How many of the items we purchase and use on a daily basis can be considered art? Many of the objects in our lives are purely functional, with artistic flair being saved mostly for clothing, accessories, and actual art on our walls. Diana Ho, founder of one of Shea Brand’s local retailers From Here to Sunday, is seeking to change that norm.
“From Here to Sunday began in a fake bodega within a real museum...”
This sentence perfectly captures the expression of Diana’s ironic-yet-happy aesthetic. Her first foray into selling goods at a pop-up shop was equal parts performance - she sold baked goods thematically paired with zines - and commercial. Diana is a unique person with a unique point of view, one that expertly “straddles retail and art” in order to bring a sense of empathy and joy to its customer.
This “nomadic gift shop” began as a pop-up but now calls Gowanus home. From Here to Sunday’s semi-permanent location is situated on a bright street with smiling families (there’s an Ample Hills ice cream shop on the corner) and a colorful umbrella cooly inviting customers into the storefront that they share with Gowanus Souvenir Shop. Entering the space is like entering a calm, miniature menagerie lined with stationary & stickers. There are all kinds of curious shapes, colors, and textures tastefully begging for attention along the walls and laid on furniture. Everything is quirky and nothing is in poor taste. Diana prides herself on sourcing items that fit perfectly into her world which “blurs the lines between fine art and retail.”
“I do want everything here to be very special and unique. We have so many mass produced things in our lives, I want to represent artists instead of things.”
Diana prefers to work with local artists, representing mostly Brooklyn-based makers with a few choice pieces from LA or Chicago artists sprinkled in. The shop reflects Diana’s own aesthetic of “leaning towards funny things, sassy things” that catch your eye and make you think twice - like this awesome postcard by Lazy Mom depicting a naked foot sandwiched between two pieces of bread. Don’t be fooled by the cool and quirky vibes, though, because Diana also has high standards when it comes to quality and aesthetics. She only brings pieces into the shop that are “very meticulously made but that don’t look like they’ve been over thought.”
In addition to Shea Brand’s shea butters, CBD blend, and lip balms, From Here to Sunday carries a variety of jewelry and accessories, printed tees, adorable home goods (we’re obsessed with these cat planters and this lounging girls blanket!), and plenty of decorative art. Diana maintains a highly ironic element by combining happy colors and cutesy objects with miniature horror stories, dark humor, and some serious feminist vibes. This mixture of cheer and seriousness speaks to Diana as “someone who approaches things with a sense of humor and tries to observe them from a different perspective.”
Amongst Diana’s best selling pieces are these “Fucks To Give” middle fingers that made us snicker and grin, these mini painted Prince prints by Jess Ruliffson and all of the tropical printed posters by Kim Sielbeck. “I do really think of myself as just one of the artists here at the shop,” says Diana, explaining how she thinks of From Here to Sunday as a “we” space that is about all of the artists whose works are featured there. “It’s literally everything from here to Sunday,” Diana says. It’s precisely the community of artists that work with Diana that allow her shop to offer such a unique and diverse range of gifts for her customers.
“The gifting aspect is really important to me. The idea is to foster empathy, which I think gifting is a really great way of doing that.”
Through her version of retail Diana hopes to make art more common and ultimately, more accessible. To accomplish this, opening a gift shop made more sense to her than opening an art gallery. Diana’s concept of “empathy through artful gift-giving” - utilizing art to deepen interpersonal connections - is her driving force. Giving gifts is something that pretty much everyone does at some point throughout the year, and that can be a tough process. But when done right, gifting speaks to the subtitles in our relationships to one another and can show the reasons why we care about and appreciate the people in our lives. Diana’s understanding of this process and her joy in watching it happen successfully at her shop is exactly what makes From Here to Sunday stand out in the crowd. The shop’s textural, thought-provoking offerings help her customers open themselves up to the possibilities of expression and connection through gifts.
As someone who has spent time in the art world, Diana understands that “art has elitist vibes attached to it and it’s hard for people to connect to.” Through the vehicle of gifting, however, Diana has found a reliable bridge that leverages the commonality of giving gifts to the experience of interacting with art in a way that is meaningful and unpretentious.
“So it’s not just a gift shop. Sometimes I think of it as more like an art installation, like a pop-up on different terms.”
Diana’s impeccable taste and unique point of view make From Here to Sunday much more than just a retail store. The items that she sells there are the type of objects that you just don’t find anywhere else. Checking out the meticulously made pieces of art at From Here to Sunday has us seeking out excitement and connection to our own not-so-everyday objects, inspiring us to explore a different - and possibly better - way of consuming things. Diana’s message is clear; these things are much more than just things, rather, they are special pieces that are meant to invoke a feeling in you.
*All words and images in this post are by Faye Lessler. Faye is a New York City based, California born advocate for sustainable living, a writer, and a community organizer. Through her blog, Sustaining Life, Faye seeks to inspire the eco-curious to keep treading down the path towards a sustainable and ethical lifestyle, while simultaneously supporting the entrepreneurs who inspire her. As an event coordinator and curator, Faye activates communities and brings people together over shared passions and thoughtful conversations.