Zach Kay, owner of Found Objects in Birmingham, tells SEEN why he started the clothing and home décor boutique, his favorite items in the shop and a few objects he can’t live without. Check out the shop on the SEEN Marketplace.
By Rachel Schostak
Photography by Emilia Booth
1. When and what inspired you to get into this business? While I was living in New York everyone I knew at home was flying to New York or Miami or LA to shop because they didn’t like the options here. Clearly there was a demand that was being ignored. I was already working in fashion, but I knew my passion was in buying for a store more so than what I was doing at the time.
2. What does a typical day look like for you? Everyday before I walk in the door there’s a stop for coffee because we never know what the day might bring or if there will be a chance to run out. First thing I do is tackle all the emails. Working with designers all over the world means working in different times zones, so you never know what might happen overnight. Deliveries start arriving by 11 a.m., and there are boxes to unpack and merchandise to put on display. Meanwhile customers are coming in, gifts need wrapping and the phone is ringing all day.
3. Who inspires you in the fashion or design world? Like everyone, I discover a lot through Instagram; it’s one of the best places to identify new trends and find new products. I’m really into the artist Donald Robertson right now as well as Ashley Longshore.
4. What do you love most about your role managing the store? I love getting to pick out everything that’s in the store. It’s like having shopping as your job.
5. What is the mission of your store, and how do you want customers to feel when they enter your space? We try and make a point of saying “hello” to everyone as they walk in and asking if we can help them with anything. I want it to always feel welcoming and casual. Over the last almost six years we have met so many great people and love when they stop in just to say hello and bring their out-of-town friends and family. You know you’re doing something right when you become a must-see destination for out-of-town company.
6. What are your current favorite items in the store? I’m over black coats — we all have so many that it’s time for color. SAM has some great options like this rose gold bomber or parka with pink fur trim.
Lafco makes some of my favorite candles, and I’m super into the new vetiver sage scent. Rosemary eucalyptus is also a favorite.
Never underestimate the importance of a handwritten note. The gold foil initial pads from Black Ink have become a new favorite item. The paper stock is nice and heavy, and they fold in half to fit in any standard size envelope. Not an initial person? They make other really great designs as well.
7. Tell us what makes the in-store experience special? You can never under estimate the value of seeing something in person, touching, feeling and trying on. Anyone can make a picture look good online, but not everything looks good in person. Plus you get our firsthand knowledge — we can tell you if something fits small or large and suggest things you might not have considered before.
8. Are there any new products or lines you will soon carry that really excite you? We are bringing in two new collections that we will have exclusively for Metro Detroit but can’t say which two yet. I think people will be really excited to have access to them locally in store.
9. In regard to your personal style, do you have a signature look or accessory? I live in jeans — you can never have too many! My standby denim style jacket, but made in black leather, is something you’ll see me in all year.
10. A few items in your closet you can’t live without? Jeans of course! White shirts, black tees, crewneck sweatshirts and cashmere sweaters. Slip-on shoes because I hate laces. Chances are if you see me in shoes with laces, there’s a zipper hidden somewhere. Big tote bags to carry things back and forth from home to work and for travel.
11. What are your favorite 2018-2019 style trends?I am so excited for a return of what I call real clothes! No more sweatshirts, sweatpants, joggers or athleisure. For spring it’s tons of dresses, jackets are back and for those that prefer a sleeve, it’s your season.
12. When not working, where are few local places you like to hang? I’m at the Birmingham Farmers Market almost every Sunday. Luxe for lunch or casual dinners, Tallulah because they always hit the nail on the head with wine I love and the staff at Hyde Park takes the best care of us.
Stop by Found Objects at the location listed below. Follow @foundobjectsmi on Instagram and other social media accounts for in-store events and new products!
168 S. Old Woodward Ave, Birmingham
Shop our favorite Found Objects items on the SEEN Marketplace: