Family Work, Family Play. Dinner & Merchandising in Boston

So we’ve been playing around with different merchandising strategies of late. As we’re all still kinda new to this retail thing, everybody involved with Maison Decor (Me, my mom, my brother Colin) is learning a lot as we go. With holiday season firmly upon us, we’ve made a concerted effort to carry lots of $20-$30 items that make great gifts. While furniture and paint is our hallmark, we like to give people lots of buying options at different price points so everyone can leave Maison Decor happy with or without emptying their wallet.

In the first days of the Boston store, we had mostly big things, furniture specifically, so setting it up was easy. We opted for small vignettes throughout the store that created a homey vibe. As time went on, we couldn’t ignore the popularity of the little things and in turn have continued to stock more. Because we’re such a small company, it can often be limiting in terms of getting stuff done. With Colin home from school for winter break, Amy decided that the two of them would head into Boston yesterday after she closed up shop in Malden.

As we locked the door to the store, we were ready to give the Boston shop an overhaul. We moved some furniture, set up a brand new window display, and consolidated our small pieces to make them more accessible for our shoppers. It sounds simple but it’s not. Every little detail matters, and we all needed to agree on what worked best and made the most sense. What may seem like simple changes to the casual observer actually took quite a bit of time and effort especially considering we had been running both shops all day. It’s safe to say we were happy with the results. Here’s a look at some of what we did:

Streamlined merchandise


Hung this illuminated peace sign and surrounded it with vintage crates above my cabinets


Amy brought these wreaths to hang on our front doors. She also made the bows you see below


This dining set now sits on our platform in the window. (I will be painting and reupholstering it)




Became this


After that, Amy had offered to spring for dinner so we walked over to Coppa, one of my favorite restaurants in Boston. I used to live on the same street as Coppa and I know Chef Jamie Bissonnette from my years of working in restaurants in the same neighborhood. It’s a small community that I was proud to be a part of, and restaurant people are some of the very best people on earth–generous, jovial, and hard-working. I don’t think any other industry takes care of its own the way the restaurant industry does.

So anyway, Coppa is a tiny Italian enoteca that is known for its amazingly delicious small plates. I’ve taken my mom there once before (she paid that time, too, so I guess she actually took me) so she entrusted me with ordering for our group. We had two orders of their meatballs, a cauliflower special, an order of arancini, and their margherita pizza, possibly the best and most underrated pizza in the city. In addition to that, Jamie sent out an amazing pork pâté with house made mustard and pickles and a lardo crostini with black truffles. It was so generous and so delicious and it really made my family feel welcome. All the while we were discussing our future plans and hopes for Maison Decor in the coming year. It was a lot of fun. After we finished, I went back to the kitchen to thank Jamie for taking such good care of us. Known for his nose-to-tail approach to cooking, it’s not uncommon to see things like veal brain ravioli or fried pigs tails on the menu. Sounds gross to some, but I can assure you that it’s all wonderfully tasty. When Jamie and I were chatting, he said he looked out to the dining room and didn’t recognize who I was with, so he didn’t want to send out anything too crazy, figuring the pâté would be just daring enough for everyone to try.

Being the blogger-by-nature that she is, mom made sure that we snapped a few pictures. (I was embarrassed) Here they are:

Dark iPhone pic taken by Colin :/


Another poor-quality iPhone pic (Buy me a camera for Christmas!)


The amazing dessert you can read about below


Just as I thought we were about to wrap it up, our server Caroline mentioned that there were two dessert specials–tiramisu and hazelnut gelato. Though not a huge fan of dessert, I know their hazelnut gelato is off the hook and expressed as much to our group. Amy quickly overruled that plan and went for the tiramisu. I’m glad she did. The tiramisu was “the best she’s ever had,” and they sent out the gelato anyway! It was really sweet (pun intended). The dessert was so good that Amy even ordered a tiramisu to go for her lovely husband, our awesome step-father.

I should mention that while we were waiting for dessert, Jamie came out to see how our meal was and to introduce himself to my mom and Colin. It was a super nice gesture and it meant a lot to me. It was a really nice ending to a hardworking day

Later guys…

Here’s a couple of non-iPhone pictures of the restaurant to do it justice




4 thoughts on “Family Work, Family Play. Dinner & Merchandising in Boston

    • The shop looks great! I understand how much time it takes to change even one vignette around. Our stories are very similar, I have a store “Vintage Begonia” with my 25 year old daughter Alina. Happy New Year!

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