weekly feature | Dec 21, 2016 |
The Maryn: Michelle Adams turns her editorial eye toward e-commerce

By Katy B. Olson
Giacometti-style lamps, wingback beds, a decorative mobile manifested by The Jungalow, and a selection of goods from “companies with a conscience,” ranging from Ghanian-woven basinets to Brooklyn-made dog beds: E-shop The Maryn is a decorator’s haven, and also industry vet Michelle Adams’s most recent curatorial project.

Adams has both an entrepreneurial and editorial eye, honed by years of shaping both strategy and style. She worked as EIC at Domino, relaunching the brand’s online and e-commerce presence; debuted TRADhome magazine at Meredith Corporation; and co-founded Lonny magazine. These days, in addition to managing The Maryn, she also serves as founder of Rubie Green, an organic textiles company, and continues her role as marketing consultant and designer.

The site, which launched last month, had been a long time coming, according to Adams. “Opening a shop is something I’ve dreamed about since I was kid, so it’s been one of the most exciting projects of my career. The aesthetic is a nod to my own tastes, an eclectic mix of pieces sourced globally with the common thread of everyday luxury. I then styled the shop to reflect the laid-back seaside lifestyle that appeals so much to me. I dream of owning a beach house one day, but until then, I’d like my home to feel like I’m on holiday every day.”

The categories are diverse: furniture, kitchen and tabletop, bed and bath, decor, art, lifestyle, kids and baby, pet, holiday, and “Shop With a Purpose,” featuring do-good decor.

To hear Adams tell it, her history in magazines rendered her the ideal curator. “As an editor for the past decade, I’ve had the opportunity to see trends come and go and develop a sense for what’s here to stay,” she told EAL. “My editorial background exposed me to homes all over the world, so I was able to see firsthand how great designers layer pieces to create an eclectic look, which has definitely influenced my buying for the shop. I’ve also gained an appreciation for the artists and designers who have inspired many of the pieces we sell.”

Reader inquiries over the years also honed her taste. “I’m very familiar with the questions readers have asked magazine editors for years regarding decorating: What are good investments? How do I select art? What items are staples in every home? And so on. So I worked to address these needs in the product assortment that we offer on The Maryn.”

Aside from readers, The Maryn was designed with interior designers in mind. What went into the designer-geared shop? “A heck of a lot of curation and editing!” says Adams. “I worked hard to curate a great assortment of affordable art options, as I know designers are often hunting for special pieces that won’t break the bank. I also worked with design teams such as R.T. Facts and Comometalworks to produce inventory that we stock for The Maryn customers, so that they can avoid the lead times normally required to purchase these pieces.”

Her own global sourcing is another benefit to designers. “One of my greatest joys as an editor and now as a buyer is sourcing cool products from makers all over the world. So now rather than spending hours hunting for a unique piece and then handling the burden of importing it, designers can simply stop by my shop, as I’ve already done this work for them. We carry pieces from Africa, Israel, Guatemala, Spain, Canada, Japan, France and so on. I’m super excited about a new collection we have coming in from Mexico this spring. Additionally, we carry plenty of unique pieces from U.S.-based makers that we’re very proud to support.”

Adams says she spent the majority of this past season building the site, while putting other projects on the backburner—but only temporarily. “I’m excited to pick them back up in the New Year!” she says. “I’m working on a couple advertising and marketing shoots for NDI and Fabricut, as well as business development and content for Artfully Walls. In addition to my consulting projects, I’m also working on the design and renovation of a lake house.”

As for 2017, there’s a lot on the docket. “So many things!” Adams shares. Among them: expanding editorial content and more product. “I plan on adding more editorialized features to the site so that my customers can view our products in the context of a home and have a better understanding of how to use them. We’ll also be expanding our product offering to include more furniture, ceramics, candles and luxury items. I’d love to create a catalog online and eventually in print, and ramp up our partnerships with designers we admire.”

Also new for next year are continued collaborations with nonprofit partners, including organizations like Tensira, whose 40-plus employees in the Republic of Guinea produce cotton throws, and Far + Wide Collective and the Kasigau Weavers, a group of female basket weavers in Kenya. “I’m excited to continue purchasing from organizations that give back in significant ways. I’m really proud of the ‘Shop With a Purpose’ section that we’ve created on The Maryn, and am excited to expand it to include even more products in 2017.”

Want to stay informed? Sign up for our newsletter, which recaps the week’s stories, and get in-depth industry news and analysis each quarter by subscribing to our print magazine. Join BOH Insider for discounts, workshops and access to special events such as the Future of Home conference.