Ask Sharyn Blond why anyone should buy somewhat pricier linens from her shop, rather than a big-box store, and she’s speechless for a moment.
“I guess it’s really the quality,” Blond says, holding up a brightly colored napkin, made in France. “If you get something like this, it will last for years.”
In a compact space, every shelf and corner holds a treasure. Blond pulls woven linen placemats from a shelf under a display case.
“These are popular,” she says. “Give them a wipe and they’re clean.”
She steps through the store pointing out other treasures, new kitchen décor, baby gifts, glassware and bed clothes. Those who love fine bedding will even find the softest of sheets here.
It’s nothing but the best, the owner says. A tour of the small store shouldn’t take long, but it’s easy to dwell for a bit on intricate napkin rings from an iron worker in Dallas, glassware from an Irish glass-blower now living in Vermont, brilliantly hued napkins and dish towels, pajamas made of meltingly soft fabric and soaps in whimsical shapes.
And don’t leave the store until you admire the handiwork of which Blond seems most proud: Linens — including cocktail napkins, fingertip and guest towels, placemats and napkins — that she designed and has hand-embroidered from some of the finest artisans in Madeira.
Asked about her artistic proclivity, she laughs and shrugs it off.
“My clients give me inspiration,” she says, then pulls out a drawing. “A woman wanted an elegant turkey for Thanksgiving napkins.” What she produces is as elegant a rendering of a turkey as an artist can achieve, all embroidered in rich colors.
Even her grandchildren have inspired artwork, she says, pointing to some of their inspirations. Small stores across around the country carry her linens.
Bridal registry is a big part of the business, but pointing to items for men and children, Blond says, “it’s not just a store for women’s gifts.”
What clients will find searching through the shop is not tags reading “Made in China,” at least not in factories, she says. Nearly everything is painstakingly created in France, Portugal, Italy or other countries by artisans.
The business began when Blond bought Constance Leiter in the Country Club Plaza 22 years ago. This store in the Fairway Shops, which opened nine years ago, has done well for her. About 80 to 90 percent of her customers are regulars, she said.
“And the new people who come quickly become regulars,” chimes in Amy Atha, who has worked in the store for two years. “Sharyn won’t say it, but she simply has the best taste and is so talented.”
Sharyn Blond Linens
Address: 2718 W. 53rd St., Fairway
Contact: 913-362-4420; sharynblondlinens.com
Hours: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday- Saturday or by appointment
Nearby stores: Rainy Day Books, 2706 W 53rd St., Fairway. Asiatica, 4824 Rainbow Blvd, Westwood.
Nearby restaurant: Oklahoma Joe’s, (the original) 3002 W. 47th Ave., Kansas City, Kan.