photo credit: Kimberly M. Wang eardog.com
About the Shop
The Michele Varian shop at 400 Atlantic Avenue is an unexpected oasis of curious, provocative, and beautiful things. At the shop you can find Michele’s own collections of textiles, pillows, wallpaper, lighting, and furniture, as well as product by 100+ other innovative designers of furniture and home accessories and 70+ locally-based fine jewelry designers. Coupled with her own product design ethos, Michele’s aesthetic is notoriously synonymous with the intersection of tradition and modernity.
The most insightful way she’s heard her aesthetic described is that she desires to see the hand of the maker in everything she produces and curates. A reflection of and contributor to the New York design zeitgeist, her shop is an ever-changing experience. With three floors of retail space and a basement-level, UL listed lighting design and fabrication studio is a destination for editors, interiors enthusiasts, design professionals, and New York City visitors alike. Come by the shop in person (details on location + hours here) or visit online at michelevarian.com.
About Michele Varian
Michele Varian is a designer, micro-manufacturer and entrepreneur; she is also a buyer, curator, retailer and shop owner, a tenants’ rights advocate, a small business and community activist, a proudly native Detroiter, and a passionately longtime New Yorker.
Trained at Parsons School of Design, Michele began in the industry as a fashion designer on collections for the likes of Barneys, Neiman Marcus, Fred Segal, Target, and Seibu Japan; she segued to home goods via textiles, and her practice has since evolved to now include wallpaper, lighting, and furniture pieces. She opened up her eponymous retail shop in 2001 in SoHo (pioneering the Crosby St. retail corridor), and now resides in her third and largest retail location, just down the street from her earlier two spaces.
In 2014, Michele launched Detroit Built Co. to provide Detroit-based makers a retail platform for their stellar, unsung product designs. In 2017, Michele co-founded Guesst.co, acting as Chief Strategy Officer. A digital platform allowing brands to co-retail with existing retailers, Guesst.co was developed to create a vibrant future for both retail and design, making sure creative innovators big and small still have access to opportunity, market, and growth.
Also in 2017, Michele launched Design Talk by MV, an online editorial platform exploring traditional and e-commerce, independent business, and New York City’s creative landscape. The series was expanded into Design Talk Roundtable, a recurring panel event inviting thought leaders to explore the industry’s challenges and progress. As educative resources available to the public, the two initiatives have received coverage in numerous trade outlets and continue to reach audiences thirsty for the solutions Michele offers through her expertise and twenty years in the industry.
As an independent business owner, Michele holds awards from the International Furnishings and Design Association, Architectural Digest Design Show, and has been listed as one of ELLE Décor’s best furniture shops in the U.S. for three years running. Her product designs are sold at stores around the U.S., Canada, and Europe. She is a member of SoHo Design District, Female Design Council, is on the Advisory Committee for NYC Jewelry Week, and on the board of the SoHo Broadway Initiative (a NYC Business Improvement District).
More Fun Facts
Michele is one of triplets (all girls) born on Christmas Day. She now lives around the corner from her shop in SoHo with her husband Brad Roberts, lead singer and songwriter of Crash Test Dummies. She is living her dream.