There’s always something that’s bound to catch your eye while strolling through the crowded streets of New York’s Chinatown neighborhood, but it’s hard not to linger on Coming Soon when you spot the pink neon logo in the glass window.
Fabiana Faria and Helena Barquet met working at a gallery in Chelsea. They quickly bonded over their shared passion for art, furniture, and design, and before they knew it they had fallen in love with each other. Being immersed in such a high end environment invigorated them with a “need for a place where younger collectors can get inspired and interested” that would serve as a starting point in a neighborhood that felt familiar.
Faria proudly describes Coming Soon’s reach as aspirational, but attainable. “There’s something for everyone,” she says. “We’ve always tried to do that so that it doesn’t feel like you can’t walk out with something.”
Even though Barquet and Faria didn’t have any prior business experience, they were set on opening a store of their own that would be a gateway for contemporary design. It’s sort of evolved into an open market that is organically facilitating a creative community for established and emerging designers, stylists, interior decorators, photographers, and artists.
It’s difficult to picture now, but when Coming Soon opened its doors in 2013 the store layout was far more minimal. As Barquet reflects on their journey, she explains how the early stages were somewhat modest because of their range in inventory. Since then, stock has obviously expanded and they can barely keep certain items on the shelves for long enough before it’s already time to replenish.
A few blocks away is the official show room where all of the vintage furniture pieces are on display like a museum exhibit for home decor which Barquet and Faria opened about a year ago. Nearly three years ago, they relaunched the Coming Soon website with help from Human after taking the time to find their voice. They were also determined to figure out what would make for the most efficient experience in terms of navigation and put a lot of thought into everything from product lighting to simplifying size in photos.
“Truly, design is trying to solve problems in a beautiful way,” says Barquet. “But when you really get down to the grittiness and practicality of some of these things, how do they make lives better?”
Barquet and Faria are constantly collaborating with creatives across the board from food and fashion to art and design. They’re grateful for any type of opportunities to broaden perspectives by “bringing something different to the table.” They’re planning on continuing to do this in 2020 along with bringing back “the playroom” which has been invaded by “storage needs.”
“We want to take care of the people that are paying attention already,” says Faria. “So within that, I think that’s why we want to do more collaborations and bring in more fun content.”
In addition to featuring a roster of artists and designers, Coming Soon also makes a conscious effort to educate through events and exhibitions like offering a weaving class with Cold Picnic.
“I think the clients have become much more knowledgeable,” says Faria. “I saw that article in the New York Times that said, ‘Is Instagram ruining design,’ but at the same time, no, it’s letting it thrive because it’s educating people. I think their tastes are broadening so much more than being just like, ‘Well you have to be like a minimalist in order to have good taste… It has to be clean and simple.'”
When asked about setting boundaries between their personal and professional relationship, Faira explains how the line is often blurred within the field of design. In fact, many of the brands that they carry in the store are run by partners.
“Design definitely requires collaboration on so many levels,” she says. “I think that’s why you see a lot of interior design firms are couples… It’s just because it requires a lifestyle and something that everyone can have an opinion on. We all live in these spaces, so it’s kind of fun to get into it with your partner.”
In many ways, Faria and Barquet view Coming Soon as a lifestyle business so the idea of disconnecting is unrealistic because they’re so deeply ingrained in every aspect of it. But for Barquet, getting to experience that together is sort of like the yin and yang concept. She views it as giving your partner permission to “pull and stretch you in different ways.”
“There’s plenty of times when it’s overwhelming, but there’s more good than that feeling,” she adds. “We had a good summer filled with travels that are always inspiring, and it gives you perspective. I think that’s super important, to give yourself enough breaks, because when you’re working here, it’s a lot of work.”
They also maintain a small staff of five including themselves so the level of intimacy is real. At this point, Coming Soon’s customers and collaborators are more than clients to them, many feel like family.
“Before we lived together in her apartment, we used one wall in her bedroom as our vision board,” says Barquet. “And truthfully all of those young designers were on there that we still carry… To develop those relationships over this many years has been like a dream. They’re friends and they’re soulmates.”