The first few steps past the candle-filled windows, invitation-covered walls and centerpiece-covered tables of Bespoke Designs brings you into a world of your own creation, whether that is to customize a small family celebration or a big mitzvah or wedding. Customers drop in regularly and ask Shari Lebowitz, the owner, for guidance on their developing designs rooted in their own ideas. She has a way of instantly making everyone feel like a friend—and that’s the fun part of her new space.
Lebowitz launched the original Bespoke following her engagement after graduating design school at Parson’s of The New School in New York. She had a vision for the business she most wanted for her own wedding, and made it happen. It is sophisticated, personal and creative. Bespoke works directly with clients, using their inspiration—whether that is pins on Pinterest, posts on Instagram or screenshots from a range of websites—and makes it all personal. Describing herself as a “bubbler,” Lebowitz explains her imagination. “People always ask me, ‘How did you think of that?’ It’s the middle of the night and my brain is just bubbling.”
The shop recently moved locations, settling into 8 Sconset Square, a cozy space steps away from its former second-story studio. Formerly, and for more than four years, the small business worked with customers online, including wedding couples internationally. “I can’t even begin to express how deep some of the relationships are with our clients and how special that is,” she says, adding that they are doing holiday cards this year for couples who she met before they got married. “And now the holiday card has a baby on it.” Now, Bespoke’s space is bigger, more open, and welcoming to old friends and passersby who drop in. Its retail section, for example, has expanded into a gallery of table layouts for entertaining, including a fall collection of autumn-scented candles and pumpkin-themed napkin wrappers.
In the midst of the pandemic, Lebowiz was alerted of the opportunity to move Bespoke from above Bungalow to a street-level space in Sconset Square. She realized that it made the design studio more accessible to customers. This accessibility is what drove her to continue with her shop’s original paper designs while providing beautiful accessories for events and registries. The business has steadily grown. Bespoke’s success with customers during the first wave of the pandemic is true to its overall perseverance. Lebowitz had about forty clients to reassure following the lockdown—which meant canceled events and how to handle “uninviting”—Bespoke had to, and did, adapt rapidly. “I feel like at this point, we have the kind of inner fortitude to work with couples who have that uncertainty,” she says. “We can guide them.”
Going forward, customers can order invitations online and fresh flower arrangements on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and gifts anytime they want to stop by. “We try to spread love through design,” she says. Asked about pursuing her dream, she responds: “I’m living it.”