Simply Sublime

New gift shop takes you on a journey beyond Hope Street

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What is pH Factor? It’s the newest face on Hope Street and Priya Himatsingka’s passion project.

“I love putting things together, and this idea had been percolating for a while,” reminisces Priya, a RISD graduate and jewelry maker. She had been crafting accessories from her Pawtucket studio but set her sights on a storefront that went beyond jewelry. In just six weeks, the space she’d rented on Hope Street – formerly Moon Tide Dyers – was renovated, and doors to the gift shop officially opened mid-April.

Clean white walls play backdrop to a colorful array of items: humorous greeting cards, recycled handbags from old cassette tapes, textiles from her family’s business. Collections come from as far as India and Japan or buying trips to Paris, but local talent is represented too, including Priya’s jewelry line.

“I love the odd, the offbeat, and the eccentric,” Priya writes on her website. “What’s not to love about chic jewelry, lush velvets, crisp taffetas, and gorgeous scarves?

However, it’s not just about the materials on display in the shop – it’s about the experience. Priya is quick to offer tea or coffee and chocolate cookies, and gesture to a miniature sitting area in the front that invites guests to stay awhile. The juxtaposition of elegance and hominess is unexpected; you might be surprised to find a hand-painted mechanical Ferris wheel from a German toymaker is under $40.

“Come by to look, touch, smell, and appreciate what we’ve created and curated,” Priya encourages, “over a cup of coffee, a conversation, and a damned funny joke.” 780 Hope Street