Words by Jonathan Evans
Photography By Justin Chung

Lauren Snyder, The Primary Essentials

Brooklyn, NY

It’s a little strange, that near-universal human inclination to define ourselves not just by what we do, but also through those objects with which we choose to surround ourselves. And that’s something that Lauren Snyder, owner of Brooklyn-based shop The Primary Essentials, knows better than most.
“I’m just so interested in the little things that we keep around that comfort us, and are in our everyday lives with us,” she says. “That’s what I think about when I stock the things in the store.” Not quite a home store, not quite a gift store, Primary Essentials is filled with carefully considered versions of just those sort of closely held items: a locally made mug, a hand-painted spoon, an indigo-dyed blanket—really a celebration of craftsmanship of all kinds. And Snyder will be the first to admit that many of these things, “aren’t necessities at all.” But it is these very things that she feels help us build our identities.
“The only way I know how to approach what I do is by my instincts, I always try to be honest with myself.”
Opened in late 2013, the shop was “truly a passion project. It was just something I’d always really wanted to do.” A former fashion stylist with a penchant for sneakers, travel, and art, Lauren sees this array of goods as a reflection of her clean, classic sense of style, but also “whatever I’m into at the moment. Things are always evolving and changing, and you’ll find pieces in here that may have just recently caught my eye… But, honestly, I try to keep a practical outlook. Because hopefully, these are things that will find their way into someone else’s life.” She adds further. “The only way I know how to approach what I do is by my instincts, I always try to be honest with myself.”
The Primary Essentials is that home, a place where locals can wander, browse, and perhaps say hello to Snyder’s dog, Otis. (He’s there from time to time, lazing by a table and observing the patrons.) And maybe, just maybe, they’ll leave with something they can bring into their own homes and appreciate as much as Snyder does. “I wouldn’t want to be in a neighborhood that felt this kind of concept was ridiculous,” she smiles. “But this neighborhood doesn’t seem to think that.” Looking to the future, Snyder keeps an open mind. “I see it going so many places. It’s weird, because it’s only been nine months. And it’s crazy to think of what’s happened in those nine months—and what could happen in the next.” ●

Full story available in Faculty Department Vol. 1.

Photographed in 2014 – Brooklyn, New York.