Located at 223 East 58th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, illumé is a boutique that specializes in high quality custom and ready-made lampshades. Illumé features chic lampshade designs hand-made here in NYC, Connecticut, and even imported from Paris and Montreal.
Illumé also offers specialty finials, antiques, candles, decorative light bulbs and a lamp repair shop. The gallery and repair shop are open from 10am to 6-ish Monday through Friday.
So many people ask us how we got into the business of lampshades. If you are interested in a true ‘lightbulb business idea’ read on…
Mark Candido and I opened our Antique and Artisan Center in Stamford CT in 1996. At the time we were the pioneers of redefining the concept of the multi-dealer antique center concept to what it is now defined today. We opened to rave reviews for creating a venue that offered antique dealers the ability to showcase their wares in a show-like setting with great lighting, music and great customer service.
Antique dealers are notorious for selling merchandise as found including lamps with or without lampshades. So many of our customers asked us where they can go to get their lamps rewired or to buy a lampshade for a lamp they purchased from us. I had heard from a decorator friend who used a lampshade store in Fairfield County to rewire their antique lamps, so with every customer who then asked, I referred them to this store. And we sold A LOT of “as is” lamps.
Now fast forward a year or so, I had purchased a pair of stunning Venetian Murano lamps for our new home. I was buying Jim Thompson silk drapes and Clarence House upholstery fabrics so I went in to this lamp store and introduced myself to the owner. I said “Hi I’m Ronnie Scinto and I own The Antique and Artisan Center in Stamford CT. I send you a lot of business!” Well he bit my head off, he said to me “Stop sending me all these woman with broken lamps. I am not a repair shop! I sell replacement lampshades!” I was taken back, literally I did not know what to say. After I gained my composure and because he was the only seller around I told him of my wish for shades for my Venetian ‘confections.’ He offered me one choice, a mushroom pleat ‘coolie’ in Hunter Green… I thought to myself “Ummm Howard Johnson Motor Lodge???”
I told him about the room I was creating and asked for other choices, he said “you can special order in these colours and showed me red, navy, black, white egg and hunter green” I said well what happens if I don’t like it, he said “All specials are final sale” and again I said, do you have other frames I can try in in some of the colours you offer so I can see what they look like (being a very visual person). He told me I “needed a decorator’s help.” I thought, I need to find a store that has selection, variety and of course good taste. We talked for a bit more and I threw out the idea of opening a location in Stamford so he can capitalize on the decorator traffic we had created. He told me, “nope, I’m happy here”. He didn’t know then that I now knew what had to be done. I had to create a lampshade and lamp repair gallery that had style, selection, variety and offers their customers service with a willing smile.
I went home that night and told Mark, “We need to open a lampshade store. The guy I’ve been referring our customers to told me to stop sending him our business….” So a few months later our landlord offered us 5,500 square feet right next door to our antique center and from that day forward we were in the lampshade business. It’s always been our belief that most people crave instant gratification and need to see a selection to make a decision. We took the concept again and took it to another level. We invested thousands of dollars in stock that is all custom for us in styles that reflect the current trends. When you’re in illume, you’ll see lampshades that are truly unique. I promise you won’t find the selection of ready made “special” shades elsewhere. Our stock not only reflects today’s trends but colours galore. Expect the unexpected.