Tania Willock and Temedra Willock Morch have known they wanted to run their own store together since kindergarten. As children they didn’t just run into lemonade stands; They ran an entire bakery on the sidewalk selling homemade cakes and biscuits. They began dyeing laces at the age of three, learned how to knit and weave from their grandmother as teenagers, and both went on to study art in college: Temedra with an emphasis in fashion and textiles and Tania in fine art and photography. “After graduating from college, we both went into our respective fields but had a hard time finding space to showcase our work,” says Temedra. “So we thought, why not open our own store?” And the hidden gem They were born, in their seaside hometown of Southampton, New York.
It was March of 2019, a year before it all started, but the sisters said running a home appliances business (especially a business that’s getting stronger) ecomm . market) proved to be resistant to epidemics. In fact, stay-at-home orders increased sales. “Having people in the house meant that they cared more about what was in their home, and who was making these things,” Temedra says. The bright colors and patterns you’ll find at Hidden Gem – many inspired by the heritage of the Antiguan sisters – seem like the perfect antidote to a long, bleak year-and-a-half quarantine. “The Hamptons has a very specific look but we wanted to break that mold and offer something new,” says Temedra. “The best compliment we get from people is, ‘Oh, I want to live here!'” “They’re stepping into our world, understanding it.”
Read on to find out some of the sisters’ favorite items in store.
Temedra uses her training in fashion and textiles to make these linen aprons, which are designed to flow like a dress. “My mother used to host monthly dinner parties in her backyard, but she was still cooking while guests were arriving and walking out of the house in a filthy yard,” she says. These aprons are for mom—and anyone who wants to look stylish in the kitchen, even with a spill or two.
Tania manually dips these paraffin candles into an array of bright colors, then bends them into different shapes, so no two are exactly alike. “If you’re hesitant to add colors and patterns to your space, this is a nice, subtle place to start,” she says.
“Growing up, we always had a few charms and bracelets with the symbol of the evil eye,” Temedra says. “It is to protect against evil spirits and bad energy.” Honeymooning in western Greece in 2017, she fell in love with the work of a local potter who incorporated the evil eye into his electric blue dishes. It took some convincing, but she eventually managed to create a direct pipeline to a hidden gem – the only place you’ll find these items in the US
The sisters derive many of their products from a small community of artisans in Nairobi, Kenya. “They somehow found us on Instagram and sent us messages during the pandemic,” says Temedra. “We use these little utensils to hold my dad’s special spice blends at family dinners.”
“Our mother weaves but she won’t weave the coasters for us. I have enough on my plate!” Instead, the store sourced these colorful coasters from the same community of Kenyan artisans who produce their wares and spice utensils.” We tried to introduce muted, neutral colors into the store but The products are there. When people come to Hidden Gem, they come specifically for colors and prints, which is great because that’s what we love and what we do best. ratification!”
Tania’s hand-dye technique goes back to Antigua, where people create brightly colored costumes for Carnival using a sophisticated free-form dyeing technique with powdered dyes over ice. They’re more messy than the American version of neckties, but Tanya says the unique patterns and colors are worth it. “We love using these tea towels for just about anything: oversized placemats, gift wrap, or wearing one as a shirt!”
The Sisters give the Kenya Craftsman Group a general color scheme to work with, but other than that complete creative freedom in the patterns and color combinations of our handwoven sisal bowls. “This is supposed to be a fruit bowl, but it looks like a woven figurine,” says Temedra. “We like to incorporate it as part of a gallery wall to add texture and dimension, especially for people who have kids or are renting their space, so you don’t have to worry about someone cutting a piece of glass off the wall and breaking it.”
Temidra makes these unique hand-woven hemp placemats by Hmong artisans in Thailand. “When I’m designing, I’m drawn to texture and color first—I’ll pick a great fabric and figure out what I’m going to do with it later,” she says. “What I love about this is the really cool folds.”
The sisters became known in the Hamptons for their wood-and-resin surfboards that they design and decorate as wall art. These Charcuterie boards are a functional tabletop version, made of cut and sanded mahogany by their brother, Jari Willock. Casting a resin and ink mixture is a complex chemical process that can be dangerous if not done properly. “Usually, we have minimal control over how the colors flow and blend, but sometimes Tanya uses a hair dryer to control the style and create a foam-like effect that looks like a bird’s eye view of the ocean.” Sailboat cleats are affixed as handles to build on the nautical theme.
These twisted wine corks are made from olive wood in Tunisia. “What drew us to it was that it looked like a fruit,” says Temedra. “I like items that have some illusion to them, that it takes people a minute to understand what it is. Like, wait, that’s a pear!”