GLEN ROCK, N.J. — Shades of Soho may not be south of Houston Street, but it offers unique handmade products that are more likely to be found in a trendy Manhattan shopping neighborhood than in Glen Rock, New Jersey.
Co-owner Bryan Kule says the store has many qualities that make it unique.
"We offer services that simply don't exist anymore," Kule said of the boutique lighting store on Rock Road.
"Nobody repairs anything anymore with lighting. Nobody makes their own products."
Kule graduated from Monmouth College in 1993 with his roommate and eventual Shades of Soho co-owner, Sam Picken.
The pair worked together at a lampshade factory in Garfield where they learned the lighting business from the ground up.
After years of cutting and sewing fabric, welding and wiring lamps, and designing light fixtures, Kule and Pickem bought the entire manufacturing business and opened a small store within the factory.
The new store was run by Kule's now-wife, Tara, a 1997 Rider graduate who showed a real flair for design and helped guide Kule and Picken in a new artistic direction: "eclectic traditional."
"Our passion is to design and make products combining fashion and function," said Kule, "While offering something unique for those yearning to create a look in their homes that is different than the looks everyone else already has."
Eventually, Kule and Pickem sold the manufacturing business and opened up Shades of Soho in Glen Rock in 2009 with Tara.
Kule, who knew little about lighting during college, is very proud of his business.
"I don't feel like I'm going to work everyday," Kule said. "I love what I do. I love the designing and the fixing.
"People come through the door everyday, and that's pretty awesome."