A couple weeks before the holidays, something interesting happened to the old Out of the Blue Gallery space near Central Square. Windows were papered over, a crew of painters showed up, and in the evenings, light could be seen spilling out from under the front door.
“I deliberately did not put up any kind of ‘Coming Soon’ or ‘Watch this Space,’” says Emma King, the owner of the new “arty objects” shop SHINE. “I wanted there to be an element of surprise.” After moving into the space in November, she says she worked round the clock to open SHINE in time for Christmas.
King hoped to make her store “colorful and quirky and dynamic and poppy, and well-curated, hopefully.” And she’s succeeded. Gorgeous sugar skull pillows ($34-40) and candles made to look like Mexican pro wrestlers ($12) sit on the shelves next to robot salt and pepper shakers ($20) and copies of The Indie Rock Coloring Book ($9.95). It’s a whole bunch of stuff in a teeny tiny space, painstakingly arranged so nothing feels crowded.
In fact, King is grooming a special Valentine’s Day section throughout my visit, moving stuffed animals onto one shelf with all of her lovey-dovey cards and assorted romantic doodads. A former photographer and filmmaker, she says, “A lot of my skill in photography lies in editing well, as well as having a good eye. I’m selective … whilst being dynamic and colorful, also being a little bit minimalist.”
King’s bestselling items include her ties ($36), a USB-rechargeable bottle light shaped like a wine cork ($15), and a customizable cookie stamper ($15), which can be used to print any message on dough before baking.
So far, business is brisk, with satisfied customers sending their friends her way. “I’ve yet to do any advertising. I’m relying on word of mouth,” King says. “I’m incredibly grateful to my new community.”
SHINE. NOW OPEN. 106 PROSPECT ST., CAMBRIDGE. 617-661-5889.