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Five Questions With | Allie Kuzyk

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

You may not be able to pronounce it, but Gesamkunstwerk is a boutique you should know about.

Nestled on a corner across Houston Street on the Lower East Side, this boutique voted “Best New Indie Shop” by TimeOut NY is a go to spot for locally made, conversation worthy pieces. Cooper Union grad Alexandra “Allie” Kuzyk mans the store most days and her background in visual merchandising and design makes her an expert in spotting the “next big thing”. The Local sat down with Allie to discuss why she chose her store’s unpronounceable name, where she goes out in the East Village and why she chose the Lower East Side as her shop’s home.


Where did you come up with the name Gesamkunstwerk?


When the shop originally opened in the summer of 2010, it was both a
workshop and a retail boutique. So my partner and I thought of
gesamtkunstwerk, a German word meaning “the complete art work,” because we
thought it captured the essence of what we were trying to accomplish in the
space. Now we poke fun at the name because it’s a mouthful, so we go by
“Werk” and our website is
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Pricing Key to Vintage Shop Survival

stillhouseJoshua Davis East Village boutiques have thrived by offering low priced merchandise to its customers. Still House, 117 East Seventh Street, sells artwork and jewelry by local artists.

With reports of hard times for struggling Lower East Side boutiques, The Local paid a visit to merchants on East Seventh Street to see how their businesses are faring. But rather than echoing the frustrated voices of Lower East Side merchants, many of whom have closed or moved to Brooklyn, the East Village is holding steady and even opening new stores.

The secret: low prices.

Here is what some local shopkeepers had to say about starting up and surviving in the East Village.

Rena Reborn and Still House, both at 117 East Seventh Street

Two newcomers to the block, both stores opened within a week of another last month, and both specialize in selling goods from local artists and designers. Rena Reborn, which sells new and recycled jewelry and clothing for women, draws many of its customers with $5 and $10 racks.

“Low prices keep us in business,” says owner Rachael Rush.
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