Dune Road Life

HIDDEN GEM

We may earn commission from brands / retailers when you click on our links. Questions? Check out our Marketing Disclosures.

Introduce yourselves with your name, title, and where you’re from.

Temidra: I am Temidra Willock.

Tanya: And I am Tanya Willock.

Temidra: We are sisters from East Hampton even though the shop is in Southampton. We are everything for the store, owners, designers, packagers, everything! 

How would you explain Hidden Gem to someone who has never heard of the brand?

Temidra: Hidden Gem is a hidden gem. We really sort out to find up-and-coming artists and work with local artisans to create unique products that you normally wouldn’t find in a regular shop. The whole idea behind it is that we wanted to showcase artists since Tanya and I are artists and had kind of a hard time coming out of college and finding a platform to showcase our work. We talked to our classmates and saw that they were having the same issue. That is when we decided that we may need to start something of our own. 

Tanya: It felt like there was a lack of space for us. There are tons of galleries here, but they’re super hard to get into especially for younger artists. It felt like there wasn’t room to get my foot in the door unless it was a small unknown shop in the corner of town. I actually ended up as a manager for one of those galleries and they were really sweet but the shop didn’t last very long.

Hidden Gem
Credit: Hidden Gem
Hidden Gem
Credit: Hidden Gem

What inspired you to create Hidden Gem?

Temidra: Our family is from Antigua, and we grew up going back and forth between there and the US. Our grandma was a seamstress, a weaver, a knitter, she crocheted. She did all the crafts under the sun. We grew up with her teaching us and when we were younger, she would have us help her knit and crochet so we could sell them outside. Instead of a lemonade stand, we were selling doilies and crocheted goods! We didn’t really realize it until now, but that definitely inspired us to be entrepreneurs. Plus, being surrounded by the crafts and the colors was definitely a big part of the idea behind the shop. We really just wanted to bring what we loved about Antigua back to the Hamptons.         

What makes your brand stand out against other home decor brands? 

Temidra: The way we design our store isn’t just a product here, a product here, a product here. It’s the vibe, and you can’t design a vibe; you have to create a vibe. That in itself, I think, is what makes us different. It’s authentic. It’s not forced. It’s truly just our love for the products that we sell and that we make ourselves. 

Tanya: Last year, we had a pop-up a few towns over from our regular space in Southampton, and one thing I noticed that reaffirmed this belief was that people who went to the pop-up later came across the regular store like “I’ve seen this! I remember this!” They didn’t necessarily remember the name, but they remembered the aesthetic, and it was able to carry over between the two spaces.        

How do you incorporate your Antiguan culture into your designs?

Temidra: It’s a mixture of a lot of things. For me, when I’m designing, I like to pull from my history and life experiences. For example, I have this design that has translated into different products. It originally started as a rug, and it shows sailboats inspired by Antigua’s sailing week.

Tanya: I think one of the strongest correlations is really in the colors. Antigua is a place where it seems like the color of everything is so saturated. The trees seem greener, the fruits seem brighter, the ocean is bluer. I think that has played a huge part in us making sure that everything we carry has that saturation. Also, for my personal work as a photographer, I just like to take tons of pictures whenever we go to Antigua and use them as references for color, saturation, and the layering of patterns and textures as you look at the island.       

What is the process for designing a custom piece for someone, whether it’s a rug, flower pressing, surfboard, etc.?

Temidra: For each item, the process is different, but I’ll use rugs for an example. Usually, customers will come to the store and choose designs they like, but we like to actually go to their homes to see what kind of art they already have or what colors they use. When we design the rug, we really try to incorporate their style and history. The process can take months. We work with the customer to choose the materials, the fabric, the colors, and we work on a design together whether they want something completely new or they want us to work with something that already exists in the shop.

Tanya: We also try to give them at least 2 options, so we can say this is everything that we have talked about with them and show them essentially what they asked for. Then, we’ll give them what we want and what we feel is best for their space. We’re creative, and we like to have fun so we always try to give them options to keep it fun and interesting for us.    

Hidden Gem
Credit: Hidden Gem
Hidden Gem
Credit: Hidden Gem

You’re working with our friends at Hello Coco on their Curated Beach Dinners project! Could you tell us more about how you became involved with that project and what’s in the works for that? 

Temidra: I feel like us both, meaning us and the Hello Coco team, kind of started at the same time, so we were the new people in town. We were following each other on Instagram for the last 2 years and just supporting each other. We saw that they were doing the Curated Beach Dinners and it was like an instant thought to collaborate. We’re so excited about that project.

Tanya: They basically came to us and said “we want our food to be a vibe,” and we do vibes! We also both love food and it’s something you can easily take inspiration from when it comes to home decor. It’s the perfect match-up. 

Can you walk us through how you would curate a space to fit someone’s vibe? What can you tell us about your creative process?

Temidra: With Hello Coco, for example, it’s almost like you have to get the food and basically use all of your senses beyond just seeing it. Then we think about what we would hear or see while eating it.   

Tanya: I’ll use a basic s’more as an example. When you eat a s’more, you automatically think about eating it in front of a fire pit. Then you think about burning wood and how smokey it gets, then you hear the crackling of the fire. With that, I take all of that experience and think about what items I’d put next to the fire pit. 

Temidra: The challenge with Hello Coco was that with a physical space, we can go in and already have a baseline by looking at furniture and other art. We’re able to pull things and see the vision right away. With this, we’re bringing it to the beach which is essentially a blank space. We’re bringing in all of these different elements to transport customers to a different place and a different experience. We’re really gonna shake it up this summer!  

You recently took over Martha Stewart’s Instagram! How does it feel to be recognized by someone as renowned as Martha Stewart? What was it like working with her? Did you guys get to collaborate closely / directly with Martha herself?

Temidra: Martha’s team reached out to us. We’ve been working with them since last June. They were really wanting to showcase Black artists and designers. They made a post about us then and reached out to us to work on some articles primarily about table settings and things like that. Then, they asked us to do an Instagram takeover, which is pretty huge that they would trust us to do something like that. 

Tanya: Especially because that was something we’d never done before. It’s been really cool getting to work with them. We haven’t spoken to Martha herself, but that would be awesome.  

Temidra: I’m just happy that her team has been so accommodating and they’ve welcomed us to the Martha Stewart family. They come to us regularly for articles, and it’s definitely been the highlight of our career.  

Why is it important to you both that you share/showcase the work of others through the Hidden Gem brand?

Temidra: I think because when we first came out of college, it was so hard for us to figure out where we would start our careers and where we would showcase our art. Tanya and I have tons of friends and classmates who design things for the store like ceramics and jewelry. It’s just important that we keep that door open for others.  

Tanya: It’s important for us because thinking back on my experience, I really wanted to stay local. I loved where I grew up and felt like there should be space for me here. I think having the opportunity to have our own store is to allow the same opportunity to others who are just coming out and wanting to showcase their work just like we wanted to.

Temidra: We really just try to collaborate with local artists to still keep our vibe and aesthetic while also staying true to their styles.

Hidden Gem
Credit: Hidden Gem
Hidden Gem
Credit: Hidden Gem

What are your favorite pieces to design/projects to work on?

Temidra: My favorite would probably be rugs, or….just rugs. 

Tanya: It’s hard because it’s not a specific product, but anything where I have to come up with a color scheme, I love that.  

Temidra: That’s so true! I call her a “colorologist” because she will literally have a full spreadsheet of color schemes. For our surfboards, our brother will cut them and sand them for us to paint and she will have thousands of colors and patterns for us to use.

What is the best way to get in touch with you for questions or design requests?

Tanya: Instagram! We’re on it all the time answering questions or just scrolling. We’re always happy to answer questions.

Temidra: Email works too but a DM or comment on Instagram is the fastest way to get in touch with us.

Follow Tanya + Temidra on Instagram at @hiddengemny or email Hidden Gem at hello@hiddengemny.com.

Share This
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Search
The Latest In Life

Must Reads

Montaukila

MONTAUKILA

Summer 2021 = the end of quarantimes? If so, definitely the start of drinking times. And we can’t think of a better local brand to support than Montaukila.

READ MORE
Natures Shapes

NATURES SHAPES

Whether you’re an experienced east end shredder, or someone looking to get into surfing in 2021, Natures Shapes has what you need in the most eye-catchingly gorgeous way.

READ MORE
Baume Ocean

BAUME OCEAN

Sustainability meets haute horology in the Baume Ocean from Baume Et Mercier. See what’s truly ecologically friendly about this magnificent new timepiece, where to get it, and more.

READ MORE
Loro Piana Summer Walk

LORO PIANA SUMMER WALK

With the sleek look of a dress shoe and the durability of a boat shoe, Loro Piana Summer Walk moccasins are a great way to step out on style.

READ MORE
Fendi Dior Runway

FENDI AND DIOR REINTERPRET THE RUNWAY

The recent presentations by Fendi and Dior were, frankly, genius. The collections were astounding, but it’s the way in which the houses innovated in presentation that made them truly, truly noteworthy for it.

READ MORE