Henri Myers is the New York based founder of the socially responsible, multi-brand store Maison 10, alongside Tom Blackie and Carsten Klein. We are always welcomed into the shop with a warm smile and a chance to browse the selection of art and accessories that change over every ten weeks. Henri and I chatted for a few minutes as the team prepared for their new cycle.
As a native New Yorker, Henri grew up in Queens and after moving around a few times, he eventually settled in Seattle, Washington before making the move back to the city. I asked him where else he would like to live. “If you asked me that when I was growing up, I would have always said hands down, Paris, obviously because of the background and my name being Henri. I would always say Paris for sure, for sure, for sure. I was traveling for work there, I met my husband Tom there and so we have a big French connection. I would now say, London. I love London. We have a place there as well but I really love the vibe of London, I think more so than Paris.”
What draws you to London?
“London is like New York but further out. It definitely has got a very similar vibe but from the minute you get off the plane, you’re going through the city on the tube and just bopping around. It is very similar to New York, but I like the fact that it is even more international. When you’re meeting people, and they say they have a Swiss background or a German background, they’re actually Swiss and actually German. You hear different languages and people are really into preserving their culture as well as being Brits.”
Have you gone by Henri your whole life?
“Yes, I’ve always been an Henri. There is no alias. My dad is French and German and my mum is Jamaican but also German Chinese so she is a mix as well. She grew up here in Brooklyn and my dad was born in Germany but then moved to Philadelphia when he was about 15 or 16.”
I asked Henri if he liked his name growing up.
“I did. I didn’t think anything of it. I am actually named after Henri Matisse, that is my first and middle name which is pretty cool. A lot to live up to. I am not an artist at all. The first day of school would always be questionable because, you know, I got called Henry a lot. But it always was a really good first day when I would go into either my History or English class or any type of Literature, they would always pronounce it correctly because there are various different men named Henri. I really wasn’t that kid that was like ‘I hate my name’. If I could be Ralph, I would be Ralph but Henri was always Henri.”
What is something you feel everyone should experience?
“Travel. I definitely say travel because for me at an early age I just could not wait to get a passport. I took my first trip out of high school at 18 all by myself. I came back to New York for the first time since leaving three years before. It was fantastic.
Once I got my passport, I was everywhere. I was in Cuba, Europe, Brazil, tons of different places. There is still lots to do and lots of cool places. It is important for people to travel and see how other people live but also just experience a completely different set of experiences.”
If you just met someone who had just received their passport, where would you tell them to start?
“Oh! I would say probably Asia because I haven’t done much of Asia yet. I started with Europe and worked that way. The only Asian country that I have been to so far is Thailand and I really want to go to Vietnam. We still haven’t been to Japan so that is one that Tom and I really want to go to. I’d say start in Asia and then work your way, the other way.”
What was your favorite moment today?
“I would say - having a coffee. We have been gearing up for the next cycle at M10 which has been busy and I wanted a really good cup of coffee. It is always a nice thing in the morning and I make it myself.”
Photo: Maxwell Poth