by Amanda Card
Like a good coffee, Hipster Home offers the Hill a fresh, smooth and colorful blend of modern home furnishings and accessories. Nestled at the corner of Southampton and Germantown avenues, Hipster Home comfortably meshes with the Hill’s homey stores.
There’s more than an energetic vibe buzzing in Hipster Home, too. The only local distributor for large, full-surround-sound-capable Geneva Sound Systems, Hipster Home caters to music buffs and interior design enthusiasts alike, and for a reasonable tab.
The smaller Geneva products, complete with FM radio and docking station, are similar to ones found at Apple stores. The larger systems, however, are held in a piano lacquered wood that delivers pristine sound tracks.
According to co-owner Lindsay Herman, “The lacquered wood finish delivers a nice, rich sound.”
Hipster Home also boasts a partnered collection of Umbra home furnishings and accessories. Recently added to the Canadian company’s list of business partners, Hipster Home turns to Umbra for its home essentials.
Serving Pennsylvania as the only Umbra dealer in the state means having a collection of its most popular products at an affordable price. Hipster Home does just that. Its selection of Umbra products covers basic home essentials and interest pieces.
“I like [Umbra’s] aesthetic and they have great price points,” Herman added.
Despite its unique aesthetic, Umbra is adaptable to any home’s theme. Rooms don’t have to reflect Umbra’s vibrant color palette either. Bright colored household accents spruce up any neutral scheme without clashing – a staple of Hipster Home’s décor collection.
“Neutral anchor pieces are always forgiving to colorful accents that you can always change,” Herman said.
Umbra, as well as Hipster Home’s other products, appears to be successful in Chestnut Hill. The Hill offers Hipster Home some distance from big name companies like Target and Walmart, which would distract customers from its everyday household products. Herman said she was excited with the store’s new location and how it benefits its line of everyday essentials.
“We used to have a Target down the street, so people didn’t stop in looking for a trash can,” Herman said. “We also encourage people to let us know if there’s something they can’t find, and we’ll look for it in the store.”
While Herman and co-owner Dave Friday continue to feel out their new clientele, some products will fit into any home – modern, Victorian, large or lofty.
Hipster Home’s furniture includes products from Gus Modern, a Canadian design team that recently launched a new line called “The Loft Series,” which features pieces that work in spaces that aren’t forgiving to bigger furniture.
According to Herman, Gus Modern’s “top sellers were scaled down without losing the aesthetic of their larger counterpart.”
Hipster Home showcases GM’s staple Loft Series piece, “Jane.” As opposed to some sectionals that only allow the extra section to be on one side of the seating area, “Jane’s” section can be placed on either side of the sofa to best fit your space.
Herman said the piece “has a low profile and can be adjusted to any space.”
“Since it’s been scaled down, if you have the space for a small couch, you can also have room for a sectional,” she explained.
Though Hipster Home showcases the petite frame of the Loft-Jane, it also offers furniture options for larger spaces, including bar stools, chairs and larger sectionals.
Among its other products are DeckStools, a dismantled skateboard redesigned as a trendy stool.
“The decks are used as the legs of stool and are held together by the trucks,” Herman said.
Pieces like the DeckStools succeed in Hipster’s new home on the Hill, and it seems to stem from a more diverse and denser community.
While Phoenixville offered Hipster Home a foundation to kick-start its trendy business, the Chestnut Hill location has been just the change Herman and Friday needed.
“We wanted to turn the page,” Herman said. “It was easy in Phoenixville because we had a big store, but now we have the business. We had to move to a place with more population density.
We love the corner and especially all the windows.”
Herman talked about her excitement for the success of corner exposure, crediting the Hill’s neighborhood friendliness with a smooth transition to the Hill.
“We get people that come in looking for Host, and some people that stop in just to welcome us to the area,” she said. “It’s great – just a great vibe.”
Happy to be in Chestnut Hill, Herman spoke about how the community’s interest in Hipster Home products offer the company more freedom when choosing what lines to feature in the store.
“We’re able to test new things with business,” said Herman, speaking of her interest in introducing some Alessi products to the store.
According to Herman, Alessi is “more like collector’s items as opposed to every day essentials.”
“It’s a line I’d really like to get,” she added.
As with any collector’s line, Alessi comes with a refined price tag, but the dynamic of residents’ needs would seem to bode well for a line like Alessi.
“Hipster” conceptions aside, Hipster Home caters to a realistic budget for locals without sacrificing an aesthetic or a unique item in the store.
That big blue chair that greets customers, for instance, isn’t a child’s toy. It’s a solid plastic chair, handmade in Italy with a $900 price tag on it.
“We like to keep an eye on price points” said Herman, who later joked about the Italian chair, “but we have our favorite items that just can’t go.”
Hipster Home offers inexpensive home accessories for college students, families, and singletons alike. Ranging from clever note pad collections to artsy wall décor and a growing bath and children’s section, Hipster Home completes any list for at home needs.
One thing’s certain: Hipster Home’s products don’t alienate certain customers the way that other “modern” home furnishing stores do.
“Some people get worried when they hear modern,” Herman said, “but it’s nothing to worry about. We offer clean lines and color – a nice contrast to a [non-modern] Victorian home.”
The store also encourages everyone to shop for home accessories.
“We make the store comfortable for all age groups – men and women,” Herman said.
Customers also don’t have to be young, modern enthusiasts to enjoy Hipster Home’s merchandise.
“[Our name] was a take on being hip five years ago,” said Herman, noting that Hipster Home doesn’t reflect “hipster” anti-trends as portrayed in popular culture or a cheap alternative to expensive looks. Instead, Hipster Home continues to market a flattering and adaptable aesthetic over a multi-budget foundation.
“We’re a contemporary home furnishings and accessories store,” Herman said. “So, we’re modern – it’s just what we prefer.”