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Claire Distenfeld on Naïve Retail and Cold Calling Mario Batalli

Inside Fivestory, photo by Brian Harkin
Inside Fivestory, photo by Brian Harkin

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In case you haven't read enough about Claire Distenfeld, the owner of Fivestory, WWD ran a profile on the young storeowner as a part of their "Ten of Tomorrow" series. The paper recounts the semi-unlikely opening of her store—recently out of college, disenchanted with art world, retired father helps fund a luxe/quirky store in famously stuffy neighborhood—and how, more than a year after opening, the store is still a BFD.

Distenfeld says things like, "I was able to do this because I was completely naïve and totally ignorant," so you can't totally envy-hate her for owning a marble shopping palace replete with shoe garden at such a young age. After the jump, more choice quotes from the article.

On competing with her neighbors: "I do want to carry things that are off the beaten track, but they're curated. We have Peter Pilotto, Bergdorf has Peter Pilotto, but instead of having 12 dresses, I'm going to show you four."

On her female shoppers: She's "between 35 and 50... She likes to be unique, but she doesn't want to dress wacky. They don't come in and want to put the plants on their head."

On the benefits of being a "lifestyle" store: "I have an excuse to get in touch with anyone... I can call Mario Batali. I technically don't know him, but I can try and get in touch with him and be like, 'I want to do a cooking event at Fivestory.' The second you call yourself a lifestyle you have access to anything."
· Ten of Tomorrow: Claire Distenfeld, Fivestory [WWD]
· How Claire Distenfeld Opened Fivestory With the Help of Her Dad [Racked NY]
· All Fivestory coverage [Racked NY]

Fivestory

18 East 69th Street, New York, NY 10021 212-288-1338 Visit Website