Soft music plays and candles, one-of-a-kind purses, handmade jewelry and all sorts of artsy little things grace a cozy gift shop on Graham Avenue named Brooklynski. The shop’s specialty is t-shirts with the Brooklynski logo, designed by owner Basia Grocholski, and quirky gifts like graphite sculpture pencils, metal paperweights with multiple functions, portable tea-bags with handles, pillows, silk-screen printed ties and many other accessories.
Some of Grocholski’s favorite items in the store are the “Buddha Board,” a board on which you can draw with water, a paperweight that is also a globe, and a combination clock-graphite pencil, in the shape of a half-closed hand.
“I like to sell stuff that doesn’t go into the garbage,” said Grocholski.
The store’s logo features a mermaid holding an olive branch, an homage to the coat of arms of Grocholski’s hometown of Warsaw, Poland, but the store caters to local clientele and many of the products featured are made by local artists, jewelry designers, writers and craftsmen. The store also plans to host gallery nights by local up-and-coming artists.
“Broooklynski means “of Brooklyn” in Polish,” said Grocholski. “Everyone here is a Brooklynski.”
Grocholski and husband Douglass Friedmutter started Brooklynski about two years ago on Driggs Avenue when Grocholski, pregnant with her son, did not want to travel all the way to Manhattan every time she needed to buy a little gift. She figured other moms and local residents feel this way, so the small shop opened in February of 2007. Recently, the owner sold the building on Driggs Avenue, so the store moved to Graham Avenue last October. The store offers staples such as candles, t-shirts and jewelry year-round, but as seasons change new inventory is offered. Some holiday specialties include spice-scented candles and Swedish Santa ornaments made of wool.
It is not surprising many locals support the store with their business because of the affordable prices of many of the products. The graphite sculpture pencils come in many shapes and range in price from $44-$52, depending on the shape; t-shirts at $25; jewelry from $18 for a plastic ring to $200 to an oxidized ring with 14 K gold jasmine blossoms; reusable shopping bags in trendy hues for $6-$14; and soy-based candles and natural diffusers $17-$35. Not only are many of the gifts affordable, they are biodegradable and reusable. After a candle burns out, for example, the glass candleholder can be used for planting herbs.
Although Grocholski is concerned about the welfare of the store because of the harsh economic times, she said for now, Brooklynski is doing well, and she is staying positive.
“I want to show people beautiful, thoughtful, well-made things,” said Grocholski. “If this [the store] doesn’t work, it’s beyond me.”