Jewelry Designer Mimi So Opens New Manhattan Boutique
The jeweler talks about creating a treasure-filled ‘treehouse’ in the middle of the city
Jewelry designer Mimi So, a favorite of A-listers like Reese Witherspoon and Anne Hathaway, opened her new retail storefront this week on Crosby Street in New York’s SoHo neighborhood. During her 20 years in business, the jeweler has crafted everything from custom wedding bands for David Bowie and Iman to whimsical rings adorned with gemstone bunnies. Most recently, she launched an elegantly simple line of jewelry, dubbed Piece, encompassing rings, bangles, and necklaces.
Below, the designer talks to Galerie about why she picked the location of her new shop, her vision for the space, and trying her hand at interior design.
What does it mean to you to have your first storefront, and why did you pick SoHo?
This is really full circle for me. I grew up in the neighborhood so this was my stomping ground during my youth. Returning to SoHo has been so exciting because this area is experiencing a renaissance. Crosby Street is now home to other artisans and designers like BDDW, Rick Owens, Opening Ceremony, and a number of others. It’s a natural fit for us to be in this creative community.
What was your vision for the design of the store?
It was important for the store to feel like home. It had to be warm, cozy, and magical. There is a bit of whimsy in my work, so it was important to capture that in my space. Ever since I was a little girl growing up in a city of concrete pavement, I wondered what it would be like to live in a treehouse. I used to think it was the most luxurious thing to live up in a tree. So I decided to create this little magical, jewel-filled treehouse in the middle of the city block.
You designed the store yourself. What was that like?
This is the first time I’ve designed a store. The opportunity to express my aesthetic at this scale has been exciting. I approached the project with the same attention to detail that I put into my jewelry. There are custom BDDW Tyler Hayes stools and hand-bleached (to match my highlights), sustainably sourced maple jewelry cases made in collaboration with Tri-Lox, which were extremely complex because of temperature controls and locking systems. These technical pieces are combined with a cream sheepskin Little Petra chair designed by Danish designer Viggo Boesen, a crushed cherry velvet love seat, seating covered in bunny and bear prints, and we can’t forget the handmade bleached oak stump that looks like a mushroom by Kieran.
What’s the most interesting custom piece you’ve gotten to design for a client?
One of the most interesting pieces we had the honor to design was an anniversary gift for a client. We combined the letters in the wife’s, child’s, and husband’s names to identify the gemstones we would feature in the bracelet. The piece included Canary diamonds of significant size surrounded by aquamarines, red rubies, vivid Colombian green emeralds, and vibrant opal from Australia set in 18K yellow gold. This was a fun but a challenging project because we had to make this couture piece not only beautiful but wearable on a daily basis!
What kind of experience do you want customers to have when visiting the store?
At a time when the experience of shopping can feel cold and disconnected, I wanted my clients to feel like they’re walking into my home. The store is meant to be a welcoming space full of discovery, complete with the nostalgic presence of familiar creatures, like bunnies and bees, carved out of different gemstones. This is a place where our guests can connect with the craftsmanship and creative process so they understand how the pieces they collect are made. I would like their experience to be meaningful.
Mimi So is located at 21 Crosby Street, New York.