Local food is now easily accessible in the area thanks to weekly farmers markets, grocery stores and restaurants that cater to customers who want to eat food grown or produced nearby. But what happens when those same people want to purchase clothing, jewelry or art from local designers, artists and craftspeople? It isn’t always easy to find those products, but soon it will be with the opening of Whats-Nü in Davis Square sometime this month.
Proprietor Lena Gorczyca got the idea for the store, which will feature mostly locally made products like clothing, art pieces and jewelry as well as other lifestyle products, when she was working at the recently shuttered Davis Square boutique Suneri as a designer, buyer and sales associate. Learning all of these roles helped Gorczyca see the business from many perspectives, so when Suneri was closing she decided to take over the space, but change the name and the focus.
“People appreciate having local designers,” Gorczyca said. “I got to know this business from different perspectives, inside and out.”
Whats-Nü will feature all new products, nothing second-hand, as Davis Square already has an abundance of shops catering to that market. The store will also focus on those things that are green and sustainable. The designers and artists who are supplying their work to the store come from Somerville Cambridge, Medford and Arlington as well as places farther afield, like New York and New Hampshire.
Gorczyca said that she is trying to “keep it as local as possible” when she sources products for the store like greeting cards, bath stuff, candles and artwork. The space will also act as an art gallery, giving local artists another place to show their work.
“People work in different mediums,” Gorczyca said. “Whether it’s dress forms or paint brushes. There’s no reason not to bring these two things together.”
And as you might expect from a store focusing on local merchandise, Gorczyca is proactively seeking feedback on her business.
“The focus will be on the needs and desires of the local community,” Gorczyca said. “We intend on listening very closely to what our customers have to say.”
Another big part of the store will be custom pieces. Gorczyca herself is a designer who has been making custom clothing for people through her work at Suneri and that experience taught her the value of sourcing items that a diverse array of people would be interested in and find flattering.
“When you work with people, you see things totally differently,” Gorczyca said. “We’re going to emphasize custom stuff. This is one of the benefits of working with local designers.”
Most of all what Gorczyca hopes is to create a space that is friendly to local designers and artists who need a space to sell their things and friendly to the local community looking for such merchandise.
“As a small designer, you have to do your own thing,” Gorczyca said. “In the store, you’ll find things you can’t buy on Amazon.com.”
67 Holland St.
Sunday noon-5 p.m.
Monday-Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Thursday 11 a.m.-7 p.m.