Every month or two, everything in the New York City based retail shop Story completely changes. Like the art galleries down the street in its Chelsea neighborhood, Story regularly tears down everything in its space and fills it with new work. It’s designed to be a little like a themed issue of a magazine, since every collection is based on a specific idea. Right now, the issue is "Good": products that were designed for social benefit.
Just inside the door, there’s a Toms Roasting Co. coffee cart, a new project from the shoe company that will provide clean drinking water to someone in need every time a customer in New York buys a cup of coffee. Throughout the store, perched on recycled wooden pallets, there are other socially minded products, some of which have never been in retail stores before.
From Uncharted Play, the company behind a soccer ball that generates electricity, there’s a new jumprope that also creates power. Handmade bags from a new company called Revisit help support the National Park Service. Redesigned athletic socks from Bombas also help provide socks to the homeless. And NatureBox, a subscription service for healthy snacks, is on track to donate at least a million meals through Feeding America.
Each of the products was selected because the manufacturers have built their business around giving back. "The ‘giving’ element has to be part of their core DNA—not 2% goes to charity, but part of their core, descriptive and actual part of the story," says Story founder Rachel Shechtman.
"I have worked with brands such as Toms as a consultant, and now more than ever I feel like I am constantly discovering and meeting new people who are launching social impact brands that are equally impactful and outstanding product," she says. "There is nothing I love more than finding new and meaningful things and sharing them so they can be discovered by many."
If you happen to in the neighborhood, it's worth checking out, though when I stopped by the other day I couldn't help wishing there were more products—on a previous visit, during a design-themed installation, it seemed like the store was packed. It's also a little sad that the "Good" store won't last. True to form, the shop will shift in another direction on June 1.