I Didn't End Up On Abbot Kinney Blvd, Abbot Kinney Blvd Ended Up On Me
The top three questions I'm asked are,
"Do you make your own products?"
"Can I get a discount?"
and "Are you hiring?"
Yes. No. And maybe if you're cheap. But the fourth question I'm asked the most is "How did you end up on the illustrious Abbot Kinney Boulevard?"
Let's begin with this, Venice Beach doesn't start and end at the boardwalk. Obviously, the mile and a half sideshow of novelty tee shirt shops and street performers is the heartbeat of our little world but it pumps plenty of life into the adjacent streets, avenues and boulevards.
My shop resides about three blocks up from the water on the street named after the founder of Venice Beach, Abbot Kinney Boulevard. We've been here since 1997, but not always in the same spot. What many people do not know is that originally, my store was down the street and where we are now was my place of residence.
I don't mean to sound like I'm shaking my cane at the sky, but back then the neighborhood ratio of gypsy flophouses to 5-star restaurants was 20:0 and the overall vibe, as you could imagine, was more street carnival than commercial retail. Most of the houses, including ours, were built in the mid-1920s and didn't mind showing their age through chipped paint, rotting wood, and overall layout and ours was no different back then.
The main house was only about 1000 square feet but the back doors opened up to a small yard that was blocked off like a courtyard by a detached garage, and a stand-alone room that can only be described as slightly larger than a cubicle (pictured below as seen today) and I lived there with my boyfriend, two dogs, and three cats.
After three years of having a 50-yard work commute, I decided to make it even shorter and converted the main house into the store. This, of course, meant our kitchen, bedroom, dining room, and living room were now all showrooms and my cumbersome family of seven was forced to sleep in the hut (here's a closer look inside - again of how it looks today)
At that time the street still wasn't built up like it is now. The day we moved the store there was a drive-by shooting outside our door which, as you can imagine, makes it difficult to attract much foot traffic. However, slowly but surely over the course of the next few years, well-known businesses began to move in. The street became cooler, which attracted cooler people which attracted tourist who all brought business.
Rule of thumb to the young entrepreneurs out there - Never complain about too much business. Feel free, however, to grumble as much as you want when a customer ignores the "CLOSED" sign and walks into your store/living room while you're taking a shower and you have to poke your lathered up scalp out of the door to politely explain your hours of operation. This was happening a bit too often so we decided it was time to make home base an actual house, and it didn't take us long to settle into the perfect one for us.
**The front porch and kitchen of my house**
When people see pictures of my home, whether they be on Instagram in magazines, they always assume I live in a cottage on the beach and I get that because that's the aesthetic of my store and my brand and that's why I'm always so excited to tell them I live in Inglewood, CA.
Yes, our vibe at Tumbleweed is Venice Beach Cellar Style but what goes along with that whole mentality is that it CAN BE APPLIED ANYWHERE and to ANYTHING! Whether that be the van you take on a roadtrip through middle America, your studio apartment in a landlocked state, or a humble, one-story house in South Western Los Angeles.
Let this be a reminder to anyone reading that where you live should be an expression of your inner self, and if you can achieve that, I promise you...you'll wake up to beauty every morning.