Winter has arrived in the UK. Autumn's colours have faded to grey and we are could use a little pre-Christmas cheer. What better time then, to take a virtual trip to Port of Raleigh in North Carolina? Block's latest stockists are 'design and wanderlust enthusiasts' with the kind of store that could inspire an international trip.
We caught up with 'The Shop Keeper' at Port of Raleigh, Ana Maria Muñoz, to find out more about this unique treasure trove.Born to Colombian parents in Australia, raised in Los Angeles, and most recently transplanted from Kuala Lumpur via London, Ana's roots are global but her interest is local – Raleigh is the city she has chosen to call home. Along the way, Ana 'fell in love with the form and function of modern and timeless design, and discovered William Morris’ enduring Golden Rule to “have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”'
'I have applied the Golden Rule everywhere I’ve lived, becoming evermore passionate about the home being a special place that should have special things in it; no matter how permanent or temporary the living arrangement may be.' At Port of Raleigh Ana succeeds in 'bringing the world to Raleigh' and Block are thrilled to be stocked in this special space.
Tell us about your favourite detail of Port of Raleigh
Big Yellow! Our mock shipping container makes everyone smile when they walk in and adds playfulness to an otherwise very neutral setting. The street we're on is heavier on drive-by traffic than pedestrian so the yellow "shipping container" also serves as an eye-catching piece when zooming by. I can't tell you how many people come in saying so.
Big Yellow provides the backdrop as you enter our shop. It is a play on the "port" idea of the shop. At first I thought I'd paint it black, grey, or white but the color pop was just too fun to pass.
Please share with us a special moment for Port of Raleigh
Our grand opening party. I felt what kind of impact our little shop could have on our community, just by sharing the things that I'm passionate about. People were excited, intrigued, engaged, and I felt hopeful that we could build something that is lasting and goes beyond.
The shop is becoming more than a "port" for design-driven goods from around the world. Because of our location next to the city's convention center, downtown hotels, and a very popular restaurant for visitors and residents alike, I find that via the shop I get to meet people from all over the country and world, welcome them to Raleigh, and offer tips for their stay in area. We're a small but growing city. People are curious and excited about what's already here making an impact but also what's to come.
Finally, we'd love to know which is your favourite Block product
I'm loving the Clipboard Frame! So versatile and simple. They let whatever you clip to it be the feature, be it a photo or a note.