The Mar Vista Small Business Pop-Up and an entrepreneurial jeweler await Saturday shoppers
By Michael Aushenker
When Black Friday gives way to Small Business Saturday, the pop-ups will be waiting.
At the inaugural Mar Vista Small Business Pop-Up, a shopper receives a map of 38 participating merchants along Venice Boulevard. The more stores one shops at, the more stamps on one’s map. Each stamp grants the shopper a raffle ticket for prizes donated by local small businesses.
Participating merchants include Surfing Cowboys, Earl’s Gourmet Grub, Venice Grind, National Council of Jewish Women Thrift Store, Nitespa, Lipstic, The Vanity Room, Shaper Supply and Buckwild Gallery.
The route, from Beethoven Street to Inglewood Boulevard, highlights the stretch of Venice Boulevard targeted for improvements under Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets program, an experiment in “urban acupuncture” that aims to boost neighborhoods by creating more attractive and walkable streets.
“This is a real opportunity to grow the brick-and-mortar,” said Sarah Auerswald, president of Mar Vista Chamber of Commerce, which officially formed in September.
Like the mayor, the chamber is also encouraging shoppers to use alternative transportation.
“You get extra points in the raffle for riding a bike,” Auerswald said.
In anticipation of its ice cream store moving into Mar Vista next year, Sweet Lucie’s will have a truck on hand — as will Coffee Connection, which is offering free coffee.
“Do your big shopping on [Black] Friday but come and shop local on Saturday,” Auerswald said.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Crowe is spinning some jewelry-industry pushback into a positive with her own multi-artisan pop-up shop on Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
“Being rejected from five popular holiday art festivals drove me to open my own curated ‘pop up’,” said Crowe, founder of Taisteal Jewelry.
Crowe, whose retail resume includes Macy’s, the Getty Villa’s bookstore and The Bead Lounge in Woodland Hills, combined her sales experience, art history degree and a long-dormant talent for jewelry making to launch her small business.
After working at Crafted, a San Pedro crafts emporium created by the developers of Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station, Crowe settled on the name for her company (pronounced tahsh-tuhl, the Irish word for “travel”) because she and husband James Crowe, a television editor for “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” are frequent travelers. In fact, it was on a sleepless night in Belarus that
“I grabbed my iPad and started typing up ideas for my business,” she said.
In addition to Crowe, other vendors at her pop-up include Teresa Cheung’s TCLA (leather handbags/apparel), Mia Angela (handcrafted belts), Sayde Davenport (gemstone jewelry), Jessica Lynn Woodson (watercolors/prints), Isabel Iny (hand-crocheted jewelry), Julio Santiago’s Santiago Knits (hand-loomed knitwear), Jenn Romero’s Unurth (ceramic wares) , and Crowe’s husband ’s Panoramic Photography.
Crowe believes her product line’s aesthetic fits Venice perfectly.
“Every time I go there, there’s just kind of this great community vibe,” she said. “Everyone on the sidewalk is open. You can spend the day there wandering in and out of shops, grabbing something to eat. It’s this really warm feeling.”
The Mar Vista Small Business Pop-Up runs from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Visit the Mar Vista Chamber’s booth at Venice and Centinela Boulevards or any participating store for maps. marvistachamber.com
Crowe’s pop-up runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and continues through Dec. 23 (Dec. 5 and 6 excepted) at 1306 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice.
Call (818) 746-7273 or visit taistealjewelry.com.