With enough money and a growing business, the timing was right for eco-friendly brand and retailer Whimsy + Row to open its first standalone store.
The company inked a deal for a 3,500-square-foot space on Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles, with about half allocated to a store and the rest serving as an office and warehouse.
“My whole idea for this storefront is to really bring our community in and I want it to be a place to talk about sustainability and make it an easier thing to accomplish,” founder Rachel Temko said. “I have gotten a lot of feedback from people who say, ‘I want to be sustainable but it’s really hard.’ It’s not as affordable either, so we’re really trying to keep everything under $200.”
The company, which employs a team of about seven part-time staff in addition to Temko, previously set up shop for nearly three years out of a shared retail space called Mar Vista Art Dept.
“I started there as a holiday pop-up and it was a great outlet for us to connect with customers and for people to try on the brand,” Temko said. “It’s about four blocks up the street, which is why this [new] space worked perfectly for us. Our customers are already in the area.”
Temko initially began Whimsy + Row as a mobile boutique, holding pop-ups and other events. Around 2016 she began making her own clothing under the Whimsy + Row label to fill various gaps in the sustainable space, with the line now in nearly 35 stores, mostly on the West Coast. The company pulled in a silent angel investor when it branched into its own apparel but has otherwise been self-funded to date.
The recently opened store is a reflection of how the business has developed over time with a mix of both the Whimsy + Row line plus about 40 percent of the assortment comprised of third-party brands such as Nisolo, WKNDLA, Baggu, Norden and Rootfoot.