Friends & Neighbors / Species By the Thousands.

In Friends & Neighbors, I'll introduce you to some of my favorite creative businesses in Williamsburg. With a new expensive store or chain restaurant opening seemingly every week, there's been much talk these days about how Williamsburg is "over." This series showcases shops, restaurants, and studios that make the neighborhood special, and prove that integrity, creativity, and an artistic spirit are still alive and well. They're places that make me proud to live here, and to call the faces behind their counters neighborsPhotographs by Jacquelyne Pierson.

"People tell me that they want to live here," says jewelry designer Erica Bradbury, whose shop opened on South 4th Street in 2012. Originally called A Thousand Picnics, the store had its beginnings in a collaboration with designers Phoebe Sung and Peter Buer; today, it goes by Species by the Thousands and stocks handmade jewelry, soy candles, crystals, and ceramic clay masks in a cozy, warmly-lit brick room.

"In the beginning, I didn't really know that I wanted to open a shop," Erica says. "I needed a studio, and figured that for a little more money, I could also have a storefront. It allows me to display the things that I make in the context I want to show them in. Instead of being in a studio and showing twice a year at market, I get immediate feedback from customers — my work evolves in public."

"Before the shop, I was in the dark about the things that inspire me," she continues. "But having the store, I've found my interests have gotten more specific. My jewelry has changed because of that — it's less about fashion, and more about imagery and symbolism, things that are meaningful to me and that I'm interested in exploring. It's a little more informed."

Species by the Thousands, 171 South 4th Street, (718) 599-0049
Mon-Sat 12pm - 7pm; Sun 12pm - 6pm

Five Minutes with Erica:

What's surprised you about running your own shop? I've learned so much — about the stones I stock and their properties, the spells, the magic. People come in and ask questions; I'm giving them advice. I really have to know what I'm talking about.

Among the many treasures here, what are some of your personal favorites? The Leah Ball pottery. The stained glass eyes. The Maison Monade ceramic masks.

Where in Brooklyn are you a regular? The shipping center on Grand Street. I'm there constantly. Otherwise, The Daily Press.

Thanks so much, Erica. Shop Species by the Thousands online, here.


  1. What an amazing store! Can't wait to check it out!

  2. I already love this series, Great idea.

  3. Thanks so much! Very excited to start...

  4. The spells? The magic? I can't wait to visit this store the next time I'm in Brooklyn. I also can't wait to see how this new series evolves :-) Loving it already!

  5. Love the series! Looking forward to the next installments!

  6. such a lovely shop, would love to visit :) Look forward to more stories!

  7. Thank you! I'm looking forward to more, too :)



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