While the COVID-19 epidemic remains a challenge in retail, businesses have reopened and are trying to resume business as usual. Independent retailers that were initially hit the hardest have recovered and been successful in various ways, whether through online sales or by a dedicated and loyal customer base. While business is run a little differently these days with the increase in online and digital sales, Los Angeles downtown retailers are successfully navigating the new routine as they learn to adapt on the go.
216 E. 9th St.
Tucked around the corner from Los Angeles Fashion District Cooper Space Design he VirgoName Owner, designer and buyer Renee Shawar has been selling vintage clothing in addition to her creations for more than a decade.
Shuar has been involved in the fashion industry for years, from her family, which is engaged in manufacturing, until the end of Fashion Institute for Design and Merchandise And work for other people. Virgo opened in November 2009 and carried exclusively vintage styles of men and women. The store has moved to contain a bit of trends but it is rooted in vintage, where it is a well-known destination for its vintage Levi’s Collection and original vintage band shirts.
“It’s mostly of women now, but at the same time if it suits you and looks good to you then go for it,” Shawar said. “We are not really exclusive to any gender, and vintage is very unisex anyway. It’s like a mixed bag between someone who can range from his 501 vintage to a summer dress to something like an oversized suit.”
Shawar also designs a collection each season with inspiration that comes from everything she feels at the time, like a restored vintage or her linen line, which she launched in 2021. Sustainability is its core, and it reflects those values in commodity. Prices in the store range from $ 12 for accessories to $ 350 for Levi’s 501 discussing a single seam with the large E desired on the tab. Shawar also offers sewing in a store for vintage jeans.
“Easy sewing is offered with any pair of jeans – it’s included in the price. I think it’s extra [touch] Makes customers feel good. It’s tailored to their body, and it’s something we wanted to provide. The jeans are not often perfect, so that’s what we’re trying to provide – the perfect pair of jeans, “said Shawar.
The store currently has a site under construction but is being sold on Instagram And other social media through direct messages. Shawar said social selling was important during the epidemic and allowed the store to provide the customer service where it is known digitally.
Although the store has been open for over a decade, new customers are always coming across it due to its unpretentious location. A large portion of the clientele includes stylists and others who work in the neighborhood’s showrooms, and usually shop during lunch breaks.
“It’s quite fun to have this youth with people who just discover us, and we have people who shop here since high school who then went to college and then get married and we have this history with our clients and it makes us feel really good,” Shawar said.
111 E. 9th St.
Pamela Wilches ran her boutique, Pamela VAt DTLA since 2019. After spending time in the TV industry and working in showrooms, Wilches was inspired by her mother, who owned a boutique in Santi Alley for 20 years, to return to her roots and open her own store.
The store sells a combination of clothing, jewelry, accessories and home decor items, and at the same time is also home to Vilchez’s own bag line, which it sells both wholesale and retail. Accessories cost between $ 8 and $ 12, while bags stand at $ 200 to $ 300. The products are handmade and made in Peru with the same group of artisans who have been working with Wilches’ family for years.
When the plague struck, Wilches was forced to close the store for five months, but continued to sell its products online by bringing the items home, taking photos and advertising on websites and social media. It offered a delivery service for unloading products at customers’ doors after purchase.
“I have a customer who bought throughout the plague and to this day everything is through Instagram,” Wilches said. “She’s one of my best customers, and yet she’s never been to the store personally because of the plague. When I post something or make a video of products it’s how she buys.”
The crochet and bright colors have been selling well lately in addition to the fanny packs Wilches has been making since the epidemic began. She noted that she has also seen the evil eye design everywhere in clothing and jewelry.
“We sold a lot of fanny packs. I make bags, but during the plague I thought people did not carry so many bags. I felt women needed their hands to deal with masks and disinfectants and such and not deal with big, bulky bags. I still sell fan packs, and they certainly are. There were bestsellers, “Wilches said.
Wilches noted that even these days she is gaining customers who remember her mother’s boutique. “I have customers who come in and say they used to go to my mom’s store when they were 12 and now they’s in their thirties. They mention how much they loved the handmade products and how my mom inspired them to even open their own stores,” Wilches said.
113 E 8th St.
Since 2014, Pskaufman… Provided “Happy New YearGreat shoes for stylish individuals “in downtown Los Angeles, which bring fun and unique footwear that allows a person to look and feel cool over time.
Paul Kaufman, owner and designer at pskaufman …, founded the brand in 2010 and had previous success as one of the owners of NaNaWho was one of the first retailers to bring Dr. Martens To the US from England. With a background in design but not specific to anything in particular, Kaufman became enthusiastic about the shoe manufacturing process after touring the factory and saw that it incorporates many different aspects he is interested in like sculpture and even chemistry.
As the brand continued to grow, it eventually grew out of its original space – Kaufman’s home in Santa Monica. Downtown Los Angeles was a perfect location because the area was crowded at the time and was a central location for many different areas of Los Angeles.
“It seems like a great location where you’re not too far from anyone, whether it’s Pasadena or the San Gabriel Valley or even the coastal towns. Nothing was more than half an hour, so it made perfect sense for us,” Kaufman said.
The store offers a wide range of men’s and women’s shoes, from shoes to boots in a variety of styles and heights. Kaufman also offers customizable options, all in-store, such as adding different outer soles and different-colored finishes, allowing the customer to have a unique product. It uses materials like recycled tires and other recycled materials to create the look and adjustments available.
Kaufman mentioned that he does not interfere too much in trends because he produces shoes that are supposed to last a long time and can be repaired if necessary, but he admits that he does have to sell shoes to stay in business. He follows his instincts and creates what he believes is appropriate for both what he loves and what he thinks other people will love. He said he wants the brand to represent something beyond shoe production and believes that if the brand is able to make an economic, cultural and environmental impact then it is doing something positive.
“We spend a lot of time making sure the shoes fit properly. We really do it from the old school. We do not have a scanner to find someone’s foot shape or anything, but we spend a lot of time online, on phone calls and in the store to make sure the fit is correct. Obviously. “It ensures a satisfied foot, which makes a customer happy and perhaps a nicer person,” Kaufman said. “My goal is to create an amazing product at a very fair price. Something that is irresistible in terms of design and functionality, something that will last a long time and can be repaired.”