A Unique Shop for the Armchair Tourist

Buy made-to-order goods from around the world without leaving your living room through A Curated World.

Kay McGowan, A Curated World

Love buying things that have a great back-story? Don’t have time to constantly travel the globe? Former Mohr & McPherson general manager Kay McGowan does it all for you. After 14 years with the high-end global importer, she wanted to bring more of the cultural experience to her clients. So she gave up her day job and now travels to exotic locales to shop—just for you. “I really love brick and mortar,” she tells me. “I love a store experience, but I saw a way to bring that experience — authentic, personal, and passionate — to a broader community.” On April 19, she launched her unique website, A Curated World, founded on her belief that we should be able to “shop locally anywhere.”

Leather Mosaic Candles ($38–$55), made by La Maison Fenyadi

What’s radical about her idea? Well, for one, she doesn’t carry an inventory. Instead, Kay travels to villages and towns around the world with a video crew to create exclusive short videos introducing you to the craftspeople she’s discovered. It’s as if you were traveling and buying with her. Everything on her site is then made to order, by the people you encounter along the way. “I meet designers and artisans, capture their story, then we share their stories and then sell their products online.”

Renaut Tunic ($398–$432), made by AYA

The shop currently has a beautiful selection of items from Marrakech, all of which is hand-made by the artisans and designers featured in site’s videos and articles. The tunic (shown above), for example, is made to order and takes one to two weeks to hand embroider.

Blue Fez Plates and Saucers ($22–$38), made by KIF KIF

“We’re not a disposable society anymore,” says McGowan. “People want to know how they’re investing their dollars. I think video has so much power and immediacy and a real intimacy to it that you really get that experience.”

Cotton Pompom Blanket ($375–$465), made by Chez les Freres Kassri

Follow Kay on Twitter and Pinterest as she and her crew travel to Colombia, India, and Istanbul later this year.

All images courtesy of A Curated World.