The owners of Artifact and Wares partner on Hyperbole, a storefront mashup that spotlights Hudson Valley creatives and independent makers.
Word of the day: Hyperbole
Definition: An extravagant exaggeration
Alternative definition: A gorgeous, women-owned gift shop in Beacon
We’re not being hyperbolic when we say it’s nothing less than lovely, either. In fact, the sweet storefront on Main Street is a hub for all things eye-catching. Whether its handmade Hudson Valley art, stylish shoes from sustainable makers, or sparkling baubles from independent artisans, Hyperbole probably has it.
“With Hyperbole, our mission is to support people who make beautiful, original, and socially responsible products within the Hudson Valley and beyond,” say co-owners Andrea Podob and Carolyn Baccaro.
Prior to the opening of Hyperbole in October, both women were already committed to that mission, albeit in slightly different ways. On East Main Street, Baccaro was busy running Artifact, where she stocked art and jewelry from independent vendors.
Over on Tioronda Avenue, meanwhile, Podob collected one-of-a-kind clothing and jewelry for her displays at Wares. Ironically, the two opened their respective storefronts within months of each other and maintained a commitment to support and sell small-batch, local products from the outset.
As fate — or the small-town magic of Beacon — would have it, the duo soon became acquaintances and later friends. They bonded over their shared aesthetics, past careers, and shopping mentalities, not to mention the fact that they both owned small jewelry brands (Baccaro crafts Rock Dove Jewelry while Podob own Podobena). At the same time, they realized the overlap had the makings of a harmonious partnership in the heart of Beacon.
“We realized it would benefit both of us — and the artists whose work we carried — if we were to combine our two businesses and form one ‘superstore’ in a more central location on Beacon’s Main Street,” they explain. “Hyperbole is the happy result!”
Since the women live in Beacon, they chose to open the shop within walking distance of their abodes in order to tap into the city’s strong artisan presence and bustling weekend scene. After closing Artifact and Wares, both of which were on the outskirts of town, they opened the doors to their new Main Street location on October 12.
A true fusion of the former businesses, Hyperbole is a one-stop shop for local, independent, and sustainable makers within the Hudson Valley and beyond. Displays range in nature from eco-chic dresses and sweaters to handcrafted bags, artisan-produced jewelry, and regional prints. The overall aesthetic is a dash of Brooklyn, a swirl of Hudson Valley, and 100-percent Instagram-perfect.
“For shoppers, we want to make it easier to avoid fast fashion and cheaply made products,” they say. “As jewelry designers ourselves, we understand how much time and hard work goes into making a beautifully handcrafted piece, so we wanted to provide an outlet for fellow makers to sell their work without going broke at expensive NYC makers’ markets or having to outsource production.”
A #thinklocal operation, Hyperbole is just as much of a destination to support Hudson Valley artisans as it is to savor the warm, creative spirit that thrums through Beacon. Baccaro and Podob make a point to welcome each and every customer who steps foot inside the shop, just as they carve out time to speak with their featured artists and learn the stories behind the brands they carry. Depending on the day, that could mean chatting about the inspiration behind one of Johnny Defeo’s works or explaining exactly how Salt + Umber’s sustainable footwear comes together.
“We like it when people pop in and hang out. That’s why we offer our guests a beer and invite their dogs to come shopping, too,” they explain. “We know where every piece came from, how it was made, and who made it.
The women may be serious about their “support small” mindset, but they want to keep the shopping experience fun for everyone. They chose the name Hyperbole both for its energy and as a comic reference to their tendency to make over-the-top statements about just how wonderful their community of artists and makers is.
Now that Hyperbole is officially up and running in Dutchess County, Baccaro and Podob are excited to transform visits to the store into full-blown experiences. Looking ahead, they hope to roll out pop-ups and classes in which visitors can meet featured artisans and learn new skills. To keep things local, they’ll also collaborate with neighboring shops like Pavonine Yoga and use their in-store bar to host events. Throughout it all, they’ll continue accepting applications from artists and designers who think their works would be a good fit at the shop.
“We want to create a shopping experience that feels personal and fun,” they explain.
And that’s no overstatement.
Believe the ‘Hype’ About Hyperbole
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Carolyn Baccaro, left, and Andrea Podob of Beacon’s Hyperbole (Photo by K. Merry)
Competitors join forces in fashion/art mashup
Andrea Podob and Carolyn Baccaro, the owners of Hyperbole, an eclectic retail shop on Beacon’s Main Street, were perfect strangers when each moved to the city in 2016. Both women, however, arrived in town with a zeal for entrepreneurship and a mission to open their own retail store.
The following spring, Podob opened her shop, Wares, on Tioronda Avenue and just a month later, Baccaro opened Artifact Beacon on East Main Street. Catering to a similar clientele, and just a short walk apart, the two became familiar with each other’s storefronts right away.
“Andrea’s store featured more clothing and fashion, and mine was more focused on art,” Baccaro recalls.
“We hadn’t officially met yet and, sure, we were competitors, but I just remember how much I loved her stuff!” said Podob.
Though they chose to highlight different products in their stores, both shared a mission to carry products from local artists and makers, with a focus on sustainability.
“Since our stores and missions kind of complemented each other in that way, we definitely started to notice an overlap in our customer base,” said Baccaro.
After running into each other a few times and paying visits to each other’s shops, the two began discussing the challenges of running a store alone, as well as their shared dream of a centrally located space on Main Street — something neither could afford individually.
Baccaro recounts that “those conversations kept happening as we got to know each other.”
As they shared trials as budding shop owners, the two became friends, and the progression to business partners happened naturally and “very quickly,” said Podob. “It just clicked one day. We were competitors, but instead of fighting it out, we thought, ‘Why don’t we just do this together?’ ”
So, in October 2019, only a short while after Wares and Artifact had opened, both women closed up shop and together sought a new space on Main Street. The hardest part, according to the women, was coming up with a name for their store. They spent weeks trying to combine the names of their old stores.
“One day we thought, what is a word that means the best store ever, with the best products ever?” said Baccaro, “and we chose Hyperbole!”
But the transition from competitors to friends to business partners brought challenges besides creating a name. Their combined shop, Hyperbole, opened at 484 Main St. just months before the pandemic shutdown. It also coincided with Baccaro giving birth to her first child. The time became a testament to their bond as friends and their ability to weather challenges as entrepreneurs.
“I was so grateful for Andrea at that time,” said Baccaro. “Suddenly having to close our doors [due to the pandemic] and me starting a family, it was so hard for both of us in different ways. I’m so grateful to have had a partner through all of that.”
The two also dived into uncharted territory when, like most smaller retailers, they were forced to pivot to digital sales during the early months of the pandemic.
“It was pretty crazy to go all-digital, but it did allow us to build up that part of our business. We couldn’t have done that alone,” said Podob. “We had to work together in a new way, to reach customers that hadn’t ever walked into our store.”
As social distancing restrictions began to ease, the doors to hyperbole opened for good, hopefully, in March. That’s when the advantages of combining their efforts became most evident.
“We had so much customer overlap at Wares and Artifact,” said Podob, “and we noticed that so many people followed us here from the old stores.”
Another striking advantage is the unique shopper’s experience they have created at hyperbole. Since combining their passions of art and fashion, the duo can offer in-depth knowledge about all the products in their store.
Shopping for a piece of art? Baccaro has details about the local artists and can assist in picking out complementary pieces. With clothing, Podob can recount where she sources vintage pieces or the independent artisans that create the store’s jewelry.
“Curating the store was definitely the easiest part, and the most fun. We love focusing on the experience for our customers and introducing them to unique and locally sourced pieces,” said Baccaro.
It’s hard to pinpoint one thing that makes hyperbole a success, but in their opinions, dedication to the customer and the local makers they feature has been essential. “Even when we had our own stores and were competitors, we supported each other. We really balance each other and it’s kind of crazy how it all worked out,” said Baccaro.
Hyperbole, at 484 Main St., is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 845-478-4064 or visit HyperboleNY.com.
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