Walking into Butterfly7, a children’s Consignment Boutique at 336 Malcolm X Blvd near Bainbridge Street , just two short blocks from the A train at Utica, one cannot help but be taken by the light and airy design of space as well as the uncluttered feel among the neatly-folded and hung second-hand designer clothes, posters, books, small toys and home decor.
But the shop seems almost a tasty appetizer before the main course when merchant Rick Shorter opens the back door to the garden. Here is like a world unto itself, adorned with rows of small green pine trees, flower pots and intricate brickwork laid down as flooring.
“I call this the Serenity Garden because when I come back here I honestly feel transported into another world amongst the chirping of birds and the greenery and flowers,” he says.
After a stellar 22-year career in the fashion industry working with such brands as Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, Shorter settled into Bed-Study and opened the store, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. “I worked my entire life in fashion and bringing things to people, and I saw the need to have this store,” he says. “I actually transitioned from one way of fashion in corporate America to another as an entrepreneur to build something in the community and that the community needs.”
Shorter also likes the idea of selling clothes on consignment as part of the new “shared economy” where both merchant and buyer have a stake in the business. Almost all the merchandise is name brand second hand and comes from the community, Shorter says, and the store also carries new items such as the books and children’s home decor.
And among Shorter’s top supporters is Fiona Bloom, who has her own full-service music/entertainment world with a reputation for developing and breaking acts. Originally from London and a classically trained concert pianist, Bloom also has a passion for reading to kids.
And thus the two entrepreneurs put their collective heads together, and came up with StoryTime, a growing Tuesdays and Saturday story book reading by Bloom to neighborhood toddlers.
“I did StoryTime for about a year at Greenlight Book Store in Fort Greene when they first opened,” said Bloom. “It’s very interactive where the kids sometimes pick the books and includes a musical component with tambourines and morroccos.”
Bloom says the StoryTime series also conjures up a bit of magic such as when she was reading Olivia and the Butterfly Adventurer recently and a large pretty butterfly flew into the garden and actually hovered and floated among both reader and the listener.
The StoryTime series has become a big hit in this section of Bed-Stuy, which is part hard scrabble streets and part gentrification. And with people like Shorter and Bloom living and working in the neighborhood, they offer a bridge between the two worlds.
The readings start at 11 am every Tuesday and Saturday. For more information log onto Butterfly7.com