I'm so thrilled to present the first of a series on The Haystack Needle called what's in store. I will be wearing the hat of personal shopper, scouting home shops regularly to see what fantastic finds are in store now. I thought of doing this series since there are so many amazing shops — boutiques and mom-and-pops — that are small, unknown gems. And there are the big-box stores with great finds that get overlooked since we assume we know what they're all about and drop by less often. I will regularly highlight one store and give you a flavor for what you'd find inside. Since I know online shopping is the easiest, fastest way to shop these days (I'm addicted as well), most of the shops I feature in this series will also have an online site. That way, you can get the best of both worlds — find out what's in store and then shop from your sofa. Anything I share that's not available online will hopefully serve as a little inspiration (especially for those of you not in the New York area.)
To kick off the what's in store series, let me introduce Parcel. This wonderland of a shop, located in Montclair, NJ, has the vibe of a vintage-inspired general store. As a paper lover, I could literally spend all day browsing its cubbies, spinners, and drawers like a kid in a candy store. I had a hard time editing which photos to post, so please check below the cut for more peeks inside and a chat with Parcel owner Nancy about her inspiration for this suburban mecca of paper packaging and vintage ephemera.
*You'll only see a selection of finds on Parcel's online site, but email the shop if there's something you see here that you want — Parcel can ship anywhere. And keep Parcel in mind for letterpress too — the shop's a great source for invitations, stationery sets, and pretty letterpress notebooks.
I love this box of word definition cards (above, left) in English and French from the '60s. One unique feature of Parcel: Nancy spends time finding wonderful collections, but she sells everything individually. Unlike eBay, where you often have to buy vintage finds as an entire lot, here you can pick up a word card that speaks to you for just $1. I walked away with "chaotic", as that's how I'm feeling our apartment is lately. These glass glitter numbers (above, right) would be the perfect party decoration for a special birthday.
German Dresdon paper ornaments (above) and curiosities in the shop had my imagination running with ways to decorate and projects to create.
Make your gifts look extra special with Parcel's deep selection of boxes and packaging, like vintage pillboxes from old-time pharmacies. See the link below for more inspiration. A special thanks to Parcel for letting me and my camera take over the shop!
Parcel's owner, Nancy, is a dear friend of mine who I worked alongside once upon a time when we were both editors at Real Simple (she in the Fashion department, while I was in the Home department.) I remember always being smitten by her effortless-looking personal style, which in turn inspired my love of charm necklaces, layering pieces, and the perfect tote. I chatted with Nancy about her sources of inspiration.
What was your inspiration for the shop?
I'd say the inspiration came from childhood dreams. I used to make filled boxes as a kid — packed with my imaginary worlds. I'd make things out of my parents' wine crates or cassette tape boxes. I wasn't a pristine girl who was into dollhouses, but I collected a world of tiny things — like pompom characters.
About half of the shop is found ephemera. Are you a regular at flea markets?
Definitely. It's a family event to go to the flea markets. In warmer weather, we go once a week. During the winter months, we'll pick a town and search for barn sales. In the world of flea marketing, my husband is my picker. Adam really understands what I'm looking for. My kids know that they'll each get to pick out a treat from the market which is fun.
Collections of numbers, game pieces, and finds from Paris.Yum, the candy alone is a reason to stop by.
Pick up tiny charms and treats to make your own filled box of delights. I'm out-sourcing and passing on the invitations and special bits from my wedding to have Nancy make a memento box for us (if you live in the area, you can do the same — just stop by or email with questions.)
Be sure to check back in this week for the next what's in store on an incredible resource for anyone planning a party (especially brides!).