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West Elm Market Brings Fashion Forward Home Tools to the Hub

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Household tools have never been trendier. This Saturday, West Elm will launch Market, the beloved brand's answer to the banality of day-to-day chores. Set up as a shop-in-shop in West Elm's Fenway store, Market offers Bostonians the best locally made, small batch solutions for everyday issues. Dusty drawers? Try a lambs-wool duster made by New York Industries for the Blind. Greasy palms? Pick up New Hampshire's own Sam's Natural Walnut Hand Scrub.

Though Market doesn't officially open until Saturday, we were lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the impressive concession and the inspired wares. Our spring shopping list got a heavy addition with wallet friendly items like Milk candles from Mine Design and a seriously chic retro SMEG fridge. As an added bonus, we were able to chat with West Elm Creative Director, Vanessa Holden about the Boston store and the benefit of small-production.—Justin Reis

How do you guys feel about being in Boston with Market?
Super excited! West Elm Market is about people who like to get in there and do things in their home and it's really about the functional aspects of a house. I know people in Boston love to cook, love to eat really well, they're really proud of their homes and into looking after their homes. We have a lot of product to support that. Beyond that, aesthetically, I think it's a really great mix. It's industrial without being too tough, it's classic and it's going to last a long time, there are elements of personality that I think people are going to be excited about. I think it's a really good fit for Boston.

How does the Boston shop fit into the bigger Market scope?
We opened two stand-alone stores at the end of last year and then we've just, literally last week, opened another group of shop-in-shops. Boston is one of the bigger one of those shop-in-shops. I'm super proud of the way it's laid out. It feels like another destination within a destination. Hopefully it encourages people to be hands-on too. I think in all of our spaces we design it so people get in and start playing with the product and it feels like in Market here you can get in, pick up the knifes, smell the candles, taste the food—it's very active.

What's the process for finding all of the small brands that Market carries, like Sam's Natural?
We dig like crazy! I'm actually really proud with where we've gotten to with the assortment. More than half of what you find in Market is American-made, by small batch producers—everything from candles to laundry detergents to the brushes, which are made by the New York Society for the Blind. The food comes from all over the country so it really feels like regional specialties. We worked really really hard and we continue to dig deeper in terms of localizing product. We've set the store in here but we start looking now for local makers of literally anything that's great and resonates and speaks to the area. Market is a great way for us to access local makers like that.

How does that tie back into West Elm's overall strategy and brand?
We've got more than 50 stores now and everyone one of them is different. It's really important to us to localize what the experience looks like. So you know, there's summer and Market [in the Boston store] but the actual presentation will look different from store to store. Different displays, different installations, different lifestyles. You know, the Miami store looks really different from Seattle or Boston. West Elm in the Middle East looks really different from North America. Our MO is really for the customer to come in and feel like it's West Elm, a place they can come to be inspired and get some help with their home but also really feel like it reflects their community. We're really working more and more in terms of folding more of that local expertise and local product into the mix.

· West Elm Market [Official Site]
· Redecorating? Shop These 38 Stores for Home Decor [Racked Boston]

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