Brush Factory goes retail on Main Street

The new location will devote 2,300 square feet to Brush Factory's bff line and other local, national and international brands of artisanal home goods.

click to enlarge Table from Brush Factory’s bff furniture line - Photo: Brooke Shanesy
Photo: Brooke Shanesy
Table from Brush Factory’s bff furniture line
After primarily designing and manufacturing furniture for commercial clients like boutiques, restaurants and creative agencies, local custom furniture maker Brush Factory is set to open a new storefront in Over-the-Rhine.

The new location, at 1417 Main St., will devote 2,300 square feet of space to both Brush Factory’s bff line of solid-wood residential furniture and other local, national and international brands of artisanal home goods. 

The store’s offerings will include Windsor chairs, dining and side chairs, settees, tables and barstools. It will also carry lighting from Andrew Neyer (formerly of Yes Gallery) and “playful home goods” like pillows and throws from Los Angeles-based textile designer bfgf, housewares from Toronto’s Umbra product-design company and home objects from Danish company Ferm Living. Items in the store will range from $20 to $2,000.

“I want to bring a mix of modern minimal design and traditional craft to our customers,” says Rosie Kovacs, Brush Factory co-owner (with partner Hayes Shanesy). “Our showroom last year was very successful and it became clear to me that people really needed to touch and see our furniture. We have a workshop in Camp Washington, but it’s not set up for that.”

In addition to offering custom and handmade products, Kovacs will maintain an office in the back of the store where customers can receive design advice and decorating services. They can also discuss the custom fabrication that has been the core of the business. 

Brush Factory started in 2009 when Kovacs and Shanesy combined their backgrounds — she studied fashion design and he studied industrial design, both at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning — by opening a working studio in a former brush factory in Brighton. 

While it was a tough economy overall, a renaissance for craftspeople and artisans was occurring with help from then-new social media and sites like Etsy. The company utilized both and eventually launched a wholesale website and a separate retail space in Oakley. 

Kovacs also became talent coordinator for ArtWorks from 2013-14, a position that allowed her to learn more about the business side of creative industries. That knowledge helped her and Shanesy win a $20,000 ArtWorks Big Pitch grant in 2015.

“That money was used to launch the bff line we were in the middle of developing,” Kovacs says. “We needed it for marketing and promotion.”

Kovacs says she hopes the store serves a retail clientele that she knows is interested. 

“Our target audience has been out there and waiting, but they don’t necessarily want furniture that’s custom-made for them,” she says. “It’s kind of like you’re growing up and graduating from your college dorm, so you’re ready to find something that you want to invest your money in that will last a long time. This is for a young audience ready to curate their space a little more.” 

Kovacs believes Main Street is the right place for this kind of business; she and Shanesy were able to maintain the integrity of their building by reusing existing architecture and open space to update the structure while celebrating its history and the neighborhood itself. With such forthcoming attractions as the renovated Ziegler Park and the spread of restaurant and retail locations beyond the Vine Street corridor, this section of the OTR is being renovated while still cultivating a certain quality of exploration.

“There’s something homegrown to this area that I can really get behind,” she says. “This area of Main Street has been here for a long time — it’s not so ’come in and flip it and turn it into some glamorous place.’ It’s a little off the beaten path, so you kind of have to discover it. I hope that it will be a delightful discovery for a lot of people.”

As of this story’s publication, the opening date for the store was set for Dec. 2. But with contractors still finishing up, that could change. Follow updates on Brush Factory’s Facebook page and Instagram (@BrushFactory) or via a newsletter you can request at brushmanufactory.com.


BRUSH FACTORY is slated to open its Main Street storefront on Dec. 2. More info: brushmanufactory.com.

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