Quarantine and WFH (working from home) have put a much greater emphasis on comfort and the domestic environment overall. Nesting is the new normal, and it’s nicer when the nest is at its best.Lisa Zampardi, Retail Czar’s VP of Home and Gifts, built her career sourcing unique resources from exotic locations all over the world to merchandise these truly personal categories for some of New York’s top luxury stores including Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. We caught up with Lisa WFH to find out more about her journey through the wonderful worlds of Home and Gifts:
RC: What attracted you to a career in buying for the home?
LZ: Home is such a profoundly important place in all our lives, particularly now that we’re spending so much time there. It should be very personal, beautiful, and comfortable. There are so many amazing vendors and products that can help customers do just that. I have a passion for discovering unique vendors and items that make life better. I want to be able to share them with our customers so that they can love and enjoy them as much as I do.
RC: Tell us a little about how lockdown has affected life chez Zampardi?
LZ: Although it’s been challenging, it has also had some unintended benefits for my husband, our two children and for me. We have been able to spend more time together as a family, which is really important. And growing up I spent a lot of time helping my grandmother in the kitchen. She was an excellent cook and loved to bake. I learned so much from her. During quarantine I have had more time to cook and bake from scratch, including some of her delicious recipes. For my younger son’s birthday, I baked a “Bald Eagle” cake in the likeness of his favorite stuffed animal (see above photo).
RC: What are some of the exciting brands and products we should look out for on Retail Czar?
LZ: I’m currently working with many incredible brands and looking to add some that will include Daum, Haviland, and Richard Brendon to name a few. I am also looking to bring in luxury down, and bedding resources.
RC: You must have some fascinating stories about client projects, or unusual vendors. Can you share any?
LZ: Absolutely, but with one caveat - I won’t name names! One client asked me to custom furnish her gorgeous yacht. It took about 6 months working with some of the best resources in the business both here and overseas. Once completed, she invited me, together with my husband, to an amazing cocktail party she was hosting for friends onboard so that I could see the finished project in action, so to speak. It was so cool - an evening I will never forget.
For another project, I visited makers and facilities off the beaten path in Eastern Europe, The Middle East, Asia, and finally Western Europe - all in one trip. I still remember sitting in the rafters of a barn in rural Lithuania until late at night selecting beautiful hand-pulled, crown hemstitched, hand embroidered linens. I was completely in my element.
RC: What are some hot trends in Gifts this holiday season?
LZ: There are so many great options. For instance, coffee culture has become huge recently. I think it’s because people are looking for convenient ways to make and enjoy great coffee at home. We have worked with Italy’s iconic illy caffe to offer an assortment of the brand’s premium coffee makers and coffee pods. This will make brewing that perfect cup of coffee at home a breeze. (Their red X1 Anniversary Espresso machine is a personal favorite.) On the theme of Italy and fabulous coffee, we also offer delicious biscotti and other treats from Di Camillo Bakery, who are celebrating their 100th anniversary. Another trend that’s growing is candles. We have a beautiful variety of premium candles that will bring sophistication, warmth, and an enchanting scent to any room. Our Addison Ross picture frames are another ideal gift for all occasions. They also coordinate nicely with our selection of clocks giving a room a subtle, sophisticated ambience.
RC: Final thoughts?
LZ: Shopping at Retail Czar, whether as a merchant buying for the site, or as a consumer, is all about adventure and discovery. We’ll be adding more great brands in Home and Gifts, and across all categories as we move forward, so I recommend coming back regularly to browse and continue on this journey of discovery.