Catching Up with the Couple Behind The Curiosity Shoppe at Target

August 15, 2012 - Article reads in
Catching Up with the Couple Behind The Curiosity Shoppe at Target

Curiosity might have killed the cat, but it got us one-of-a-kind home décor pieces and quirky objet d’arts we can’t find anywhere else.

Thanks to San Francisco-based couple-turned-cofounders Lauren Smith and Derek Fagerstrom of The Curiosity Shoppe, at least.

And did you hear the good news? The dynamic duo is creating a 60-plus-piece collection of accessories, stationery, kitchenware, games and other curiosities as part of the fall installment of The Shops at Target. Starting September 9, the limited-time collection will be available in stores and online at

But first, get the details on this radder-than-rad collection from the designers themselves in the video below, and read on for our exclusive interview.

Why did you decide to open your own shop?
Lauren: We opened our shop for the simple reason that we wanted to try something new. We had been living in New York, and had reached the point where we were either going to stay in New York forever, or return to the West Coast.
Derek: When we first opened, I remember thinking that once our families and close friends had bought a couple things at the shop that would be it and we’d have to close down and try to get “real” jobs. Six years later, I’m still humbled and tickled when strangers tell me they like our shop.

Do you have a favorite memory from those early days?
L: We have a small gallery space in the back of our shop, where designers and artists are invited to install shows once a month. Our first show was by an artist named Shawn Creeden, who did an entire installation about bats—bat embroideries, portraits and sculptures. For the opening, we invited some bat experts who brought in live bats for a demo. Months and even years later, people stop in to ask when the bats are coming back!

How do you describe your shop?
D: We usually refer to our offerings as “curios for the creatively inclined.”

What are you most excited about in your Target collection?
L: To be invited to create a whole collection under the banner of The Curiosity Shoppe that will be prominently featured in every Target across the country is pretty much too good to be true. We’re most excited about the sheer breadth of the collection! With more than 60 unique pieces, there really is something for everyone. We especially love the gorgeous wood kitchen accessories (United States cutting board, arrow salad servers, wood-turned whisks and spoons and spatulas) and all the textiles (tea towels, oven mitts, placemats). The colors and the quality are amazing.

How was it going from curator to designer for the first time?
D: It was a really fun challenge. We wanted to capture the essence of The Curiosity Shoppe, so we focused on three things we look for in objects that inspire us: beauty, utility, and wit. With that in mind, we had numerous meetings with Target’s design team to craft an assortment of items that we loved and that we knew Target’s guests would love as well. And the designers at Target know everything there is to know about manufacturing and sourcing, so it was a wonderful learning experience for us. They turned us on to all sorts of interesting materials and techniques, which is how we discovered melaboo (a melamine and bamboo hybrid) and the elegant woodturning techniques that make up the handles of our kitchen utensils and wooden spinning tops.

How did you feel when you saw the collection for the first time?
D: We were a little overwhelmed. We’d had lots of meetings with Target and had seen samples and mock ups, but to see the actual items in person was insanely exciting.
L: We really just wanted our shop to be reflected both physically and philosophically. So we created items that were fun and bright and had a ton of personality in them. We think it’s important for the objects in your home to tell a story, to invite conversation, and to be useful in your everyday life. That being said, our designs were driven by happy memories of road trips filled with visits to national parks, roadside attractions, 24-hour diners, and the like.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the exclusive Patch NYCKirna Zabête and Odin collections. 

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