Sage Collective in Lower Manhattan Is the Most Thoughtfully Curated Shop in New York

Sage Collective in Lower Manhattan Is the Most Thoughtfully Curated Shop in New York

The first time I stepped into Sage Collective, an airy tearoom in Lower Manhattan, it was one of those freezing winter days where the wind whistles between rows of skyscrapers, worming its way into whatever not-warm-enough thing you’re wearing as you push through the icy vortex. But inside Sage, it was warm and bright. I settled into a table by the window (ahh, remember those?) and ordered a frothy golden turmeric chai, served inside a mug of thin ceramic with a cartoon face painted in blue on its eggshell exterior.

Feng Ye, the soft-spoken, immaculately-dressed owner, noticed me snapping a picture on my phone. “You can actually buy the bowls and plates that match that cup, right over there,” she said, gesturing toward a backlit shelf across the room. And there they were, organized with minimalist precision beside stacks of grainy-textured plates, delicate flambé glazed vases, and lanterns lined with colorful vintage fabric. I lingered for hours before finally shuffling out just before close, full of tea and mushroom congee, laden with a pair of those extremely cute cartoon face bowls and an indigo tie-dyed table runner I planned to give as a gift but ended up keeping.

Of course, this was all B.C., Before Covid, and Sage’s tearoom is now temporarily closed. But Feng’s carefully curated collection of homegoods, all sourced from China and its surrounding areas, are still available to buy online. Born and raised in Shanghai, Feng came to the states as a teenager for school, eventually graduating with a degree in studio art from NYU. She opened Sage first as an e-commerce store, then as a tearoom (and now, for the time being, back to an e-commerce store) to highlight the oft-overlooked artisans of her home country. “People have a preconception about the phrase ‘Made In China’—that it’s mass-produced, cheap, and bad quality,” she says. “That’s something I want to reverse. So many young generations of artisans and designers in China are doing amazing work but not many people know about them.”

Here, in Feng’s words, are a few of her favorite items from makers to watch:


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