Owner Suzi West talks about finding unique treasures for the home.
Suzi West, 40
Owner, Collier West
787 N. High St., Short North
How would you describe your shop?
Eclectic, one-of-a-kind, unique treasures for the home. We really fill the shop with curiosities, surprises, never-been-seen-befores.... I buy what blows my hair back. And because I'm a frequent traveler and frequent shopper, I have to be surprised.
You opened three years ago. What were you doing before that?
I was the visual director for Express.
What prompted the switch from fashion to home?
I loved fashion. I went to school for fashion. I did that 15 years.... It was owning not only a home but a second home that I refurbed that inspired (my interest in) home dcor.
You talk a lot about how people put more thought into buying for their homes than buying for their bodies. Why?
It's a direct reflection of who they are. You can wear a lot of different fashion faces. You might be a suit at work and doll up to go out with your girlfriends. At home... it's really close to the heart. It's really reflective. When people come to your house, you fuss 10 times more (than when you dress). It's kind of taking a look into your soul. It's very personal.
Your home is 500 square feet. Any advice on living in small spaces?
When you're in a small space, own beautiful things. I have two sets of sheets-high-thread count, beautiful sheets.... You can do that with a lot of things. You don't need a lot of things.
If it caught fire and you could only grab one item, what would it be?
Assuming my dog is safe That's unfair. And they're all heavy! (Laughing.) I have this gorgeous, ornate mirror that is almost as narrow as I am. It's only about two feet wide, but it's eight feet tall. It has a little demi-circle, marble-topped, gilded base that this mirror leans on. Just glamorous. It was my present to myself for my 40th birthday.
What have you learned about Columbus since opening your store?
When I told people my concept, they really questioned my desire to open something high-end with very sophisticated product imports. I felt like I worked with 10 people at The Limited who would shop here.... Once I opened, I feel like sophisticated people came out of the woodwork.
And you stress that you're not intimidating.
I'm just a snot-nosed kid who grew up in Pittsburgh. I didn't fly in from some sophisticated place. I, like everyone else, grew into this taste level.
Kristy Eckert is the editor of Capital Style.