WHAT WE LOVE: A colorful country store in New York City. The Six Bells weaves a charming tale about the fictional English village, Barrow’s Green, that creatively connects handmade and unique home wares alongside antiques that together create a wonderful story. The enchanting fable and details are echoed in the shopfront, window, packaging and website.
WHO: Audrey Gelman, co-founder of the women’s club and co-working space, The Wing.
WHERE: In Brooklyn’s charming Cobble Hill at 221 Court Street.
“I grew up going to tag sales with my grandfather, so antiquing has always been special to me. I also have a love of British mysteries. I combined these two passions and created The Six Bells.”
When was The Six Bells established? The Six Bells opened its doors in April of 2022
What makes The Six Bells so unique? The Six Bells is a country store in the city. The concept was inspired by a blending of English country and Americana, and we sell dozens of small, independent brands and hand-sourced antiques.
Each of the brands has a story behind it. Straw London is a London-based homewares brand owned by a husband and wife who began with baskets. Gee’s Bend Quilts are made by a group of Black women who began a quilting collective during the Civil Rights era. Storytelling is something that isn’t explored enough in retail so I really wanted to make this a driving force when finding brands to work with.
Another unique part of The Six Bells is that it has a story of its own. The Six Bells is based off of a fictional village I created called Barrow’s Green that is filled with a cast of characters. The village is a composite based on my longtime obsession with British mysteries. In the town you can find a high street with shops (including The Six Bells), a meadow with grazing sheep, beehive cottages with thatched roofs, and a village green which hosts cricket games and yearly fetes.
There is an interactive map of Barrow’s Green available on The Six Bells’ website for customers to explore, as well as physical maps that are available in the Cobble Hill shop.
We want people to feel like they are escaping the speed and pressure of the world when they enter The Six Bells.
Is there a story behind the shop name, The Six Bells? Yes – The Six Bells is the name of a real pub in England where many episodes of my favorite British mystery show Midsomer Murders was filmed. I got the chance to visit the pub myself last year.
What are The Six Bells “must-have” products? Lately, our best selling products have been part of our summer collection, particularly The Alpine Collection of tableware from an Austrian brand called Gmunder Keramik that was founded in the 1400’s.
People cannot get enough of our olive oil grape soaps! They come in five different scents, jasmine, lavender, gardenia, cloves, and sampaguita. This artisan soap has been crafted by a family-run business founded by the AlSharkas in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli since 1803.
Customers have been passionate about the fact that we carry original Gee’s Bends Quilts, which are award-winning quilts made by a women’s collective in the small town of Gee’s Bend, Alabama.
The product that flies off the shelves are the Hemp soy candles made by Noemie Serieux, the founder of Cottagecore Black Folks. I am addicted to them and people can’t keep their hands off them.
What inspired you or why did you open The Six Bells? I grew up going to tag sales with my grandfather, so antiquing has always been special to me. I also have a love of British mysteries. I combined these two passions and created The Six Bells. When I first started to think of The Six Bells, I loved the idea of a British cozy mystery where you could actually buy all the things in the character’s homes.
What inspires you? I love creating environments that feel like a departure from the real world.
What did you do before having your own shop? I got my start originally working in politics, both in government and on political campaigns. Then I started my first business, The Wing, a network of work spaces for women with locations all around the country and in London.
ON THE FUTURE OF RETAIL
“I think homewares have thrived during COVID because people are focusing less on luxury fashion and more about their homes and making them feel like expressions of themselves.”
221 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201