December 9, 2011

A Conversation with Marimekko

The new Marimekko flagship store, located just outside of Madison Square Park on Fifth Avenue, has been catching eyes with bright colors and bold patterns. Lynn Shanahan, President of Marimekko North America, joins us to talk about the Flatiron flagship store, their fantastic merchandise and their partnership with Mad. Sq. Park.

How many stores do you have in the US?

We currently have 3 stores in the US: our first, official – and newly opened – flagship in the Flatiron district, a shop on Third Avenue and 73rd in NYC and another one in Cambridge, MA. We also have a concept store in Vancouver and launched our first US ecommerce site,, in July. Lastly, we have in-store shops at 7 Crate & Barrel locations and a webstore on Crate&

What drew you to open your flagship store in this neighborhood?

We were absolutely drawn to the people who make up a very special community within the city. The park was a significant part of the decision as it creates a sense of togetherness. It joins those who live and work in the area as well as visitors from all parts of the city and beyond.

Your storefront is so bright and vibrant. How have you utilized your space?

The storefront was created to serve as an invitation for passersby to come in and share in the creativity of Marimekko. Marimekko is about design, first and foremost. We enjoy the customer’s participation in the brand and encourage it in a space that allows them to “wander”.

What message are you trying to send with the design of your space?

The design is a mixture of cool and warmth. We provide the space to move so that the customer can experience the design of Marimekko’s print and pattern across all of its wonderful products.

How has the experience been opening your store just outside of Madison Square Park?

The MSP Conservancy has so warmly welcomed us to the neighborhood. We have been given the opportunity to share in the amazing events that the people of the community and surrounding areas have come to know and enjoy. The Park has truly been an integral part of the flagship opening and success.

How would you describe Marimekko to someone who hasn’t been in your store?

Marimekko is an experience in inspired textile design from Finland. Each print is designed by an artist who has a story of inspiration to tell.   All of the products are designed with the inspiration of these prints and patterns in mind. Marimekko reaches out and asks you to participate in life.

What would you say are your best selling items?

Fabrics, kitchen and tabletop, and apparel.

How did you get involved with Madison Square Park Conservancy?

We loved the sense of community that the park provided the minute we stood in the middle of the fountain plaza. The Park offers a cultural experience with its art exhibits and myriad of interesting events — and we wanted to be a part of it. Debbie and her staff were the “Welcome Wagon” for Marimekko and we felt immediately at home.

What type of events have you participated in?

Mad. Sq. Eats, Mad. Sq. Music: The Studio Series, Fall Kids Fest and   Mad. Sq. Holiday

What has been your favorite event?

Mad. Sq. Eats. The name of our ceramics collection is “In Good Company” and Mad. Sq. Eats represented that to us in spirit. We loved having our umbrellas and tablecloths enrich the setting of great food, conversation and outdoor enjoyment.

Tell us about the event you hosted for Mad. Sq. Holiday.

We are thrilled to bring the art of Gingerbread decorating to the youth – both in body and in spirit – in the Park. We had all the makings needed to create your own special gingerbread doll. Guests were encouraged to bring their decorated gingerbread into the store for some admiration…and a special surprise..

Any last things you believe the Mad. Sq. Park community should know about Marimekko?

Marimekko encourages people from every walk of life to participate fully in life. We love to bring great design in color to help inspire people to be creative…