Industry / Retail

Broken English Expands Its Modern-Meets-Vintage Mix in New York Store


Laura Freedman says she works on instinct, using her innate sense of style and what her customers want to build her company Broken English, and she did so in creating her first freestanding New York store.

To showcase the jewelry, home, and gift brands Broken English sells, Freedman curated antique and vintage furnishings for the new retail space at 42 Crosby St., which opened in April. The Manhattan boutique’s signature piece is a vintage pink Murano palmette chandelier that Freedman says originally came from a European ballroom.

Broken English
A vintage pink Murano palmette chandelier is a main element in the new Broken English store’s unique interior that blends old and new, brand founder Laura Freedman says.

“I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it,” Freedman says. “I love lighting. When designing spaces, I always want lighting to be a focal point. It makes a space. I wanted the feeling of the store to evoke something grand, feminine, and give a nod to old New York.”

Freedman says she moved from a store-within-a-store at another downtown location to her own space because she needed more room and she wanted to be a part of the local community, as brick-and-mortar retail is key to developing a client base who enjoy trying on and experimenting with jewelry.

“It’s important to be able to go into a physical space to touch, get a feel, and experience the essence of a brand. Seeing the curation in person is very impactful,” Freedman says. “Wanting to have that experience will never go away—just watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It’s important today to be able to service your clients wherever works best for them and we love having an inviting space to do that. In that face-to-face experience, all of the elements of commerce really come together.”

Broken English interior
Freedman says she wants to offer Broken English clients a curated mix of contemporary and vintage jewelry in a chic, intimate retail store.

New York–based architect Armand Legardeur designed the 900-square-foot Broken English store as a modern take on old-school elegance, Freedman says. Her furniture finds include matching Negro Marquina custom credenzas and a Fontana Arte umbrella holder.

“I love antique and vintage pieces because they are so unique and can’t be found everywhere. The craftsmanship is hard to re-create today,” Freedman says. “The patina and the way they can make the space look lived-in is important to me when designing for Broken English. I want the pieces to feel timeless and classic, not on-trend.”

The shop’s modern styling comes in with its built-in shelving and mirrors, which also create sparkle and make the space feel airy, Freedman says. The pièce de résistance
is the VIP room, which piles on the luxury with Carlo Nason sconces and pendant light, a Soriana couch and chair by Tobia Scarpa, an antique Persian rug, a MasterCraft coffee table, and a Paul Evans credenza.

Broken English room
The VIP room provides a quieter setting where clients can browse and make special purchases.

“I wanted clients to have a place to go off of the showroom floor where they could have one-on-one time with our team,” Freedman says. “I wanted to create a special area for them to relax and feel at home.”

Broken English sells jewelry by a wide range of designers, from David Webb to Munnu Gem Palace to Silvia Furmanovich to emerging brands like Marie Lichtenberg, DARKAI, Foundrae, and Jenna Blake. The store also features a selection of antique and vintage jewelry, home items, and hair accessories.

“I feel so blessed. I love what I do. The jewelry industry is so special. All of the designers that we work with are incredible at what they do, and I am so grateful that they have the faith in me to represent them,” Freedman says.

Top: Laura Freedman founded Broken English in 2006 and also has a Los Angeles boutique. (Photos courtesy of Broken English)

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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