This Is How You Open Your Own Store At 24

Photographed by Erica Gannett.
Every now and then, a new store opens in New York City that gets us really excited. While we normally like to keep these discoveries to ourselves — because nobody likes shopping in a crowded store — this time, well, we just can't contain our excitement.
Enter: Object_ify 139, a store that sells the coolest, quirkiest books, prints, and accessories in the city — affordably. It's everything we could ever want to decorate our apartment (and more).
Object_ify 139 is just two months old, and it's run by one of the city's rising art stars, School of Visual Arts graduate Maria Candanoza. But, get this: She's only 24-years-old!
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We are seriously impressed — and seriously obsessed — with Maria's curated selection of coffee table tomes, waxed doll candles, and scarves so pretty you'll want to hang them on your wall. Ahead, get a look inside the boutique and the young talent who runs the show.
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
Where did the name of your store come from?
"Oh god, it took a while. So many lists were made and over-discussed with friends. When it came down to it, I wanted to emphasize the fact that we are selling art objects — with objects being the crucial word. People are intimidated by art, but an art object in this setting is an affordable, approachable, and sometimes even practical thing that I think people are more receptive to.

"I was also inspired by Collab, which was a similar store in New York in the '70s. I wanted a name that, like theirs, tells people what we do. More than anything, 'objectify' literally means to express something abstract in a concrete form, which is, in my opinion, what we do with art."
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
When did you decide to open your own store?
"It was an idea I had since I started art school, but it became more solidified once I moved to New York and got to know other artists."
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
What is the philosophy behind Object_ify 139?
"Object_ify 139 serves as a meeting point for artists, giving them the opportunity to showcase and sell their work while also offering the community unique and affordable art, books, and accessories. Overall, the objective is to be a space that inspires and excites not just the art community, but the general public as well. It is meant to expose the world to a new generation of young, talented artists."
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
Did we mention that Object_ify 139 has the coolest packaging?
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
Tell us about your art background.
"I started school at the Savannah College of Art and Design and later transferred to the School of Visual Arts. While I was there, I interned at a few galleries and quickly realized it wasn't for me. There are a lot of things that bother me about how galleries work, particularly how unapproachable they are for the general public and for artists wanting to show their work. That was a major influence for the concept of the store."
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
What influenced the design of the store?
"I wanted to be able to change the display around for whatever we wanted to show. That's how the magnetic wall happened. I change the print section every other day. I like to keep things moving and do different pairings of the posters."
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
"The same goes for the wall of objects; it's kind of modular. The grid on the wall came about because I've always been kind of bad with a level, and I wanted an easy way to know that things were hung straight. Basically, I let my aesthetic show while keeping things functional."
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
Why did you decide to locate the store in the Lower East Side?
"I wanted the space to be in a location where the work would make sense. I met most of the artists in the store in this neighborhood, and it's where we hang out. I even discussed the name, the idea, everything at a bar on Rivington. It just made sense.

"This neighborhood is interesting because it is, like everything in New York, always changing. But, it has a rich history and a good mix of things: coffee shops, stores, bars, and music venues."
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
The wall of books includes tomes selected by a rotating list of curators and artists. Sara Grace Powell designed the first collection; the next will feature Maia Ruth Lee.
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
How would you describe the creative scene in New York right now?
"A lot of the young creatives living in New York right now have an idealized version of the city that's stuck in their heads from the '70s and '80s. A lot of these people like to get down on New York, but I think it has the ability to be whatever you want it to be. It is obviously not the same as it was 30 years ago, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. You just need to find your place, have friends who inspire you, and not let things fly by."
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
Who are some of the artists you currently feature in the store?
"Priscilla Jeong, Aria McManus, SparkleDiva69, Marcel Castenmiller, Dave Geeting, Jack Ridley — it's hard to pick just a few!"
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
How do you select the artists?
"With this first run of artists, I went to my friends and people I went to school with. I emailed them my business plan and store philosophy and started from there. Some made things with the store and setting in mind, so it was more of a commissioned project. For others, I selected the objects from their studios. I also got to know more people by having studio visits. For example, my friend Frankie Carino introduced me to Chris Hanke, who makes wax rocks. The idea is to keep working with the same group of artists while finding new ones through submissions."
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
Drop a beat!
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
What are some of your favorite pieces?
"I love the simchained necklace Priscilla did, the silk scarf by Delilah Jesinkey, Chad Moore's new book, Anyone in Love With You Already Knows, Chris' wax rocks, and Frankie's prints.
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
What influences your aesthetic and creative decisions?
"In a way, the artists in the store are a collective; knowing and talking to them influences both my aesthetic and creative decisions. Also, going to shows, going out, eating out — aesthetics are everywhere, good and bad, what you want, and what you want to avoid."
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
What makes Object_ify 139 different from other stores?
"Everything, hopefully!"
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