Retail Profile: Ann Gish, Manhattan
Susan Dickenson -- Gifts & Dec, September 27, 2011
ANN GISH HAS been busy this year. During the July market in Atlanta, she exhibited in the HD Home area and, while there, picked up the Americasmart Icon honor for new design. The Atlanta market was just one stop on her 2011 market schedule, which also includes Accent on Design in New York, Home Finds in Dallas, and Interhall in High Point.
A few weeks ago, Gish invited friends, buyers and press in town for the New York gift fair to a big "thank you" party at her new digs in Manhattan's Flatiron District. The new Ann Gish retail store, wholesale showroom and design studio officially opened in June. The 4,000-sq.-ft. showroom is in a street-level space belonging to 150 Fifth Ave., an 11-floor Romanesque Revival building originally built in 1888 as the "Methodist Book Concern."
Asked to describe her new place, Gish described it as "open, airy, uncluttered, fresh, serene, peaceful, friendly, unfussy, comfortable, nice to be in." But it took a bit of work, and a complete renovation, to get there. Before the redesign, it was "horrible, ugly, old and miserable," according to Gish. "It was our design. My husband has a great spatial sense and he made the decisions to avoid ceiling ducting, etc., while I did the interior styling we built. The space had good bones, they were just covered up by years of neglect."
Today, the light-filled showroom's polished wood floors, white walls and high ceilings provide a perfect backdrop for the Ann Gish silk bedding, luxury linens and decorative pillows that, together with accessories, artwork, lighting and furniture from other vendors, reflect the Ann Gish lifestyle of sophisticated, practical elegance.
Gish, whose past includes work as an interior designer, television and radio producer, chef and, for more than 20 years, designer and manufacturer of luxury linens and home furnishings, said she's always been a creator.
Ann Gish, center, with showroom visitors Peggy Swartchild (left) and Carol Levy of Material Possessions (Chicago and Winnetka, Ill.).
Ann Gish Inc. was established 19 years ago in order to offer her work to stores, designers and hotels worldwide. She was born and raised in New York City and Southern California and has lived in France, London, and in a restored 1712 sugar plantation in Barbados. Today, home is Manhattan's Upper West Side.
How has business been so far? So far, so good!
And how do you like the neighborhood? I LOVE it.
Is this your first retail showroom? No, I had two in Florida long ago.
Describe your product mix: Bedding, rugs, furniture (steel and upholstered, and all beds) by Ann Gish; case goods, lighting, paintings, art and one-of-a-kinds by others. Retail price points range from $37 for a great stationery hostess gift to $1,800 for a spectacular silk cover.
Which role do you enjoy more - product designer/manufacturer or retailer? Right now, retailer because it's different, with new challenges, a new learning curve and new solutions to new problems.
Describe your average retail customer: Lovely. Tasteful. There are no average customers ... everyone is different.
Describe your average wholesale customer: Definitely not average - they're special, smart and understand their businesses.
What is the most enjoyable part of your job? Working with our customers - retailers, designers and consumers ... and merchandising.
What's covering your bed at home? Natural silk basket-weave. It's really a longtime favorite.
Is it true that you were a bedding supplier to the Sex and the City television show? It's true -- the bed made for Charlotte in the quilted charmeuse, and the bedding for Richard's bed. I wish I could tell you more about some of the interesting orders ... but I've promised silence.
Address: 4 West 20th St., New York, N.Y.
Tour Transpac's Las Vegas Showroom