Some Kiosk products are the result of painstaking research or long drives on back roads in rented cars. And some are found totally by chance. “We were at this shop in Porto that sells only rubber goods, and I noticed this beautiful twine they were using for packaging,” says Grifo. “I asked where they’d gotten it, and they walked us over to a wholesale paper goods shop. That’s where we found the toilet paper.” Unfortunately the twine wasn’t meant to be — it’s not produced in Portugal — and neither was the TP: “With importing, you pay for volume. This would be like an $8 roll of toilet paper.”

Kiosk’s Portugal collection

It’s hard to put a finger on just how the New York store Kiosk — which peddles quirky housewares from around the world, one country at a time — vaulted from cherished destination of a few to the kind of place Jasper Morrison, London's best-known everyday-object apologist, feels obliged to check out when he’s rolling through town. But while the 4-year-old Soho shop has begun to shed its air of secrecy, it has never lost its charm. Climbing a set of graffiti-covered stairs to its second-floor entrance, you never know what you’re going to find at the top.
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