropping by a friend’s well-positioned beach house, you’ll want to come prepared with the appropriate thanks-for-letting-me-crash gift. We’ve always found that you can’t go wrong with a luxurious version of something basic, like wonderful linens, or our personal favorite, handmade soaps. Saipua, our go-to flower and soap studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn, is the place to stock up on such thoughtful essentials. Co-owners Sarah Ryhanen and Eric Famisan hand-cut and cure their bars using an olive oil recipe as a base, to which they then add quirky, imaginative ingredients. Their new Basil soap—the tenth in their suds collection—is a definite conversation starter. It marries hand-pressed Hungarian basil with a bit of sweet lime oil to form “a husky green scent,” according to Ryhanen. When asked how she came up with the earthy combination, Ryhanen explains that lime oil helps cut the intensity of the basil, providing a sweet and mellow counterpoint to the herb’s otherwise sharp aroma. Adding to the intrigue, each bar is stamped with an image of an old Victorian lace mask. Why? It’s mysterious, which sold Ryhanen. At $8 a bar, you can afford to replenish the soap supply on return visits, too, thus keeping yourself in the favor of those with prime real estate.

Photo: Courtesy of Saipua

Good, Clean Labor Day Fun


Staying in town this weekend? Make a getaway to Red Hook, where the quirky handmade soap and flower boutique Saipua is celebrating its new-and-improved store in its new location, which happens to be just two blocks from its old one. Co-owners and couple-since-college Sarah Ryhanen and Eric Famisan have been making soaps in the Hudson Valley since 1999, using old-school methods to hand cut, air dry, and cure their olive-oil based bars. With guidance from Ryhanen’s mom, they then doctor them up with normal things like fresh herbs and essential oils, and less predictable ingredients like coffee grounds and chai tea. The results are beautiful—and affordable: at $8 each, you can stock up on scents like Frankincense & Myrrh, Coffee Mint, and Red Currant, all of which come wrapped in papers printed with Ryhanen and Famisan’s own designs. The new storefront, designed by Jeremy Barbour (the architect behind Phillip Lim’s Soho boutique), is a freestanding box in an old warehouse with a sliding barn door from a seventeenth-century Amish farmhouse. Once pulled back, a series of well-planned nooks becomes visible, designed to hold Ryhanen’s unusual flower arrangements, which are available by special order or, if you’re lucky, by thoughtful gesture.

Saipua, 147 Van Dyke St, Brooklyn, NY 11231, (718) 624-2929,

Photo: Courtesy of Saipua