Los Angeles, CA
($$) Mid-Range - ($$$) High-End
Kristan Cunningham & Scott Jarrell
When interior designer and TV personality Kristan Cunningham and her partner, Scott Jarrell, found themselves between projects, they decided to move up their plans for opening a store by, oh, 30 years or so. While they had always thought they'd open their own store in their golden years, the couple saw an opportunity to join the community in the Arts District of DTLA and jumped at it.
Name/Title: Kristan Cunningham and Scott Jarrell/Owners
Open date: March 15, 2013
Inspiration for opening: We've lived in the Arts District of DTLA for several years and have watched our neighborhood grow and change and become a true destination right before our eyes, all while fighting fiercely to maintain its sense of authenticity. It's a community that looks out for its own and our neighbors support each other, as well as one another's businesses, unconditionally. Being part of that - during this exciting shift - was something we knew we had to jump into or we'd forever regret it. We always thought of opening a shop as our retirement plan, but we were in between TV projects and feeling less than fulfilled with that side of our work. We looked at each other on an average day and said, "What are we waiting for? Why are we putting off doing what we're passionate about while we still have the energy to go at it, balls to the wall?"
Merchandise source: We're from West Virginia, where Scott's parents still live, and KC's parents are in GA. During the holidays, as well as once or twice throughout the year, we make the drive from one set of parents to the other, trekking off the highway everywhere in between the two. Our most special, one-of-a-kind pieces come from road trips like this. We also get up at three or 4 in the morning, several times a week and most weekends, to drive to estate sales, ranches, barns, hotel liquidations - you name it. We supplement those scavenger hunts with auctions, as well as leads we get from buyers that we work with (2 buyers, to be exact). As a couple, we approach our buying for the shop the same way we approach designing our own homes together: nothing comes into either of the two if we don't both love it.
Best selling item: Allegheny Treenware is a line of handmade wood goods out of Northern West Virginia, designed and crafted by Stan and Sue Jennings, ex-coal miners who left the industry to pursue their passion. We've been purchasing the line, one spoon, scoop or butter dish at a time, each visit home over the last 16 years. The second we said out loud to each other that we wanted to develop a shop, we followed it up by saying "We'll carry Sue's spoons!" I thought we'd gone overboard with our first order, but opening night alone we sold through 75% of our inventory. We're placing order number 2, less than 2 weeks after opening, and are thrilled that nearly every customer has walked out of our shop with one of Stan and Sue's beautiful pieces.
Your favorite item: Scott: The set of 4 Sculpta Star Trek Chairs by Chromcraft. (We have the matching table as well.)
KC: The vintage Trebol marble and glass apothecary scale, Made in Argentina circa 1920.
Favorite store (other than your own): Venice: Tortoise on Abbott Kinney; Los Angeles: Garde on Beverly
(Images: Alen Lin and Ray Kachatorian)