Fairfield retailer Jackie Fucigna has an impeccable eye for style–that’s how she’s grown her home decor and furnishings business, No. 299, from her garage to a successful brick-and-mortar store in just six years. Now she’s trained that eye on Wilton as a possible spot for expanding her stylish footprint, opening a pop-up shop in the Wilton River Park shopping center on River Rd.. Opening day is today, Tuesday, May 1.
Fucigna’s college roommate is Wilton resident Joanne Gulbin, who heard about the pop-up shop idea being offered by the shopping center’s owner, Kimco, to encourage local mom-and-pop retailers.
“I’ve been wanting to test the concept and looked last year in New Canaan, but the space wasn’t right. So, I put it on the back-burner, until Joanne said, “Jackie, they’re doing pop-ups, and they’re offering short-term leasing.” So, we quick ran over and looked at the space, and it just seemed to work.”
She’s opening the Wilton location of No. 299 in the light-filled space that was once occupied by Nail Expressions, across from Starbuck’s. It’s a perfect showcase for the farmhouse and vintage-inspired vibe evident in the collection of one-of-a-kind items and home decor she’s collected at both flea markets and gift shows. “I love the mix of old and new,” she says.
The store has everything from mirrors and art, to large sisal woven stools, to willow lanterns, candles, and decorative glassware. There are trays made from reclaimed wood, yummy-smelling candles and diffusers that are carried at Westport’s Terrain, and even jewelry. Plus pillows handmade from colorful patterned Turkish mud-cloth Fucigna found on her shopping excursions and had backed with Belgian linen or silk velvet. And just about everything is high-end shabby-chic style at a not-too-high price point.
Shoppers can come in for a something as simple as a scented candle or hostess gift and walk out with it wrapped and ready to gift or talk “shop” with the owner about their powder room that needs a new mirror and leave with one to borrow for 24-hours. Some customers hone in on the vintage silver or decorative pieces that tell a story and others bee-line for the jewelry at a very reasonable price.
Seasonal goods and gifts are also a large part of the offerings and new spring items include coir mats, straw beach bags, beach cover ups, The Two Oh Three product line, and teacher gifts. There’s going to be a variety of large and small items, including cocktail napkins, roadie cups and more. It’s the kind of place to check out for Mother’s Day and graduation gifts too.
The name, No. 299, comes from the store’s humble beginnings–Fucigna’s own address.
“I started it out of my garage. And for three years, I did pop-ups four times a year in my two-car garage. I would lay down a carpet and hang a chandelier and play music. Back then, I was doing a lot more refurbishing. So I’d find old furniture, paint it, distress it, shabby chic it and then sell it. Then, I just slowly started diffusing little bits and bobs, because not everyone wanted to come and buy a $500 dresser but everyone wants to come and buy and be a part of it. So it just started morphing more into like a gift concept.”
After three years in the garage, she took some space at a small retail location in Fairfield before quickly realizing that in order to grow she needed her own space in the heart of downtown. She made that move two years ago and has been growing steadily ever since.
Even though her early career was in PR, she’s always wanted to own something in retail. The fact that she can meld it with her love of going to flea markets and her own esthetic is a plus. She’s happy to share her distinctive style with people who want some design help, too.
“I keep a book at both stores, and if someone says, ‘I’m looking for a table that looks like this,’ I write it all down. And then when I’m on my travels, I will look around,” Fucigna adds.
With today’s opening, Fucigna is excited to welcome Wilton shoppers. Right now the plan is for No. 299 to be open in Wilton through June, with an option to extend the lease through July if things go well and the response is good. Might she be here longer?
“Yes, potentially. I would love it if everything went really well, and maybe I shut down for August and then gear back up for the holiday. That would be ideal.”