Like an old friend you might see once in a blue moon, Walk the West is Greenpoint’s traveling boutique that comes bearing goods and stories, often unexpected and unannounced. Clotilde Testa, mom of one and founder of the pop-up shop, has been sourcing her pieces from all over the world—from buying trips via Skype dates in Italy, to flying overseas in preparation for events like Greenpoint Market and monthly residencies at BUDIN. Starting this summer, she’ll be renting a space on Franklin Street by Duke’s Liquor Box for the entirety of June. We got to talk a little bit about the parallels of becoming both a mother and business owner, and the friends she’s made along the way.

GP: It’s a life changer going from being someone’s employee to entirely self-employed, but this transition happened while you were simultaneously becoming a mother. What was that period like for you?
Clotilde: Being a mother alone is probably one of the hardest things ever. I just had to hire someone part-time because it started becoming overwhelming for me. Transitions are hard but also exciting. It’s been amazing. Being a mum probably kicked me to do this.

GP: You’re expending an enormous amount of energy to grow your own creative business and raise your son..
Clotilde: Yes, the business is like my second baby. I’m so glad I embarked on it because it seems like it’s doing well. I’m so glad I did it. I feel like in Brooklyn, a lot of business owners are mums. A lot of new business owners… that is. Like People of 2morrow, she’s absolutely incredible and I spoke to her once about it, and she said, “I became a mom and then I just decided I wanted to do this.”

GP: I imagine if you can bring a person into the world, you can feel like you can do anything.
Clotilde: The wonder woman mom syndrome. It’s like a trigger.

GP: How does your collection reflect your personal taste and the facets of cultures you’re drawn to? What makes a piece stand out to you?
Clotilde: I very much follow what’s on trend. Ever since I was little I used to collect Vogue since I was 13 years old… I had stacks of them in my bedroom. Some days I’m classic and some days I’m bold. So I think that’s how I buy. I also have worked in fashion long enough to know what works for people and what they’re drawn to. I think about women in general, of all sizes, as well. There are women out there who are completely different. You have classic ladies who will only wear neutrals and then others who are more bold and funky.


GP: You are at Budin one weekend a month. What made you choose this spot?
Clotilde: I Lived across the street and been coming in since it opened on day one. I was massively pregnant, and so was the owner Crystal. Her and I started talking and she was like, “You should use my space! And I was like “Yeah, that’s a really good idea.” So I started renting part of the space from her once a month. It’s been so good.

GP: There’s a really strong community of supportive people like that here. How long have you been living in Greenpoint?
Clotilde: It’s been 3 years. Now we just moved towards the water. I feel like being here 3 years doesn’t count as being a true local. I still feel new. But in the 3 years I’ve been here, there’s been a massive change in the area. It keeps growing and growing. Honestly I think a year from now, Greenpoint is going to be what Williamsburg was four or five years ago. You’ve also got the ferry. On India Street, you can take the ferry and it can take you to Williamsburg, even to Long Island City. You have to take it sometime!

GP: Where do you like to frequent in the area?
Clotilde: Well because I’m a mum I don’t go out very often, but there are new places popping up every other day it seems. We love Vamos al Tequila. It’s a no-frills Mexican joint, and really cheap. The woman was so nice to me during my whole pregnancy and recognized me when I came back and she’s so nice to my son. Karczma is a true Polish restaurant, I had really nice wholesome food when I was expecting. Esme is really lovely, it’s on Manhattan. Fanfare is an Italian restaurant that just opened up and has a nice bar for the evenings.

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