Shannon Maldonado has been supporting small businesses through her retail space, YOWIE, since 2016. As a connoisseur of unique brands and small-batch creators, Shannon’s talent for finding bright and beautiful products has built a tightly-knit community of makers and hunters of undiscovered retail treasures. 

Philadelphia Wishes and South Street Dreams
We sat down with Shannon to get the 4-1-1 on YOWIE's hospitality project that encompasses a hotel, studio space, and a larger retail shop (15 minute read)

In partnership with Deacon Hospitality, Shannon reopened YOWIE’s flagship store this summer on South Street in Philadelphia as part of a multi-use project. Shopping for the latest YOWIE finds will now be partnered with a boutique hotel and coffee shop, all styled with Shannon’s bold palette, bringing a breath of fresh air to one of Philly’s favorite social street spaces. 

We sat down with Shannon to get the 4-1-1 on the project’s origins and a sneak peek behind the curtain. 

Credit: YOWIE

“Since late 2019, I started to think about what expanding my brand would look like, and I started to ideate about a YOWIE hospitality project that would encompass a hotel, studio space for my brand, and a larger retail shop. Those conversations evolved over a year, and then we started to look for a building to house this new dream.

Credit: YOWIE

“Once we found the building, we knew we were looking at a full-gut renovation. The building has really beautiful characteristics—like bay windows on three of the four sides that we wanted to restore (they were covered in tan vinyl when we purchased the building). I wanted the hotel suites to feel more residential in nature versus the boxy hotels I had experienced. Where possible, we wanted to keep the tall ceilings and original details like archways.

Credit: YOWIE

“I founded YOWIE in part to find my own creative voice again and to amplify and support the work of artists and makers. This building felt very much like a part of that story, as I wanted to honor its original details and find additional ways to showcase its beauty through my curtain of furniture and objects. 

“At YOWIE, we offer a conversational approach when working with customers and see our shop as a friend to the neighborhood. Guests drop by for inspiration, gifts, and good conversation with me or my staff. 

Carefully selected products with bright pops of color rest against a neutral background to bring focus to their unique qualities.
Carefully selected products with bright pops of color rest against a neutral background to bring focus to their unique qualities.; Credit: YOWIE

“Every single part of this project got me excited. This was my first gut renovation, my largest project to date, and a dream realized. I was excited to have the opportunity to work with even more artists since we were able to expand our offering through the larger footprint of our new storefront. This is my third boutique hotel design project, but by far the most personal one that I have created.

“Inspiration for this project looked like the moodboards here: 

Moodboards and Pinterest provided bright inspiration.
Moodboards and Pinterest provided bright inspiration.; Credit: YOWIE

“We’re very excited to open our new space this summer! As someone who grew up coming to the block where our new space is opening, [I can say] it's always been an eclectic, cool block full of all kinds of people and creativity. Our new space will act as an anchor for a quiet block in this neighborhood and what we hope will become a neighborhood amenity.”  

Ambassador Advice: Using Metal Shelves in Retail and Hospitality Spaces

“For our updated store, I knew that I wanted to use a white metal shelving system throughout the space and then a pop-color shelving system in our bathrooms. Luckily, Shelfology offered perfect options for both. In our retail space, a lot of our artist-made objects are colorful and bright and we like to have the fixtures feel neutral and allow them to pop. In the bathrooms, we used a colored 1” tile throughout and paired them with a complimentary color shelf for our guests to use during their stay. I love the versatility of these fixtures.”

Thanks, Shannon! As South Street aficionados, we look forward to having one more reason to visit the coolest neighborhood in Philly. 

Follow along with Shannon’s build on @shelfology and @helloyowie

Retail Recommendations:

Shannon Maldonado of YOWIE and YOWIE Hotel

Shannon Maldonado of YOWIE and The YOWIE Hotel

Opened in 2016, YOWIE is a curated lifestyle shop and design studio, with a focus on work by independent labels, artists, and designers. After working in Fashion Design for over twelve years (Ralph Lauren, American Eagle Outfitters, and Urban Outfitters), its founder Shannon launched her inspiring storefront via a series of experimental pop-ups and a small but charming web shop of just twelve objects. She constantly looks to create an intersection between design and community in her work and to create spaces that invite discovery and have unexpected references and details. Named “The Coolest Shop in Philadelphia” by Bon Appétit in 2019, the YOWIE brand has extended its outreach to include interactive design workshops, creative/art direction, interior design consulting for hospitality clients, and most recently, a thirteen-room boutique hotel and cafe.

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