Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Castor & Pollux

Remember this pretty lady?

castor&pollux-jonpamer Photo by John Von Pamer

This is Kerrilynn Pamer, owner of one of my favorite boutiques in NY Castor and Pollux.

castorandpollux-kerrilynjvp Photo by John Von Pamer

Castor & Pollux
is rooted in creating a decorative conversation, recognizing that the act of getting dressed directly corresponds to the books on our shelves, the foods we eat, the scents we wear, and the way we set a dinner table.

For eight years owner Kerrilynn Pamer’s eclectic spot has been a destination well known for it's tightly curated selection of clothing, jewelry and vintage objects. Teaming emerging talent like Risto Bimboloski with established designers like women swear guru Sonia Rykiel, the store offers something for the fashion observers and fashion obsessed alike. Originally opened in 2001 in Prospect Heights at half its current size, Pamer knows how to maximize the space by constantly re-energizing the inventory, while staying true to the classic pieces that define her vision.

castorandpollux-1 Photo from Castor& Pollux

I lived down the street from Castor & Pollux during my last year in NYC. This happened to be my first year with a baby so to say I did a lot of walking and looking would be an understatement. Kerrilynn and her staff create a deliciously inviting space. It is almost impossible to go in and not really really want something...and some of my very favorite things come from C&P (including my all time favorite wallet, below) When my need for company was greater than my need for things it was such a pleasure just to walk in and see how the "decorative conversation" was evolving. I always received such a warm welcome, an invitation to stay and chat about clothes of course, but also food, art, life, children, love...everything. For me it was a home away from home.

castorandpollux-wallets2 Photo from Castor & Pollux

Last Summer when I was in NY I had the opportunity to take some photos and during fashion week this past September Kerrilynn took time out of her very busy schedule to do a little interview for us here.


I bet you are excited for all your new fall/Winter arrivals. Is there a designer or trend that you are especially excited about?

I truly am excited about everything coming in the store for Fall. I’ve always felt very attached to this time of year as my birthday and anniversary are in September and the store’s anniversary is in October so there is always a lot to look forward to. I feel as if this is the season that truly embodies C&P so it’s always fun to do our Fall buy.
In regards to how I buy for the store I’ve never been much of a trend driven person so that explains why I am so attracted to the Kimberly Ovitz sweaters that we have in the store currently. They remind me of sweaters that everyone in Portland used to get for Christmas, but upgraded to being totally decadent and luxe.. I am also loving the Acne pieces that we have; their collection just seems to keep getting better and better as time goes by. They are consistently updating classic shapes and ideas but always making them interesting and beautiful. In truth though, I love everything that is coming in the next months; in my opinion Fall should last for 9 out of 12 months, that would make me happy!


-How are you creatively navigating the recession? I read an article where you talk about being an M-3 racer and count me in, can you tell me about those programs?

Count Me In and Make Mine a Million are amazing organizations that are completely dedicated to helping women get their businesses to a place of profit by getting one million women owned businesses to sales of one million dollars. Currently, the number of women who reach that goal is remarkably small even though we have become major contributors to the economy through our businesses and being consumers.

Nell Merlino, who started Take Your Daughters to Work Day, also started Make Mine a Million and has been so supportive of C&P and myself. This October, Nell, Poppy King, (the Lipstick Queen), and I will be having an in-store party/networking event for Poppy’s new lipstick, Fired Up (all profits go towards Count Me In). I am honored to be hosting this event with these inspiring and amazing women; it makes you realize that when women work together we can affect so much change. Nothing is too large to make change.

In addition to this I am competing in the Make Mine a Million race, a year long competition that inspires you to reach sales goals, understand your financials, receive invaluable advice and communicate with other women who are running their own businesses. It’s a wonderful resource for entrepreneurs, I encourage all women to get involved with it.

In regards to the recession I think it has been an incredibly helpful way to look at my business and see exactly what I want it to be and also how I can contribute to the world in ways that are related to selling clothing but actually fall over into other disciplines. We have had charity dinners in the store; the first one was a six course Mexican feast that my friend Nils of Matador Records prepared that benefited The Tia Foundation, a wonderful organization that provides health care training for women in rural Mexican villages. We were able to fully sponsor two women to go through the program by having this event in our store. Very exciting! We have more of these on our calendar coming up. We have also had an Italian wine course, a dog adoption, trunk shows and many other events. I believe that all of these things make a person complete, not just the clothing they wear, so it has encouraged and allowed us to explore and host events that might not normally be associated with a clothing store.


-What is inspiring you right now; Food, books, artists, designers.

I always love this question and also dread it a bit because I feel like I will inevitably leave something out! But that being said, I have many things right now that I’m greatly interested in and would love to talk about.

Food is always a huge inspiration with me and although I’ve loved the summer foods that were available, I can’t wait to get into the kitchen and cook this Fall. Japanese fried chicken, chunky apple walnut cake, butternut squash soup, Hatch green chilies over eggs, Zuni’s roast chicken and bread salad. This list could go on for so long that I will stop myself here for fear of this turning into a cookbook!

Outside of food, I’m really inspired by Risto Bimbiloski’s collection and can’t wait to get my hands on all the pieces that are coming from Alexandre Herchcovitch.

I’m inspired by an organization that one of my clients, Melissa Kushner, started called www.goodsforgood, It is based on the simple idea that we have the ability to turn excess into progress. The organization receives donations of surplus goods from companies, coordinates shipments to Africa and puts them in the hands of schools and community centers. Just the smallest item can make a difference. A pen in the hand of a school child can make the difference between going to class or not. I can’t think of anything more inspiring.

And, then there is fragrance. This is a medium that has always spoken to me and I’ve always found immensely fascinating. I have been working on the development of the first Castor & Pollux scent since last year and we are launching this in Winter 2010;
I am beyond happy about this.


-When you think of Autumn what imagery does it evoke?

Fireplaces, Montauk, lobster rolls, crisp air, cozy nights, Indian summers, new beginnings. I just truly love Fall, all of it. There’s nothing about it that doesn’t make me completely happy. I think it’s magical.

-Why the name Castor and Pollux?

Such a beautiful story about the twins, so lovely, sad and poetic.

-Based on your experience starting your own business, is there any advise you would give to a fellow woman entrepreneur?

Know and understand your numbers.

Always do your routines when you are supposed to and don’t let them pile up. This can save so much frustration; a little bit a day is much easier to handle than a lot later on.

Ask and talk with other women entrepreneurs as it’s almost inevitable that someone has gone through what you are going through as no problem is new. It’s very reassuring to know that you are not reinventing the wheel and these conversations can be invaluable in getting you through difficult times.

Try not to take it all so seriously. Have fun with it and bring something to the world that people genuinely want and you are proud of.


-Do you have any timeless style tips, a couple of live by rules that will always make you look/ feel better?

I find that laying my clothes out the night before does wonders. Even with the best of intentions I always seem to run out of time when getting dressed in the morning and have a lot more fun getting ready when I’ve figured it out with a clear head (and a glass of wine!).

Being nice to people always makes you feel better.

And a pair of Christian Loubutin Miss Tick heels makes everyone feel (and look) just a little better than you can imagine.

-If you could live anywhere besides New York, where would it be and why?

I really long to spend more time on the West Coast where I grew up, but for now New York will do. (Good thing you didn’t ask me that on the most humid day of the year!) I love Los Angeles and imagine living there at some point in our future. Life there includes John and tons of animals that run the gamut from a pack of rescue dogs, horses (of course!), pigs, chickens, possibly a couple rabbits and what ever other wayward souls want to show up looking for a place to stay! The more the merrier!


I am thrilled to announce that Castor & Pollux is launching it's E-commerce site today! This is fantastic news for all of us that don't live in NY.

I am also very excited to tell you that since I began working on this post a couple of months ago kerrilynn began carrying jackson, johnston & roe and my ceramic raku bowls.

1 comment:

  1. Riley, an inspired story, interview and look at a
    very inviting boutique. I miss New York City and visiting Castor and Pollux with you. So glad that jj&r and your bowls will grace this lovely store.