Opening a second store seems so exciting! But, when that pen hit the paper to sign the lease… what we didn’t know, was how much we didn't know. To say that we learned a lot from designing and constructing SoHo would be an understatement. Every day was an adventure.
The design for the shop changed a dozen times due to budgets, building logistics, and most importantly – the timeline. We had everything to do from demolition, to repairs, building new elements, plumbing, electric, tile work, refinishing the wood floors, signage, countertops, fridge installation, and so much more. The list of “to-do” seemed never ending but we made it through. The design and construction was completed in 6 weeks – impressive by any construction standards.
Julia was raised by a family that is very hands-on with a “do-it-yourself” type mentality. Swinging a hammer or figuring things out along the way is not a foreign concept to her. Without any investors, family money, or additional bank loans, the SoHo store opened and was completely transformed by good-old-fashion sweat, blood, and love. A lot of love.
Everyone helped in their own way. As they say, “it takes a village”. Julia’s father came and did the electrical work because he’s a licensed electrical contractor in Manhattan. Julia’s friend Shannon had a boyfriend who refinishes wood floors for a living – so that was one thing off the list! Another friend was a carpenter. Julia’s Uncle had a handyman that was able to skim coat the walls and do all of the painting work. Julia’s job in advertising prior to working in flowers gave her the contacts she needed to have the Point of Sale displays built, signage and adhesives printed and installed, wallpaper printed and installed, and beyond.
And it didn’t stop there! Julia’s mentor put her in touch with a contact that manufactured her brand new shopping bag design. A member of Julia’s kickball team designed the outside frontage with her as she sketched ideas freehand on printer paper or on the backs of old receipts she would pull out of her pockets. An old friend from college did all of the legal work and helped with the demolition. A neighbor across the street from the store owned a lighting company and hand-delivered the drop-lights above the register area. Julia went to New Jersey to hand-pick the marble counter top slab… And the list goes on and on.
If you stop by the store, you would never know that this store was entirely built with friends and family. There was no fancy construction crew or project management team. Just a lot of hard work, common sense, and good taste. The store is truly something to be proud of – and a place to definitely visit to enjoy all the beauty!Julia Testa - SoHo
111 Thompson Street
New York NY 10012