It’s always been true—the best ideas tend to bubble up when we least expect them.
Jade Lustig’s latest great idea entered her consciousness when she was lying idly by a pool in Florida in December 2020, visiting with her mother. Lustig, the founder and designer of fine jewelry brand Jade Trau, recalled that she’d been mulling over the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and had been specifically thinking, “How am I going to reinvent and keep the momentum of my brand?” when the idea hit her: “Maybe I should open a store.”
Half a year later, the designer is opening the doors of her first-ever branded store, in tony Southampton, N.Y., on May 28.
The shop, situated at 46 Jobs Lane, is a study in low-key, beachfront chic. All gray-taupe with accents of wood and natural fibers, it’s comfortable and airy, but also visually arresting.
Jewelry borders the walls in glass cases, and stools abound, inviting you to “perch, not sit,” explains Lustig, who notes that she’s always disliked the store setup where there’s a single chair (or two) in front of a counter. “I always walk in and think, ‘Well, who gets to sit in the special chair?’ ”
Conversely, she loved the idea of her first shop co-opting the vibe of “sitting at your kitchen counter and trying on jewelry and your kids are sitting nearby doing something.”
Hence, there’s a seating area for kids in the front stocked with coloring supplies. And Lustig and her staff have filled woven baskets with bags of popcorn and a fridge behind the point-of-sale system with drinks.
The designer initially considered doing a pop-up in the Hamptons, but “there’s something energetically about a pop-up that’s a little like ‘make every last buck,’ ” she asserts. “And that’s the opposite of what I wanted. I want to be here. This is my way of saying that I’m establishing myself in what is basically the summer town of New York City. I’m a city girl and New York City is my home. Hopefully New York will pick up again and feel more alive again—then I’ll create a New York City salon down the road. This will be the beginning of a retail model.”
The opportunity for her to expand in the city is rich: Jade Trau isn’t carried by any independent retailers in the city or its immediate surrounding areas. And Lustig isn’t just a born and bred New Yorker—diamonds are in her DNA. She comes from a long line of Diamond District professionals, and was a dealer in the district herself before launching her own brand.
“I made a decision early on to not do department stores,” she says. “Then it just kind of turned out that I was in the more traditional brick-and-mortar stores out in New Jersey and [other nearby states].”
The store opens this Friday, and will host a number of events throughout the summer, including piercing and engraving parties.
Lustig found the space in Southhampton by driving around the area. “I took a drive around and I was like, ‘There is no reason why I should not make this happen,’ ” she remembers. “I thought, ‘This is my turn to create my own little nucleus.’ ”
Top: The new Jade Trau store in Southampton, N.Y. (all photos courtesy of Jade Trau)
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