Studio Manhattan Chat: Tender Land Home

Jackie from Studio Manhattan asked Dave, the owner of Tender Land Home, to tell us more about his Catskill Mountain store.


1. Tender Land Home is located right in the midst of the beautiful Catskill Mountains.  How does being in that environment effect the style of your store and the products that you have?

Being in the Catskills definitely affects the style of my store and the products I feature.  Many of the homes here require country, rustic furnishings, but I also have many customers from the NYC metro area shopping for their apartments.  A blend of softer, contemporary (no harsh chrome etc) items and rustic items is the best fit for my store.

2. I love the name Tender Land Home.  How did you come up with it?

The name of the store is from the Aaron Copland opera “The Tender Land.”

3. I looked at your facebook page–it looks like you have quite a dedicated fan base!  What sets Tender Land Home apart when it comes to creating a strong connection with customers?

I work hard at developing personal relationships with my customers.  I welcome everyone with a wide variety of price points (what’s worse than going in a store and feeling like you can’t afford anything there?) and a relaxed atmosphere.  There’s no hard sell.  Just the offer of help if it’s needed.  And small stores such as mine have to (I can’t say it emphatically enough) stress customer service.  Something can always be knocked off and sold more cheaply at a big box store.  But a big box store doesn’t offer caring service and free gift wrapping as I do!!

4. Tell me about your favorite Studio Manhattan product or design?

My favorite Studio Manhattan products are the wallets.  It’s wild — people just gravitate to them!!

5. What appeals to you about Studio Manhattan’s concept and why do you think your customers continue to purchase our merchandise?

Studio Manhattan’s appeal to me as a retailer and to my customers are one in the same  — the product is hip, edgy, and practical.  Every time you put on a belt, or pull out your wallet or use your iphone it’s FUN!!!

6. What are your hopes and plans for the future of your company?

I hope with my store to remain a  part of a small Main Street American town.  Stores in small towns are institutions in that they provide continuity, vitality, identity and a social outlet for a community.

7. I live in New York City.  When is the most beautiful time to visit your store in Phoenicia, NY so I can have a break from the crowds and concrete??

I think the best time to visit here is in June while everything is very lush or in early October to see the leaves.


Studio Manhattan Chat: Leighelena

We chatted with Leighelena, another leather loving boutique that carries our line, to find out more about them and what their plans are for the future.  Here’s what they said:


1.     How did Leighelena come into this world? How did you take your love of accessories and turn it into a business?

At a young age I was intrigued and inspired by my mother’s enamel pieces.  After attending college for business and working in retail, I wanted to pursue jewelry making as my artistic outlet and business.


2.     Talk to us a little bit about Leighelena’s mission and identity. What sets your brand apart?

 We are a handmade Austin based jewelry line that offers one of a kind pieces!


3.     Describe your signature style and how it translates into the pieces you create.

Growing up in El Paso and residing in Austin, Leigh has a lot of traditional Texas style with an artistic flair.  Her creations have a similar clean classic style with fun pops of color and texture.


4.     You have been a longstanding supporter of our products. What appeals to you about Studio Manhattan’s concept, and why do you think your customers continue to purchase our merchandise?

 It is well made and extremely eye-catching!!


5.     What is your favorite Studio Manhattan product or design? Why.

The beautiful leather wallets with Texas, Austin and American graphics.


6.     What are your hopes and plans for the future of your brand/company?

That more people have the opportunity to see and own our products and experience our welcoming and fun stores and the products I love to carry.


Studio Manhattan Chat: Landshark’s

At Studio Manhattan, we know there’s more to retail than just business. There are innovative ideas and individuals. There’s also a sense of community. As a company that values the above, we make it our business to do business with other companies who do the same. Among those is Landshark’s – the Michigan-based activewear outfitter by Sally Troutman and David Lokker. We sat down with David to discuss the life of Landshark’s, its original name, and why the company won’t be leaving Michigan any time soon.

1.     How did Landshark’s come into this world? What was the inspiration and idea behind the store?

Sally Troutman was the mastermind behind Landshark’s. In 1995, she merged a traditional outdoor store (On Track) with the original Landshark’s, which sold mostly souvenir t-shirts and sweatshirts in the thriving resort town of Saugatuck, Michigan. Through the years, we’ve stayed true to our tagline, “outfitters for active people”, by offering the best outdoor brands like Patagonia, Oakley, Ugg, Keen, Merrell, and Smartwool. The past ten years, however, we’ve focused on bringing in fashion brands and unique items made in Michigan.

2.     How did you come up with the name, “Landshark’s”?

Landshark’s is symbolic of our mission and location. While there aren’t any sharks in Lake Michigan, sharks are associated with a coastal lifestyle. People visit our town for its natural beauty and world-renowned beaches. Sharks are aggressive, so they speak to our passion for promoting an active outdoor lifestyle.

The original Landshark’s logo was drawn by Sally Troutman. We still use the old graphic on retro-inspired tees and hats. In 2009, Rick Vanderleek, an internationally famous art director and graphic designer (and friend), designed our current logo.

3.     As a store, what sets Landshark’s apart from the rest?

Our store mixes fashion with core outdoor clothing brands….Most outdoor shops stick to traditional brands like The North Face, Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, etc., while most [fashion] boutiques represent only fashion-oriented brands. We are the perfect mix of both [worlds].

Every single item in our store is something we personally love and use. We will never represent an item solely because it will retail well – we must be passionate about the brand to place it in our tiny store. We [also make it our mission to] introduce at least twelve new companies each year. This requires attending a ton of tradeshows and [engaging in] conversations with emerging brands….We were the first retailer in Michigan to carry Jeremiah clothing, Cushe footwear, Zenfari, and many other footwear, accessory, and clothing brands. Our customer has a unique experience every time they walk through our door. There is always something new to admire.


4.     How do you decide which brands/products to feature in your store?

We ask the following questions:

– Does another store in our town represent the brand?

If they do, we will not bring it in. We want to protect the uniqueness of our retail community.


– Is the company socially/environmentally responsible?

We are proud of our relationships with companies like TOMS and Patagonia.


– Is this item made in the U.S.?

Unfortunately, almost all of our footwear is made in China…[but we try to] stock several brands on the clothing and accessory side that are made in the U.S., such as American Apparel and Ibex. If the product is made of sustainable, recycled, or organic materials, it has a better chance of making it into our shop. If it is made locally, it gets serious bonus points!


– Would we use/wear this product?

We absolutely will not purchase anything we would not use or wear.


– Who will purchase this item?

If we can look at a product and name five customers who would purchase it, you can bet it will be at Landshark’s.


– Is it quality?

Landshark’s is focused on well-made items. We want our customers to return and to be happy. I still have a jacket from 1993 that I wear daily. There is no substitute for quality.


5.     You have been a longstanding supporter of our products. What appeals to you about Studio Manhattan’s concept, and why do you think your customers continue to purchase our merchandise?

Saugatuck is an art community. Our staff and customers appreciate design, and Studio Manhattan’s products are beautiful. Our customers come from all over the world, so the flags, landscapes, and city scenes appeal to a broad demographic. We appreciate that Studio Manhattan has worked with independent artists and photographers throughout the world. It brings uniqueness to our shop.

6.    Of all the items Landshark’s has sold throughout its existence, were there any in particular that you recall as your favorites?

I love my Studio Manhattan Cuba credit card holder. Every time I pull it out, I think about the slightly less-than-legal trip my buddies and I took to Cuba. I think about the buildings, people, and [the] food.

We sell the Patagonia Retro X Jacket – the one I am wearing today is from 1993. I have had a ton of experiences in that jacket and will probably be buried in it.

Sally is obsessed with her titanium Maui Jim sunglasses. It is the one item she cannot survive without.

7.     What are your plans for the future, from a business perspective? You’ve conquered Michigan – what’s next?

For the time being, we’d like to grow our web presence ( We are putting effort into our social media campaign; you can find us on instagram @shoptheshark, twitter @shoptheshark, and we have a splendid blog:

We have been bombarded by requests from customers and sales reps to open other locations in Chicago, the Detroit area, or in other lakeshore communities, but we are happy being a single-location, family-owned, independent shop. My mother (Sally) and I can always be found in the store and we love the Saugatuck community. Landshark’s has become our identity and we do not want to threaten our reputation by opening other locations. We love what we do, and we’re happy with one little 1600 square foot shop.


Survey Says?

To all our fashion-forward fans:

We need your help. As you know, we recently debuted a lively new line for the spring/summer season. As proponents of positive thinking, our designs tapped into spring’s untethered optimism – in a big way. This season, more than ever before, our creative process took us down a road of roaring colors. Flamingo pinks, lime greens and canary yellows suddenly soared through our minds and onto our leathers. (Perhaps we were so scarred from the horror of Hurricane Sandy that all we could dream of was Miami Beach in the ’80s?) Now we want to know what you think. Do our new designs make the cut, or would you rather we cut them out? Can our new colors compete with our regular muted motifs? Tell us what you think and we’ll send one reflective reader a product of his/her choice.

Ready, set, critique!

Happy Holidays!!

Now that it’s officially Friday and the world has not come to an end, all of us at Studio Manhattan are ready to welcome les vacances! No matter where you are in the world, we wish you a holiday season filled with all the magic of Manhattan. And if you’re nesting in New York for the next week, throw your ice-skates in a bag and head over to Bryant Park. If we’re not at our booth, you’ll find us on our bums in the middle of the rink.

Bryant Park Bonanza

Happy Friday, Friends!

The weekend is just about here, but we’re not planning on wrapping up any time soon. We might take a small break this evening to down a bathtub of wine, but then it’s back to Bryant! Since we basically live at Bryant Park these days, we thought we’d share a few snapshots of our home away from home with you. Although the holiday season has been hectic so far, we kind of dig it. When else do we get to meet and greet our products’ new parents? So stop by and say hi! We’re always here. (Seriously.)

Manhattan Memos – The Creative Process

In the spring of 2009, I took my scooter on one of its usual trips to Brooklyn. It was a cloudy day – one that was perfect for my new HDR portfolio. As I rode around Dumbo, I suddenly noticed the rocks on the East River, which had emerged as a result of the low tide. I realized I had just stumbled upon one of those postcard-perfect scenes of the Brooklyn Bridge and downtown Manhattan.

This photo made my portfolio, and at Studio Manhattan we decided to create our first five-piece canvas set around it. It was an instant hit and I was really proud of the result – partially because I think of my work as my children. I create them. They even have birthdays – as well as ISO values and shutter speeds.

This is what I thought when I saw my newborn son’s identification tag for the first time this past weekend.

Name: Ali Emre, Weight: 3246 gr., Length: 48 cm, Born: 5:54AM, 12/03/12.

This time, however, I wasn’t the real artist. I was, like the camera, merely an instrument in the creative process. My immense gratitude goes to the true artist who brought me this perfect little masterpiece.


Manhattan Memos – Giving Thanks

I was born on November 24th in Vienna, Austria. I was in such a hurry to join the world that I opened my eyes in the ambulance en route to the hospital. At the time I was born, my parents were factory workers who had migrated to Austria from Istanbul, Turkey. When I was six years old, we moved back to Istanbul. There, I spent my childhood playing amid Byzantine walls, ancient Roman churches and Ottoman mosques. In this historic city, I grew up to become a photojournalist. Eight years later, in 2002, I decided it was time to leave the old empire behind and set foot in a brave new world. That world was New York City.

 New York gave me the chance to create my life through art. I wanted to create moments, ideas, and ways to change the world. So I set out to do just that. Getting access to galleries and stores where I could display my photography proved difficult, if not impossible. So I found another – and arguably better – way to reach the eyes and ears of New Yorkers: I hit the streets. I showcased my work in front of museums, at art fairs, on the streets of Soho, and anywhere else where I could prop up a stand and chat up a crowd. Four years later, Studio Manhattan was born.

 My goal is, and has always been, to create art and designs that enhance people’s lives. Making art out of everyday products is my way of creating, communicating, and bringing the world a little bit closer together.

 As we approach the season of giving, I would like to give thanks to those who brought me – and Studio Manhattan – to this point.

 I wish everybody a prosperous and peaceful holiday season.