Designer Caitlin Mociun Offers Unique Home Goods and Jewelry in her Williamsburg Shop
Originality is the theme of Mociun, Caitlin Mociun’s eponymous brick-and-mortar storefront, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Located on a design-centric strip of Wythe Avenue, Mociun sets itself apart by offering one-of-a-kind textiles from Jenny Pennywood, ceramic pieces from Robert Blue and Eric Bonnin, and bags by Brooklyn-based Baggu. All of this is in addition to a selection of Caitlin’s ready-to-wear rings, necklaces, and bracelets, from striking turquoise pieces to patterned gold bands for men.
For Caitlin, her store is less a commercial space and more a gallery filled with the work of gifted local artisans. “I kind of think of the whole space as an installation,“ she told Cool Hunting. shortly after the store opened, in 2012.
This unconventional view of what a retail space can be—and what a shopping experience should be—is the result of Caitlin’s unusual path to Brooklyn.
In many ways, Caitlin was destined for a creative career. She grew up in the free-spirited town of Nevada City, California, just east of Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park. Then, at the age of 12, she moved with her family to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for four years. After a two-year stint in Prague, Caitlin returned to America to attend the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where she studied textiles.
All of this globetrotting is evident in Caitlin’s store. Unlike many home-goods shops, with their stacks of bowls and piles of linens, Mociun’s retail space is so carefully curated that it feels more like a room in Caitlin’s apartment where she displays artifacts from her travels around the world. The retail design is intimate, well edited, and tailored.
Another reason why Mociun is such an unconventional shopping experience is the complicated relationship Caitlin has had with the fast-paced world of New York City fashion and retail. After she graduated from RISD, she capitalized on her textile training to start her own line of apparel. But after a few years of what she called “varying degrees of success,” Caitlin grew tired of the grind of fashion.
She admitted in a recent interview, “I never really loved doing it, and [I] found the fast-paced fashion schedule difficult as a designer.”
In 2008, at the height of her frustration, Caitlin became interested in jewelry. Although this may seem like a radical departure from textiles, she relates this transition back to a class she took at RISD on slip casting, a centuries-old method for creating unusually shaped ceramics.
“I always appreciated sculpture and found that I loved making small art objects and creating a world and setting for them,” Caitlin said. “I think that’s the part of me that finds so much satisfaction in designing jewelry.”
Her custom wedding and engagement rings have made her one of the hottest names in the bridal world. Whether they feature irregularly cut antique white diamonds or geometric sapphires set in sterling silver, her rings celebrate the theme of every wedding—that the bride is unique. Special. This talent for appealing to the individuality of brides-to-be has won her clients from around the world—including Gwyneth Paltrow—and praise from Elle and Harper’s Bazaar.
“I had no intention of starting a clothing line, no intention of having a jewelry line, no intention of owning a store,” she said in an interview with Glamour. “But it’s just sort of progressed in its own way.”
Along her path to success, Caitlin has always stressed the value of sustainability, as well as a personal brand of customer service. Rather than creating a large retail footprint by working with new stones, she works closely with jewelers in New York to find antique diamonds and gemstones whenever possible. If a client does request a new stone for a ring, she checks with her suppliers to make sure the stones are sustainably sourced.
“One of the things I like best about jewelry is that it is not an industry of waste,” Caitlin said. “I recycle any scrap of metal, either by pulling it into wire or refining it to use in future castings. Damaged stones can always be recut or repolished. Broken jewelry can be repaired and worn again.”
If Caitlin’s custom jewelry is the financial foundation of Mociun—she now prefers to design rings in the $20,000–$30,000 range—the rest of the store serves as a relaxed and comfortable living room, where customers are free to browse for a stylish and unique find. And when a bride-to-be comes into the store for a ring consultation, Caitlin always want to make sure that she leaves with something tangible in her hands, whether it’s the small-batch perfume oil Caitlin created with MCMC Fragrances, in Greenpoint, or stoneware bowls with a teal and copper glaze from Janet Williams. Most importantly, Caitlin wants her customers to feel special, and she achieves that by offering a collection of home goods that can’t be found anywhere else in Brooklyn.
“It’s such a wonderful experience to discover something,” she told Glamour. “It’s not very much fun to go somewhere and say, ‘seen that, seen that, seen that.’”
Caitlin also designed Mociun in a modular way so that the store’s arrangement can be constantly refreshed. There is only one permanent shelf in the store, and the rest of the retail space consists of tables that are easily moved. This affords Caitlin the freedom to constantly rearrange her displays, which makes the space feel almost new every time a customer walks in.
“Everything else that is in the store is the lifestyle that supports the person who wears the jewelry,” Caitlin said in an interview with Racked. “So that’s all super important to me, and promoting the artists’ and designers’ work I have is really important to me. But it’s not where I make all my money—it certainly supports itself, but you’re not going to be able to support a company and five employees on selling cups. But you can with diamonds.”
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