When you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, pretty much all of your retail therapy dreams involved plastic. Charm necklaces, gummy bracelets, banana clips, you get the drift. And let’s be honest, plastic still is the foundation for a lot of what we buy. When Jenny Zuko first opened her shop in Brooklyn, NY in 2007, naming it Dream in Plastic was a safe bet. Today in 2019, the name has become a liability. People dismiss the store as something they don’t want - plastic. What does a business owner do when her customers shift? She shifts with them, does a soul search, and rebrands.
Welcome Zakka Joy To Main Street - Same Great Shop, Different Name
“It straight up hurts our feelings when people sometimes dismiss us as a store full of single-use plastics and useless junk,” admitted Jenny in an email to her customers (of which I am one!). Dream in Plastic - I mean Zakka Joy - moved to Beacon in 2009, and is one of the veteran shops on Main Street, weathering many tipping points and being on the front lines of foot traffic that comes in - both legit customers and wandering youth with backpacks who hover about the store, touching everything but buying nothing (why the empty backpacks?)
Dream in Plastic isn’t the only store to rebrand in Beacon. One of her neighbors, The Pandorica restaurant, went through a major rebrand when owner Shirley Hot transformed her Cup and Saucer theme to the Doctor Who show. She now attracts customers from all over the world.
What Is Zakka?
According to Jenny: “Zakka ("Zah-kah") is a Japanese word, for which there really is no English equivalent.”
In sum, Zakka means:
Seeing the beauty in something mundane.
Uncategorizable or miscellaneous things.
Everything and anything that improves your home, life and appearance.
Humble, everyday objects that bring their users great satisfaction.
Things that accompany our everyday lifestyle spaces and provide an element of decoration.
Things mixed together with great variety.
Combine this word with “Joy,” and you have that precious moment of joy. “The shop really is about is that moment of happy (ahem, "Joy") you experience when you discover that one thing (or ten): a pencil that you cherish, a pair of socks with your favorite animal on them, a toy to keep you company, a hand-poured soy candle, or the perfect gift for someone,” explains Jenny.
Zakka (thing) + Joy (the feeling when you discover the thing) = Zakka Joy
You’ll notice similarities in the old and new in the new logo. Still a cute shape in the name (originally a little cloud and now an emoji type smile-y face). Where Dream in Plastic was in all lowercase, Zakka Joy stands big and bold in all caps.
What Will You Find Inside of Zakka Joy?
Regulars of the shop know Jenny to have an ever changing collection of inventory, from walls of cameras to walls of socks. In recent years, her collection of paper stationery and kitchen goods has grown. There is not an official stationery store in Beacon. There used to be - down on Jenny’s end of town - but that store closed long ago. I still have several very pretty file boxes I purchased from that shop, however.
While not a full blown stationery store, Jenny’s addiction to paper is very much alive right now, with her large collection of journals, planners, and party decorations. Her art supply collection is growing as well, with charcoal pencils, funky erasers, highlighters that smell like strawberries and peaches, and some of the best rolling pens you have ever used. Impress your friends or the ladies at the DMV with your pink pen you carry in your purse (like I did!). It’s real easy and cheap retail therapy.
Inside, you’ll still find the pusheens you love, and collection of stuffed animal keychains. You will definitely find stickers and figures from the famous artist (who now lives in Beacon!) Tara McPherson.
It’s Real - The Instagram Has Changed
The name on the storefront has changed, and the handle in your Instagram has changed from Dream in Plastic to @zakkajoyny. Don’t worry, you don’t need to do a thing to follow the new shop online. Except to visit the old shop!
There’s a party to celebrate the name change on Second Saturday, August 10, 2019 from 6-9pm. Remember when the shop used to have artist display on Second Saturday? Now the store itself is on display. Go give Jenny a high-five for all the work she has done to recreate her shop, which is always recreating anyway.