America’s Best Independent Design Shops: Yowie

Shannon Maldonado’s Philadelphia boutique aims to democratize design.
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Shannon Maldonado founded her Philadelphia boutique, Yowie, with the goal of giving creatives a platform. "We love being the first to carry a designer’s collection," says Maldonado, who notes that "the home and furniture space hasn’t always felt inclusive"—something she’s out to change. 

Shannon Maldonado launched Yowie online in 2016 and opened the Queen Village storefront one year later. 

Perched along historic Fabric Row in the leafy Queen Village neighborhood, the compact shop is stocked with everything from sculptural ceramics by local and international brands, to buttery-soft loungewear by Yowie and an enticing selection of design books. But rather than tightly pack in rows of objects, Maldonado’s curation allows her rotating selections to breathe.

Maldonado has been hard at work developing an ambitious project that will combine a new, nearby outpost with a boutique hotel, cafe, and rentable photo studio, set to open in late 2022. 

"I started Yowie in 2016 hoping to create a community of designers and makers from near and far," she says. "I’m proud to say that our space has become a connective tissue for locals to meet other collaborators and for people to discover the work of emerging artists. As we grow, we will continue to democratize design and be a space where guests can always find something new."

Yowie’s Regional Recommendations 

Compound Light by Ovuud 

Maldonado notes the scale and fluidness of Philadelphia designer Benjamin Gillespie's woodwork. This multi-arm pendant is formed from ash, a woven diffuser, and high-output, dimmable LEDs.

Dazzle Camo Blanket by HeyThanksGuys 

Blankets don’t have to be relaxing. "You can almost feel this one vibrate," Maldonado says about designer Thomas Roland’s graphic woven blanket, which makes an Op art aesthetic seem (almost) cozy.

Vases by Kenni Field 

"Kenni’s work makes me feel like a part of their magical world," Maldonado says, noting that there’s a nuance to the designer’s playfulness that reveals a subtle vision. "I’m excited to continue to watch them grow in their practice."

Tile Chair by Carl Durkow 

Local designer Carl Durkow cleverly combines ceramics with furniture. Maldonado says Durkow is "able to move through mediums with ease, and this new body of work is both playful and elegant."

Plant Stakes by Keta Handmade 

For Maldonado, a "newly devoted plant mom" who started tending her green friends during quarantine, these stakes from Keta Handmade offer a bit of style that echoes gestural midcentury jewelry.

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