Brooklyn is always surprising me. Every time I visit, I seem to stumble upon some sort of gem…whether that be a bar, a restaurant, or a shop. About a month ago, I discovered a store that had me oo-ing and aah-ing at just about every little thing inside. It’s mysterious, bohemian, inspiring…and just…one of those stores that keeps you coming back.
Situated on the corner of Driggs and S. 4th Street in Williamsburg is Species by the Thousands. (Right across from Pies & Thighs, and if you don’t know what Pies & Thighs is, now you know. Go there.) The owner, Erica, opened up shop in 2005 and has since been producing fine works of jewelry and other mystical goods. What drew me in to the store were the intricate dream catchers hanging in the front display window. I glanced up and saw “Species by the Thousands” hand painted on a wooden sign. Such an interesting name, but one that I could bet meant there was something inside I might like.
After my first visit to the store, I knew I wanted to photograph and feature it next time I stopped in. I was curious to get to know a little bit more about Erica and share a peek inside her beautifully decorated store with you all.
The name of your store leaves me curious and fascinated. How did you come up with it?
The name Species by the Thousands came from searching vintage books about animals and earth science. It felt like a big enough name to fit all the things I wanted to make.
Have you always had a brick and mortar? How did Species by the Thousands come to be?
I did a pop up store as a test run and have been doing various craft markets. That’s how I trained for having a brick and mortar.
Where did you grow up? How did it shape the person you are today?
I grew up in New England, Fall River, MA and Tiverton, RI. The area I grew up in is very beautiful and creepy, most definitely haunted. One house we lived in was Lizzie Borden’s uncle’s house. My grandfather who was psychic found an axe in the wall of the basement.
Did you always know you wanted to design and create?
Yes, since age 4 I’ve always made things including paper sculptures, painted furniture, and portraits of Boy George.
Crystals are scattered throughout your shop, on display and for sale. Do you have a favorite kind? How do you use and incorporate crystals into your personal life?
It’s hard to say, they are all so pretty and special. I collect them and have them scattered on the mantel.
I also noticed all of the apothecary items. Do you make all of these yourself? How did you get in to such a thing?
We make the apothecary in the back of the store. We started making them because we couldn’t find room sprays that we liked. These are all natural and have magical properties as an extra bonus.
Do you have a studio space where everything in your shop comes to life?
I work at home and in the back of the shop.
I love the way your store is decorated. Everything seems to placed just right. Have you always had a thing for interior design?
I’ve always loved decorating and arranging. Having a shop is a perfect outlet for that.
Are there any elements of your store that are similar to your personal living space?
Yes my apartment in Bushwick has old wood and lots of hanging plants and prisms.
You used to live in my neck of the woods (Fishtown) here in Philly. What made you decide to move to Brooklyn?
I lived in Philadelphia while going to grad school. I moved to Brooklyn because I always wanted to live in NYC.
Can you tell us your favorite spots in Brooklyn to either eat, shop or relax?
I have a hard time relaxing in Brooklyn! I do like going to shows at the Silent Barn though.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who aspires to have a shop of their own?
It takes a lot of maintenance, creativity and organization. Not always fun, but most of the time it is.
Where do you find/seek inspiration?
I love visiting the Southwest. When I can’t get away, I use Pinterest for inspiration.
If you had to pick one place to visit (anywhere in the world) and one song to listen to for an entire day, where/what would it be?
I would like to visit the great pyramids in Giza. And listen to Dead Can Dance any song from the Aion album.
What does being ‘free’ mean to you?
Listening to your inner voice and going for what you want.
Thank you, Erica!
If you happen to be in the area, be sure to pop in to Species by the Thousands.
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