Small businesses are the cornerstone of communities. Over the last few years we've had the pleasure of partnering with local boutiques across the U.S. and Canada to help bring 7115 to other cities outside of New York. Every retailer we partner with has their own unique story of how they got started and how they approach their business. In Talking Shop we get inside the minds of our retailers and fellow small business owners to learn about what it takes to run an independent boutique.
April 10 marks a significant date for Bethany Vogel and her husband Max - who own the cozy Greenpoint boutique, Wolves Within. Not only is it the date that their daughter was born but it is also the same date that they signed the lease to their Franklin St storefront. It's so significant in fact that you'll find it immortalized in the flooring of their store. The phrase 'Avril 10' (a tongue-in-cheek nod at Max's Spanish roots) is etched into the flooring that the couple designed using salvaged wood from upstate. Their fingerprint is on everything, having designed much of the store's fixtures themselves. It is this that makes the shopping experience at Wolves Within so personal. Bethany and Max first met while working in the same fashion company. In 2010, they opened up their carefully curated boutique offering thoughtfully designed goods from their favorite crop of independent designers. As former art directors, the couple drew upon their background to ensure every detail - from the selection to the environment - would speak to their personality and foster a warm, inviting atmosphere for their customers.
How did Wolves Within begin?
I started Wolves back in 2010, while we were facing the Recession. It sounds nuts, and everyone made sure to tell me so but even that well-intended advice, had a lot to do with my need to head out on my own. The world suddenly felt too big and the future a little daunting. I wanted to steer away from my stressful and fast paced corporate fashion company and instead, become a part of something smaller, something that would allow me to focus on the people and ideas that I loved and felt happy to be surrounded by. Opening a shop in my own community, an intimate space for people to come out and physically explore and connect with one another felt like a step into the right direction.
What’s the meaning behind the name?
Wolves Within’s name comes an ideology that we all have two wolves within us. A good and evil one. It’s a complex yet really lovely theory and hard to explain in a few words. To summarize; the two wolves within can battle at times if we don’t learn how to balance their spirits. We need to know how and when to feed them both. If we are able to do this, they will never battle and instead walk together in harmony. We in return will live happy and well-purposed lives.
How do you decide which designers and makers to work with?
Who we work with is extremely important to us. We carefully select all of our designers and makers based on the quality and aspirational uniqueness of their work. Do you remember when we met? I was so excited to have found you! We have gotten to know so many of our makers and designers and they have become not only fellow collaborators but good friends too.
A warm and inviting physical space is extremely important for brick and mortar. It’s one thing that no amount of digital innovations can replicate. What are some golden rules you have about creating an environment and atmosphere for customers?
Hmmm…. golden rules for a cozy environment? Fill it with good people, hard work, a consistent creative eye and tell lots of (maybe too many) nerdy jokes. It’s a strange recipe but it’s genuine and seems to work for us!
What’s one of the greatest lessons you’ve learned from starting your own business?
There are so many lessons I have learned throughout the years! I’m always learning new ones too, but I think some of the best ones are the things I hoped for. It’s worth it to work hard, to surround yourself with people you enjoy working alongside of, to be present, to forgive yourself for your imperfections and not to sweat the little stuff.
What’s your favorite thing about being an independent business owner?
I love getting to meet new people; they keep me learning and thinking differently. So many of the people we have met along the way have turned into steadfast friendships. In hindsight, those friendships alone have made all the hard work and the second-guessing, worth it. I also love the ownership of making mistakes that are mine to make and the problem solving behind trying not to repeat them.
In my previous career I was always faced with executing ideas my gut and advice were both against, but the end call just wasn’t mine to make. Now I get to make mistakes that teach me valuable lessons instead of making mistakes that you can’t learn from since they were clearly the wrong decision from the beginning.
Wolves Within is part home goods part clothing. How did you decide to blend those two genres together?
In 2012 we introduced “home” in our Wolves Shopfront. From the beginning we had always incorporated our personal books, textiles, artwork and objects throughout the shop for everyone to enjoy. Soon everyone kept asking if our personal collections were available to purchase. The end result was our Home Store (Home of the Brave
) opening in 2014 as pop up in what is now known as the West Street Studios. In 2015 we permanently housed our home store a few doors down from Wolves.
Tell us what you love about your neighborhood, Greenpoint.
Greenpoint is a unique community. Though it has been changing drastically over the last 10 years and the next few will bring even bigger changes; it’s still feels localized, chill and filled with creativity. The community is involved, supportive and connected to the independent spirit of the neighborhood. We smile and say hi as we pass by one another, it’s always been like that. I hope what our community has built will remain as the neighborhood continues it’s rapid growth.
And last, but not least, what’s your favorite place for coffee around here?
There are many good coffee spots here but my heart will forever belong to Upright Coffee. I remember when they opened, it was exciting to see a new addition on Manhattan Avenue. They also have fresh almond milk which is a luxury to me. One cold early morning when I was treating myself to an almond milk latte (of course!) the Barista handed me my cup and had spent the time to create a beautiful leaf onto the top of the pour. I was so touched. It made my day! I’m weak for someone who takes the time for detail. It also definitely made the coffee taste better, I’m sure of it.
174 Franklin St
Brooklyn, NY 11222
146 Franklin St,
Brooklyn, NY 11222