Why did you open ELEV8?
I was an indie designer trying to get my stuff sold in various stores on Melrose and online and I wanted to open a store where it would be easy for up-and-coming designers to showcase their work. I opened ELEV8 almost five years ago, first in Covina, California, and then moved to Long Beach two and a half years ago.
What’s selling particularly well right now?
Some best sellers are the hand made jewelry from local artists and the Lady of Guadalupe tee which is one of my first designs and means a lot to me.
What trends are you preparing for, just around the corner?
Trends that are appealing to our general consumer are very English and grunge, a lot of Doc Martens meets relaxed and earthy, almost like a bohemian rock star.
When do you buy and where do you find new names?
My buying philosophy is to purchase what everyone loves. I buy from trade shows and, equally, from sample sales. I can offer one of a kinds as well as indie lines that deserve to be seen.
You recently opened a shoe store. Tell us about it.
Mint Shoe Boutique is something that was totally unexpected. We recently opened it up three weeks ago, starting with a thought that manifested into reality. My gal pal Val and longtime friend, since the seventh grade, had a salon in that location. She wanted to move her salon to Pasadena to be nearer to her home but she didn’t want to lose the space so randomly, not knowing anything about shoes, she said, “Hey, ya wanna open up a shoe boutique?” And, three weeks later, here’s Mint.
The retail environment has picked up. We have seen a rise in terms of general walk-ins, sales have increased and overall support and admiration of non mainstream businesses has become the new cool thing. Let’s hope it stays this way.
What is most important to you at the end of the day?
ELEV8 is big on supporting local businesses. We constantly encourage our regulars, family and friends to shop from other local businesses like ours. We may not have the stock that they have so we refer our customers to others, a lot actually.