*notcot in design , 22:54

Unica Home, Las Vegas- 01.06.09

unicamain.jpg First stop into vegas… UNICA HOME! The showroom/shop! Stepping into their new 3 month old 12,000 sq ft space felt like going to design heaven ~ so many things i’ve written about… beautifully laid out for hours of oooooohs and ahhhhhhs followed by debating and purchasing… i’m currently debating the Artimide Melampo Lamps! Unica Home in person manages to strike a delicate balance between being incredibly accessible and touchable, while still feeling as if you’re in the presence of a museum like space versus a store, as silly as it sounds, you can feel the care that is taken in showcasing the products with the utmost respect. When you meet founders Bonnie & Hugh, you’ll quickly grasp their passion for each and every object in the store, and their excitement over what is yet to come is infectious! And really, 12,000 sq feet is HUGE! They have one of their two warehouses in the back of the store, so don’t hesitate to ask if there’s something you’ve been eying online that you’re curious to see in person… The Detroit natives have been running Unica Home for 10 years, and have surprising backgrounds ranging from molecular biology, advertising/marketing, and antique sales as well as serving on the board of the legendary Neon Museum… and Hugh pointed us towards some off the Strip spots to check out… you’ll see more about Frankie’s Tiki Room when i get the next post ready… but first ~ click on to the next page to see a tour of the incredible Unica Home, there are over 30 pictures!!! There was just far too much to show you! This is definitely a MUST SEE when you’re in vegas!
































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18 Notes

I use to visit there online store for years until I made my first purchase from UNICA and had to return it.. It was one of the hardest returns I have ever had done.. So bad my CC company was invalid and months later I got my credit.. Two thumbs down UNICA and especially a woman by the name of Bonnie.

----- Chris Johnson 20.03.09 06:42

Found this article, read it and liked the pics also. I just wanted to say
I had a pretty good staff to work with while working there. It wasn’t always rosey, but a lot of hard work went into where they’re at today. Those previous, and present, employees put their heart and sole into the daily activities to make the comapany successful. I learned a lot about retail and how Unica operates and the challenges that are faced daily, especially when awaiting for containers to come to port with product and the logistics involved getting the correct items to the correct customers in a timely manner. Sometimes waiting close to a year for that special custom designer piece of furniture to arrive, only to find out the vendor manufactured the cushions wrong due to subcontrating out to another vendor half way around the world. Try to convey the problem in English to an Italian manufacture. Fun, Fun, Fun!
Training new personel in differant multiple language barriers on inbound freight is a challenge when stagging freight to get re-shipped out asap.

Unica Home has Morfed into what it is today from what I worked with and it would not have evolved as well as it has without all the support from its customer base and support from all the past/present employees who helped it come along as far as it has.

I found out that the “so called rich, rude, snotty nosed, pompus asses” of the retail world still want to have their cake and eat it too. Sorry to say, but the silver spoon they eat off of does need to get washed off once in awhile and a good dose of “reality check” that needs to be served up the next bite they take out of negativity. The old saying ,”poor planing on your part doesn’t make it an emergency on my part” should be included in the sales agreement on some of the rush orders processed to alievate the backlash that comes from the nay sayers. Paying attention to the fine print on the sales order would help also! No matter what,who, or back ground they come from, they will never be satisfied in the quest for perfection.

Since I no longer work there, I still am greatful for the opprotunity that was given to me to learn the business. It’s probably not my forte, but I can say I at least got a taste of it.

Bottom line, Huge and Bonnie put their sole into this endeavor, have gone from nothing to this in a short ten year peoriod and the likes of a few disgruntled customers won’t cut them down to the disgruntled comments that get blasted once in awhile. This isn’t a suck up post, It’s just cold hard facts of the time observed there working for a greater cause than myself.

----- Dave 09.02.09 01:26

I have made purchases from Unica at least 8-10 times. They have always been extremely friendly and professional. Each package comes with a handwritten thank you note. I’ve never found their customer service to be anything but of the highest caliber and can’t imagine Hugh and Bonnie ever providing less than the best.
You will never find 100% positive experiences from customers in a any retail situation, especially with all the irrational people out there. If you’ve ever worked in retail, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Some people like to complain if it’s a degree warmer outside than what they prefer. Those people are literally impossible to please and live to be negative.

----- Yvonne 06.02.09 15:24

This was the most AWFUL experience I have ever had, I truly think they are an unbelievably unprofessional and irresponsible company. Please find another source for these great products, trust me, you will not want to deal with their customer service, in fact, they just won’t call you back!

----- id1278 28.01.09 17:13

This is the WORST STORE IN THE WORLD! I have had so many bad experiences here, same with dozens of interior designers in Manhattan. Their customer service is a nightmare, and they do not take responsiblity for their products. Find their products and GO TO DIFFERENT VENDORS, NOT THEM!!!!!!!

----- laurel1234 28.01.09 16:52

I have bought many items, either for myself or as gifts for family and friends. In every parcel I receive a note left by Unica Home. The note is left personally signed by Hugh, Bonnie or a store representative - a lovely touch.

My patronage is secure. I can also confirm everytime I do call to confirm an order or to enquire the representative on the other end is fantastic. In particular a James who works with Bonnie and Hugh has helped me with issues a number of times. James returned phonecalls and upheld quite fantastic service. Thank you for this!

My last purchase was luggage for my girlfriend by Mandarina Duck just before Christmas 2008…..Maria loved the bags, and uses the handbag everyday.

Love your store….nuff said!


----- Peter Blades 15.01.09 10:03

Heaven on earth, indeed. How did you drag yourself away?

----- Tommy Pez 11.01.09 16:02

Hi Jean!
Thanks for the wonderful write up! I look forward to your next visit!


----- Bonnie Fogel 10.01.09 14:37

And I thought vegas was all about gambling! Turns out there’s a much better way to allow money to slip through your fingers out there in that desolate state!

----- thatkidthere 07.01.09 22:03

thank you for the beautiful photos. it was a pleasure to meet you and I really appreciate what you are trying to do in your own ways. Next time I’ll have the knife in stock.

to the person re: yelp: one thing you must realize is that when you have literally hundreds of thousands of clients some things will go wrong- on both sides. Yelp is incredibly biased towards people that want to go out of their way to state something for one reason or another. It is difficult for people to say good things about anything. Most people do not have time to say anything- so you get only people with extreme views (positive and negative) posting on these forums. Some postings do have a point. Others result in a phone call from your Mother.

Last year was very hard for my staff. We had to move our offices with about 3 weeks’ notice- and there was a fire next door that wiped out our showroom and computers- and we had to relocate to the new showroom. These things happen. Product was ‘lost’ or damaged. People were overwhelmed. We dealt with it. Most critical statements are because some customers will not take no for an answer and then try to threaten you into caving in. It would be good to understand there are 2 sides to every argument- and my company has never made a decision where we have taken the low road. There needs to be some responsibility on both parties. Don’t believe everything at face value. I can name most of the people who wrote those responses because every issue is discussed. Unfortunately I can’t respond in kind to the people who order hand-made to order pieces and are upset because there is a dock strike, or a company overseas was late in delivery, or a company all of a sudden decides to UL all lighting and will not honor orders which have been previously paid for, or an overseas company dumps their latest US distributor and you have to figure out how to get this product to people that want it- for the third time in a year. How about the people that purchase items for use at a party and then return them (used)- and are upset when we say NO, or people that order items for christmas four working days beforehand and expect delivery- despite statements (and rationale) to the otherwise. I can’t write about the treatment of my staff by most of these people, and the depths they go when they refuse to understand or take responsibility for anything. I’ve seen my staff in tears.

NOTCOT came in the store and Bonnie and I were on the floor. We take time to say hello. We answer the phone (no voicemail here unless we are slammed). My staff and I work extremely hard to present new product to market. We try to give people a creative choice besides Walmart. We support other small businesses. We work for our community and interact with companies and designers to make better product. Our business is based on relationships. You can’t accomplish much through snobbery. Try life on the other side of the counter for a while. There is no safety net. Please explain what a retail angel is and then perhaps we can have a suitable scale for comparison. I’ve spent 10 years trying to figure out how a faceless company is better than a small family-owned retailer.

I would invite anyone who visits Vegas to stop by and say hello. We are almost always here. We have a wonderful bookstore if you are interested in research- and we also used to be very good at critiques. The best thing to do when you need something is ask- usually we can dig all sorts of things up in the back rooms.

I appreciated the note about the Visual Merchandiser- we’re usually too busy. Easter Seals does our cleaning, so we have to literally do everything else ourselves. That will come in time, no doubt. It is very difficult to find good people in Vegas (you can take that on a number of different levels). Trying to do a better job means we also need to be close to perfect and work a lot harder than with other retail outlets. If you know anyone who is creative and believes in jumping off the cliff of comfort to expand their world please send info.

Oh, and the plastic is called Poly-gal. It is a bit expensive but I liked the fact that there was a definition of space with the Artemide showroom and the function of lighting (light) showed through.

I don’t usually come out of my shell but this was a very nice thing that happened here this week. One of my friends forwarded the link. Was the negative input really needed?

We wish everyone a Happy New Year. Do something better this year. There is another chance just around the corner. We currently are in the process of working on a Las Vegas oriented website to drive visitors in the community. Keep an eye out for it.

----- Hugh 07.01.09 17:39

The wall in the lighting area is a product called Polygal - it’s a polycarbonite multi-wall sheet material.

----- mike 07.01.09 16:50

Actually the customer service is exceptional. We have bought many items, large and small from Unica. Hugh and Bonnie are very passionate about their business, it’s their lives work. I can assure you, they are not “retail villians”. They try to promote small artists along with the big houses, and have done much to further the world of design.

----- Brook B. 07.01.09 16:17

oh my! they need to get a visual merchandiser in there pronto!

----- mchl 07.01.09 11:24

the shop is certainly beautiful but Unica is notorious for treating their customers very poorly (read any opinion blog you want Yelp, etc), it kind of bums me out that retail villians do so well.

----- fresh 07.01.09 09:31

thx for sharing jean. ur awesome.

----- hana 07.01.09 07:13

WOW I had no idea Unica had a retail store?!!! I have always been obsessed w/their website. I am so excited to check out their store now the next time I am in Vegas.

----- Katee (e-polishblog) 07.01.09 07:12

I am interested in that wall in the lighting section. Looks like heavy-gauge steel stud, covered in some sort of fritted plastic. Did you touch it?!

----- Jody 07.01.09 05:37

wow, i could spend hours in stores/show rooms like this one. i am really fascinated by the lamp over the book section.

----- roitsch 07.01.09 04:24

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