Claire Distenfeld has cleverly combined her skilled eye for modern art objects with her business savvy via Fivestory, a company dedicated to selling a wide range of wares. At her flagship Madison Avenue boutique, she skilfully and artfully curates off-beat pieces of jewelry from under-the-radar designers, designer shoes for men, women, and children, and personal accessories including bags, among others.
Distenfeld, who has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the New York University and a master’s degree in contemporary art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art, first worked as an intern for Sante D’Orazio and as an employee in a Chinatown-based art gallery. In late 2012, she started her online business via Instagram, which turned out to be an instant success.
And thus was born Fivestory, which now occupies two floors in a traditional brownstone. Distenfeld plays an active role in her business with her functions including procurement management, sales analytics, and public relations and business development, as well as customer relations. She has been and continues to be successful at cementing Fivestory’s reputation as New York’s emerging fashion hotspot that offers extraordinary items for the discerning fashionista.
Distenfeld makes it a point to curate under-the-radar designers like Palmer Harding, Josh Goot, and Vika Gazinskaya in her boutique. Her unerring taste in modern art coupled with her education is certainly instrumental in her savvy choices of designers, which her customers lap up judging from her impressive sales.
Her products include an eclectic mix of baby clothing, designer wear, and jewelry in an artful space designed by Ryan Korban, the famous interior design guru. Shoe lovers just love the special mezzanine area designed as a shoe garden.
Like many fashion entrepreneurs, Distenfeld has tapped into her support network to launch her business. She co-founded Fivestory with her father, Fred, who now oversees the boutique’s business end.