Pop-Up Guru Rachel Shechtman Gives Us The Scoop On STORY

This post is part of a series devoted to the GE Garages Making Things Competition, which gives architects a chance to win $20,000 and a commission to design a storefront installation. Learn more!

Last week we celebrated the launch of Fashion Week here in New York City with an unveiling of the Project Pop-Up NYC winners, an initiative aimed at ensuring the growth of fashion and retail. Even Mayor Bloomberg made an appearance at STORY, a Chelsea-based shop founded by Rachel Shechtman that is hosting the first series of “Pop-Up NYC” projects. STORY is an experimental storefront that has the mindset of a magazine, changes like a gallery, and sells things like a store. It typically hosts new retailers every four to six weeks.

STORY is now teaming up with GE for the GE Garages Making Things Competition. The challenge is to design and build a window installation for the store in October. The winner will not only have a highly publicized commission, but will also receive $20,000 to make it. The only catch is that the design MUST incorporate some form of rapid prototyping, like 3D printing or milling, in keeping with the “making things” theme. Submissions are free, but act fast: The September 20th entry deadline is quickly approaching!

We had a chance to sit down with STORY founder, Rachel, and pick her master mind about the amazing store and the upcoming competition. Read the interview.

What is your background? Where did you come up with an awesome idea like this?

I became an accidental consultant 10 years ago working with brands ranging from TOMS to Gilt Groupe to Bliss Spas. After developing a niche for integrating marketing, merchandising, and business development practicies and strategies, I developed a model that would include all those key elements as the core DNA.

Can you tell us more about the space? What do you see happening with it?

The space is 2000 sq ft and faces the High Line. We are in Chelsea on 10th Avenue and 19th street. It is a wide and beautiful open space that HWKN designed for us with polished concrete, black painted exposed ceiling, and massive window frontage. We team up with different architects and/or interior designers to create different environments for each STORY. We currently have an amazing installation by Snarkitecture.

What is your goal for the space? What would you like to see most?

I would like to bring content, community, and commerce to life—all simultaneously and not just because those sound like good buzz words. We have less time and are used to getting information every second online, so I want to do our best to create a real-life experience that feeds into what people want and are getting elsewhere. We’ve had people at the store at 7pm for a fresh pasta-making class with Nonna from Spicy and Sweet. We’ve also had a live “invention station” with illustrators from Quirky.com. I would like to see at least five stores in three years, and e-commerce within six months.

Why do you think the GE competition is a good fit for your vision?

To me, GE represents innovation and has an impressive range of diverse businesses, all of which wouldn’t exist without “makers”—mechanics, engineers, designers, and so on. At STORY, we aim to have each experience appeal to a wide spectrum of people, from 10 year olds to 75 year olds. Our upcoming installation opening October 5th,”STORY: Making Things,” which is being made possible by GE, will offer a space where anyone can use a 3D printer or laser cuter. The best part: They get to leave with what they made. That is AMAZING!

Can we get an idea of the installations to come?

Installations to come…hmmmm…. that is the fun!  You need to sign up at www.thisisstory.com to find out!

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