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Top of the Shop: Refinery in Carroll Gardens

April 27, 2010

Refinery's storefront at 248 Smith StreetThis is the third installment of our new feature called “Top of the Shop”. It’s a weekly look at a shop in Brooklyn and its 2 top selling items and then my favorite 2 top items. I hope that you see some new shops to visit or old shops that you might have forgotten about. Let me know what you think.

Our third featured “Top of the Shop” is “Refinery”, a 13 year old woman’s boutique that sells handmade and vintage items in Carroll Gardens. And, surprisingly, they sell shoes too.  There’s a good chance that if you stop a woman wearing Svens clogs in Brooklyn, that she will say that they bought them at Refinery.  This petite shop does a blockbuster business in selling the customized clogs and sandals. You can buy the Svens in any number of ways: low heel, medium heel and high heel in slip-on, sandal or full-back. Do you want patent, antiqued or regular leather? Or how about slits, flower cut-outs, shoestrings, or maybe contrast colored stitching? The owner, Suzanne Bagdade,  gently guides you through the choices and hems and haws with you until you come to your final decision. And sometimes that can take an hour. You can also order customized clogs for your kids.

Sven clogs lined up at Refinery

Her second most popular item in the store are these handmade bags.  Suzanne makes these herself out of her studio in Red Hook.  The bags, although sweet in design, belie the fact they are virtually indestructible. They are made out of waterproof fabric and the straps are adjustable. That means these are the perfect bags for hanging over a stroller, getting dirty and wiping off, and then: adjusting the straps to wear as a nice purse. They range in price from $70-80.

Owner Suzanne's handmade customized bags

My favorite 2 items in her store.

These scarves from the Refinery are nicely priced

I love these brightly patterned scarves that are from India. The yellow and blue-striped crinkle scarves are my absolute favorite. They are $26 each and the other ones are $22.

Salt water sandals can go in the water

These salt water sandals are a great mix of retro, crunchy and “now.”  What makes these sandals so great is that they are comfortable (though you definitely can’t walk all day in them) and that you can get them wet without damaging the leather or sole.  As you can imagine, they are great for children.  Though the childrens’ sandals are sold in tons of shops in Brooklyn, it isn’t as easy to find the adult version. Refinery sells them in all the colors and sizes. At $40 a pair, they’re a nice summer sandal that’s easy to wear from the playground to a night out.

Owner Suzanne Bagdade (how perfect is that name for someone who makes bags?!)