Welcome to today’s installment of Survivor Stories, a feel-good, shop-smart series spotlighting retailers who thrive on making lemonade outta lemons.
Today’s Survivor: Far 4 on First Avenue.
Minding the shop these days is Jenny Klimenkoff, the daughter of Igor Klimenkoff, whose wry, witty, narrative figurines, plates, and still-life objects, made and sold under the moniker Porcelain Studio Klimenkoff, give the shop its character.
Yes, there’s that thing about the bull in the china shop, and yes, my first two or three times inside Far 4 I practically tiptoed. But with Jenny and her brother Yuri bringing in a super hip collection of playful and fresh gift and decor items for under $50, there is an increasingly wonderful sense of porcelain-for-the-people. If you haven’t seen Far 4 lately, you haven’t seen it all.
Especially with Jenny’s new Name Your Price table (pictured above). You don’t expect to barter or get a giant bargain where such meticulous and well-crafted design is concerned, but these times are all about surprises—pleasant ones and, well, otherwise.
Right now on the Name Your Price table are thoughtful, perfect-for-gifts candles that normally go for between $12 and $20. If you offered Jenny eight bucks for one that would look great in your mom’s bathroom, she’d smile brightly and carefully wrap it up in a regal purple Far 4 bag. Trust me. There are also some slightly imperfect, simple yet evocative fruits and vegetables from Igor’s studio. These things are quickly becoming among the most collectible and gift-able items in town. They normally go for $35 to $60, but I’m confident that if you handed Jenny a twenty, she’d be happy to have you pick out your favorite without another word.
There are bigger ticket items—an elephant whose left tusk has gone missing, for example—that might present a bigger challenge to those of us who have never bartered for textiles in an Indian bazaar, and certainly, these new world, new economy games of huge, near-constant sales are something of a mind-muddling consumer puzzle, but listen: Retailers like the Klimenkoffs would not be thinking outside the full-price box if they weren’t intent on, as I said, making lemonade outta lemons.
Jenny says their clients are having a great, gleeful time offering their own prices, and she reports that she and her family are having a gas watching it all unfold.
Go. Have fun with it. And leave with something really great.
[The image of the German-made ceramic playing card—I love these things—and the Klimenkoff strawberry were taken from the Far 4 site.]