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The Better Shop: Sustainable Store In Williamsburg

Shop Ladies and Gents The Better Shop Sustainable Store in Williamsburg

.We had a great experience at a relatively new and sustainable store in Williamsburg called The Better Shop! We had heard from countless friends how great their product curation was amazing. Plus, we were told about how they were working with sustainability, so we had to check it out.

Shop Ladies and Gents The Better Shop Sustainable Store in Williamsburg Front

As soon as we walked into, The Better Shop, a sustainable store in Williamsburg, Casey (the founder) approached.

We immediately started taking about the store, why she decided to open it, her shoe brand called Sylven New York, we learned about her background and specially her passions regarding sustainable fashion.

“Recycled, regenerated, and bio-based vegan and leather footwear, handcrafted in Italy.” ~ Sylven New York

“The Better Shop is an ethical and sustainable destination for mission-driven brands to share their products and stories. Never on a quest for perfection, we aim to spark conversations about finding ways to be ‘better’ about our fashion choices. Whether through better treatment of workers through fair wages, better materials and development techniques that consider product life cycle and end-life, better community engagement through service projects and giving back, and overall better quality goods that promote longevity and spark joy.” ~ The Better Shop

The entire story is amazing and the product curation too. And, when you mix this with the sustainable factor, it’s unbeatable.

Take a look at the interview with Casey Dworkin, the Founder of The Better Shop and Sylven New York:

Shop Ladies and Gents The Better Shop Sustainable Store in Williamsburg Casey Dworkin Andrea Zalkin

Tell us a bit about you! Where you were born, what you studied, what brought you to NYC, etc.

My name is Casey Dworkin and I was born in Cherry Hill, NJ just ten miles outside of Philadelphia.

As a teen, I become enamored with shoes and boots. I ended up going to school to study product design mixed with fashion merchandising.

I had my sights set on becoming a shoe designer. While I was still finishing my degree in Philly, I moved to New York City to pursue my first internship at Michael Kors in their footwear design department.

It was the first time I got to see the process of shoe design happening in real context, and I ended up finishing my degree, while still on my internship and made the move to NYC permanently.

That was almost eight years ago, and I haven’t stopped pursuing new roles in the footwear industry since.

How did Sylven New York come to life?

After tenure with a few small independent shoe brands learning about the landscape of the industry and helping to build, grow, and launch other peoples’ concepts and ideas, I ended up experiencing a few things in my personal life that made me stop in tracks and think – “what is it that I want to do with my life every day, what’s going to get me out of bed and excited to create?”

I am so passionate about shoes, but I hadn’t found a company that I felt really cared – about values, ethics, the environment, and putting out a truly beautiful and considered product.

And then I realized that I wanted to start something of my own rooted in all the things I cared about the most. And since I had that realization, not a day has gone by that I haven’t been working towards that goal in some way.

Shop Ladies and Gents The Better Shop Sustainable Store in Williamsburg Franey Miller

Can you share a bit more about the ethical and sustainable aspects of the brand?

Sustainability is such a buzzword right now, but to us, sustainability is a way of thinking through the environmental impact of everything we do. I’m super passionate about materials, so that’s a huge sustainable focus of the brand, and the one that’s probably the most visible.

When it comes to shoemaking, you can have upwards of 64 components for a single shoe – that’s a lot of room to innovate for materials! In standard shoe production, a lot of those components can be made from virgin plastics and harmful chemical products.

From heels to insoles, outer soles, vegan leathers, glues, and even the form used to make the shoe pattern called a ‘last’. I look at each of these components individually, and source some of the most cutting-edge technology available.

This season, I really wanted to focus on creating vegan shoes, but struggled to find vegan leathers that met my sustainable standards. I ended up sourcing a brand new material made of apples! We also use recycled plastics and fibers, natural rubbers, water-based glues, chrome-free leathers, natural wood, and components made from organic and renewable resources.

It’s all an ongoing process, but the goal is to make the world’s most sustainable luxury footwear.

Aside from our materials, we consider sustainability throughout our entire production process – how we ship our product, our packaging, the end life of our product, our carbon footprint and the emissions we produce, and how we give back.

As for ethics, we focus on how to carry our values through every aspect of what we do and to the people that we work with. Currently, we have a partnership with a community of fair-trade artisans in Kenya that we work with directly to create one of a kind custom hardware pieces for our shoes.

In addition to our direct contributions to the artisans and their families, it was important to us to setup a scholarship program. The purpose is to further develop the creative industries in the regions we work within. At the end of the day, we want to conduct business with integrity and mindfulness.

Shop Ladies and Gents The Better Shop Sustainable Store in Williamsburg Mens Shoe

Why Brooklyn? What are the challenges of starting a sustainable store in Williamsburg and business in a city like New York?

After a few initial years in Manhattan, I moved to Brooklyn and it just felt like home. I have been able to develop a true sense of community and carve out a little space that feels filled with inspiration, creativity, and support.

New York in general is a fantastic and difficult place full of opportunity – there are so many resources here! I think the mindset of New Yorkers is one of productivity. People are here for a reason, and whether it be to pursue their creative dreams, or work towards their given industry, the collective mindset of New York seems to be one that follows a current.

The difficult thing about it all is that there is so much saturation here. People are working and they’re working hard. There is always someone who is going to be harder working, more talented, ‘luckier’, or further along than you, and it breeds this sense of competition.

Sometimes it’s healthy, and other times it feels detrimental. But New York has this amazing energy, and I don’t think I would have been able to get to where I am if I started this anywhere else.

Shop Ladies and Gents The Better Shop Sustainable Store in Williamsburg Franey Miller

What are the top selling products? What are the most unique ones that people always enjoy? What’s the price range of products?

Currently, our Cassidy boot is our top-seller. It’s at that magic heel two-inch heel height and is available in both genuine vegetable-tanned leather and vegan options. It’s one of those every day go-to boots that is so versatile, you’re hard pressed to find something you can’t wear them with!

As far as uniqueness, people have been loving anything made out of our apple leather. It’s such a unique and new vegan material. And, the fact that we can make shoes out of apples is pretty astounding.

As for our price range, our fall/winter collection ranges from $395 for a bootie up to $595 for a knee-high boot.

We try to stay competitive but are selling a premium product made in the same factories as some of the world’s most expensive designer brands.

Do you have brand collaborations, if so, please tell us more!

My biggest collaboration to date is probably my multi-brand retail space in Williamsburg called The Better Shop.

It brings in a collective of about twenty brands all focused on sustainable and ethical values. All with amazing products spanning apparel, accessories, jewelry, skincare, candles, and vintage!

Shop Ladies and Gents The Better Shop Sustainable Store in Williamsburg Inside

Is there any new, exclusive collaboration about to come “out of the oven” that you can share first-hand?

I absolutely love to collaborate and have a really exciting collaboration dropping for Spring/Summer of 2020.

I can’t share too much. But, I can say that it involves using an amazing recycled and handmade textile blended with our current materials.

You offer custom items at The Better Shop? Tell us about this.

I wish I could offer custom items at The Better Shop!

Unfortunately, with the lead times it takes to create shoes and with my production all happening oversees in Italy, we just can’t create one off piece.

What’s your advice for anyone that dreams about starting a business in NYC?

I think you need to be equal parts passionate, focused, determined, patient and crazy!

There are a lot of long, hard days where you’re spending countless hours working towards something that may not feel tangible, and it can be extremely challenging.

It will also be incredibly rewarding. But, if you’re not working on something that you absolutely love, it will be that much harder. Also take breaks!!

I cannot stress the importance of listening to your body and taking care of yourself. While, of course, you focus on building something.

Shop Ladies and Gents The Better Shop Sustainable Store in Williamsburg Entrance

Now, it’s your turn to visit The Better Shop. Take a closer look at Sylven New York and the other wonderful brands curated to make this space unique!

Let us know what you though on the comments below!

If you enjoy sustainable stores and places, you might enjoy the kids brand The Little Red Planet, another sustainable store in Williamsburg. If you’re into sustainable traveling, check out what the 1Hotels are all about. Or, watch the super cool video we shot with Daniel, from Zero Waste Daniel.

Hours: Open 7 days: 11am – 7pm

Location: 155 Grand Street, Williamsburg


Photo Credits: Courtesy of Casey Dworkin and Andrea Zalkin (portrait)
*Last Update on March/2020.*

Josephinas Portugal: Proud To Be A Woman

Shop Ladies Josefinas Sofia Oliveira Model Shoes

A shoe brand that believes that you don’t need high heels to feel amazing. Josefinas Portugal was founded in 2013 by Filipa Júlio and is a woman’s dream for women!

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We are all about women empowerment and the feel of “Proud to be a Woman”, after all, Behind the Scenes NYC was founded by the Brazilian entrepreneur and dreamer, Fê Paronetto. She wanted to show people what New York City is really about, away from the touristy scene.

Our Contributor, Laura Peruchi, interviewed Sofia Oliveira, from Josefinas Portugal!

Josefinas is a luxury shoes company from Portugal that started online in Europe. They’ve just opened last month their first flagship store in New York City.

The flats and the sneakers are handmade, which certainly makes the shoes undoubtedly special and unique. Plus, Josefinas’ story and trajectory is surely inspirational.

The quote ‘Never give up’ has always defined the brand’s path.

Filipa Júlio, the Founder, named the brand after her grandmother. She made Filipa’s life a special adventure, especially when she took her to ballet class as a kid.

We talked with Sofia Oliveira, one of the Co-Founders that joined Filipa in her journey. She graduated in Communications & Press Relations, but she always loved Fashion and Josefinas was a natural step in her career.

Along with Filipa and Maria Cunha, she’s part of the team that founded Josefinas.

She explains: “Josefinas was founded in 2013 from a woman’s dream – Filipa – and other women that joined her. Our shoes were created to inspire women to achieve their dreams. It’s a woman’s dream for women”.

How is the manufacturing process of Josefinas’ shoes?

We are obsessed with savoir-faire – a French expression that means “expertise”. That’s why each Josefinas’ pair of shoes is so special. They are all individually handmade by expert craftsmen based in Portugal.

Can you explain a little bit about Josefinas’ values and philosophy?

Josefinas has three main values.

First, is the savoir-faire. We work with the best Portuguese craftsmen to create Josefinas’ magic. The hands of these artists have years of history in the art of making shoes. They have passion and pride in creating. Naturally, they create pieces of art.

Our second value is women empowerment. We believe in women power. Our mission is inspiring women to believe in their dreams until they come true. Where can your Josefinas can take you? Wherever you want them to!

Last but not least, we have the Customer’s “WOW”. We believe that our Customers are the best in the world, that’s why we believe in always exceeding their expectations. We have a person focused on this: our Chief Officer of Customer Delight.

What about the Josefinas’ styles? What’s your favorite? 

Honestly, it’s impossible to have just one favorite. All styles are beautiful! Currently, I am obsessed with Josefinas’ Louise Green Tree, Cleopatra Classic Black and the Red Lisbon.

Josefinas believes in women empowerment and that it’s not necessary to wear high heels to be amazing, right? 

It’s important – and we believe – that women should feel good with themselves. They have to believe, feel and use their power. There is nothing stronger than women empowerment! We are a live example of that.

Why did you chose New York City to open the first Josefinas flagship? 

Why NOT New York City? The United States is an important market for Josefinas and it’s the perfect place to affirm us as luxury brand.

For you, in which way is Josefinas’ shoes and New York women related?

It’s excellent, not just for New York women, but also for women around the world. In addition to appreciating the quality and design of Josefinas’ shoes, they also connect with the brand’s values and purpose. This makes us extremely proud.

To finish, what are your favorites spots in New York?

I’m going to suggest three places to eat that I simply love: The Butcher’s Daughter – I can’t highlight anything specific, because I adore everything about them; Rubirosa has the most divine pizza and By Chloe because of it’s classic vegan burger.

Monday: 11am – 7pm
Wednesday – Saturday: 11am – 7pm
Sunday: 11am – 6pm

Location: 252 Elizabeth Street


Written by our Contributor Laura Peruchi
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Josefinas
*Last Update on March/2020.*

Olivia Palermo, a Maasai Project Ambassador with Pikolinos

Shop Ladies Pikolinos Maasai Project Charity Olivia Palermo and Tribe

We are extremely fond of sustainable fashion brands and this project really got my attention. Pikolinos, has joined forces with Olivia Palermo for a fantastic project with the ethnic group called: Massai.

Shop Ladies Pikolinos Maasai Project Charity Olivia Palermo
Shop Ladies Pikolinos Maasai Project Charity Olivia Palermo Walking
Shop Ladies Pikolinos Maasai Project Charity Olivia Palermo with Leader
Shop Ladies Pikolinos Maasai Project Charity Olivia Palermo On Grass
Shop Ladies Pikolinos Maasai Project Charity Olivia Palermo White Dress
Shop Ladies Pikolinos Maasai Project Charity Olivia Palermo Colors
Shop Ladies Pikolinos Maasai Project Charity Olivia Palermo Campaign
Shop Ladies Pikolinos Maasai Project Charity Olivia Palermo Campaign Dress
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Shop Ladies Pikolinos Maasai Project Charity Olivia Palermo Campaign Safari
Shop Ladies Pikolinos Maasai Project Charity Olivia Palermo Campaign Sandals
Shop Ladies Pikolinos Maasai Project Charity Olivia Palermo Campaign Sitting
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The shoe brand, Pikolinos has partnered up with the internationally renowned socialite, Olivia Palermo. They’ve joined interests and strength to put together the beautiful Pikolinos’ Maasai Project.

Living in the middle of the African savannah, the Maasai people are known for their amazing, colorful cultural identity. People form all over the world admire their customs and dresses.

Women can be seen sewing underneath some gorgeous trees working amazing hand-embroidered pieces. Today all their garments are make out of cotton, but until the 1960’s they used different animal skin.

The community is extremely passionate about strong colors, and stripped patterns.

Adornments like necklaces, bracelets and earrings can be seen though out the entire village. The accessories are mainly made out of beads and wood, woven together to create unique pieces.

This project helps numerous families to access and receive the most basic of needs such as education, food, and medicine.

The shoes ranges from $99 – $305. On the other hand, accessories range from $45-$89 and bags are $225. You can buy online, so be sure to guarantee your pieces and help contribute to this heart-filling cause.

In addition, New York City has countless community projects that you can engage with and help. We closely support the National Multiple Scleroris Society and also coordinate a weekly Feeding Program by Friends in Need.

So, contact us to learn more about them!

And still, if you are a company looking for corporate concierge services, and would like to work with local communities to support education, health and more, contact us. We’ll put you in touch with some of the most credible organizations in New York City.

A little about Pikolinos:

The three main values behind the brand are authenticity, originality and naturalness.

“Pikolinos is a lifestyle, a way of seeing the world. It is the search for happiness that always begins with the comfort of our creations. Make yourself comfortable and let happiness begin at your feet.”


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Pikolinos and Olivia Palermo
*Last Update on March/2020.*

Bonpoint: A House Of French Couture For Kids

Shop Home and Kids Bonpoint 3 Girls

Bonpoint is a house of French couture for kids with the cutest clothes options, for that special occasion. If you have stylish NYC kids, then this is the place for you to shop!

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To start, Bonpoint isn’t exactly a “behind the scenes” brand, but it’s surely worth the attention!

People tend to say that it’s very hard to raise kids in New York City and that you’d have to be crazy to even consider such a thing.

Well, we strongly disagree with this statement. Actually, we believe that kids that are raised in NYC tend to become strong and successful human beings. Being raised in this multicultural, dynamic and empowering city can only mostly bring benefits. But, then again, it’s our point of view.

Plus, our Founder, Fê Paronetto, is totally in love with the city. Not only does she believe in the benefits stated above, but she also has very close friends in NYC that are raising their kids here. Result? They are having the best time ever!

Shopping for kids can be a challenge, specially because they grow up so quickly. There are numerous fast fashion brands that are perfect to buy more daily clothes and underwear. On the other hand, you also need to have in mind which are the brands that you can find, in case you have a special event or occasion. These do have higher price ranges, but worth every dollar.

Founded in 1975, in the heart of Paris, Bonpoint is one of these high-end kid’s fashion brands. In other words, they are a couture fashion brand for the little ones!

The brand has now extended their reach to countless cities across the globe, with over 110 stores.

They offer a fantastic range of the cutest clothes and accessories for newborns, babies, girls and boys! With 3 addresses in New York City, they also sell shoes, perfume and skincare products.

Not to mention that their campaigns are the cutest thing ever!

A little bit more about the brand:

“Rich in the savoir-faire of a couture house, thanks to its artisan studios in Paris, Bonpoint cultivates the precision of beauty, the passion for quality and a meticulous attention to detail and finishing.

Bonpoint is the French fashion house for children. A unique destination with its spot-on style, poetic universe tinged with humour and magic, inspired window displays and the warm atmosphere of its boutiques and flagship stores in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris and on Madison Avenue in New York.

Every season the house’s artistic director, Christine Innamorato, invents an enchanting and creative collection for Bonpoint, from newborn to teenagers and YAM – for those young women who are still Bonpoint girls at heart.”

So, if you’re looking for that special dress for the girls, or a mini suit and cardigan for the boys, this house of French couture for kids is the place to go!

Your baby will most surely be the best dressed kid in the party and the most stylish one too!

If you need help shopping, our experts are great to dress the stylish NYC kids! Contact us to see how our private personal shopping service works.

Check website for further details on each location.

805 Madison Avenue, Upper East Side
1269 Madison Avenue, Upper East Side
398 West Broadway, SoHo


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Bonpoint
*Last Update on March/2020.*

Schutz: Our obsession with a Brazilian Shoe Brand

Shop Ladies Schutz Madison Shoes Short Gladiator Something Navy

We all know that Brazilians love New York City, but New York City also loves Brazilian fashion. Plus, shoe’s are a girl’s second best friend, right? If you agree, Schutz is a Brazilian shoe brand to visit!

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Schutz is a Brazilian shoe brand with over 50 store worldwide. They opened their 1st flagship store in New York City, right on our famous Madison Avenue, on September 2012!

It’s been a while, but then again, it never gets old, since the more shoes we have, the better, correct?

Brazilians are completely addicted to shoes and the more they have, the merrier. Schutz is a young and very trendy brand that has been rocking the world of Brazilian beauties. Now, they are also found on the feet of stylish American gals out there!

With an amazing store project the walls are filled with huge geometric cubes on the walls. There, shoes and accessories are displayed in perfect synch. The store’s concept incorporates the inspiration of an art gallery yet, maintains an inviting, luxurious layout.

You’ll be able to find everything from countless pumps, high heals, the latest sandal styles, flats, boots and everything in between. Not only will you find countless styles, but also you’ll have shoes for every type of occasion. From going to the beach and enjoy a long weekend in the sun, to super fancy shoes and trendy boots to use in the winter! They have it all!

Schutz is one of the most desired Brazilian shoe brands, and their shoes go for $120 to around $360.

Their second store in the US opened in Beverly Drive in Los Angeles, so if you’re on the West Coast, go check it out! From there, they have now expanded to other places like: Aventura in Florida, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Short Hills in New Jersey.

Also, take a look at their latest shoe trends and shop new arrivals now!

With in the group, their sister brand is Alexandre Birman. This eponymous handcrafted luxury brand is higher priced, starting at around $295 and can skyrocket up to around $1,400.

For other Brazilian places in New York, check these out! Beco Bar, in Williamsburg, Capoeira Vida and Berimbau do Brasil in the West Village.

For one of the best beauty salons in New York City, go to Maria Bonita Salon and Spa. And also, check out a unique Jewelry Trunk Show that our experts organized for a Brazilian Marketing and PR agency.

Lastly, see what these Brazilian artists are up to as we wrote about them for Glamour Brazil magazine! As we mentioned above, Brazilians love New York City!

If you’re coming to New York or you live in our beautiful city, and you’re looking for a Personal Shopper & Stylist, let our experts show you how we do it in New York City!

And still, for corporate projects, like Fashion & Trends Tours,  Delegation Study Tours, or simply a fun leisure day contact our experts to learn more!

Monday – Saturday: 10am – 8pm
Sunday: 11am – 7pm

Location: 655 Madison Avenue


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Schutz
*Updated on Jan/2020.*

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