With Black Friday just around the corner, you're probably already stressing out about your holiday gift list. Sure you could get your aunt another reindeer scarf, your best friend a mug with antlers, and maybe your husband actually could use another tie… but do you really want to step foot in those department stores? Wait…do you even want to try to park at those department stores?
There's a solution! The latest trend in gift shopping this season comes in the form of pop-up stores. Small retail spaces that have literally popped-up around LA for a limited time – ready to serve, indulge and redefine your idea of holiday shopping. Because these stores are able to rent their retail space at a fraction of the cost (filling unused retail space) they often can offer their items at prices that are easy on the budget. And oh, what items they have. The very nature of these "indie" boutiques means you will find well-edited, gorgeous, and unique gifts you just won't find at any of the big boys.
Here is a list of some of our fave "Pop-Ups" we discovered this season:
8377 West 3rd Street (@ Orlando)
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Innovative Retailer and celebrity home stylist, Tara Riceberg, is the genius behind Tweak 99 a "Value Smart Design gift boutique." She has curated a tight but varied selection of smart, affordable, functional and FUN items that takes the chore out of gifting. You can make your own gift cards in the craft studio behind the store and she even has a section of "secret" $25 "White Elephant" gifts (perfect for Secret Santa in the office!) And to make it all even easier - everything comes pre-wrapped. Shopping in this store is so much fun because Riceberg actually encourages you to touch, feel and grope the products. Tweak 99 offers useful and distinctive gifts for absolutely everyone on your list.
My vote for her best item? The Sun Brella – a UV protective parasol that fashionably protects you from the daily sun (think about all of delicate skin from photo facials here in LA).
Zero Minus Plus
Santa Monica, CA 90401
The Zero Minus Plus space @ Fred Segal Santa Monica is a "Celebration of hands, hearts and minds." The owner, Daralyn Kahn, has been supporting individual artists, fair trade, and eco-friendly products since 1985. Even though this is a space within a retail store, its changing "installations" (space in front of the store dedicated to showcasing a specific artist's work) and the ever-evolving theme of the stock qualify it for Pop-Up status. Handmade Bowls, metalwork, one-of-a-kind artisan jewelry – Zero Minus Plus is filled with unique, thoughtful and innovative gifts for friends, hosts, and every member of your family. My favorite item? I LOVE the little solar powered Sun and Moon Jars (http://www.zerominusplus.com/sunjar.html) they remind me of catching fireflies in summertime. So serene….
Alexandra St. Clair
8207 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Open till the end of the year.
This jewelry store pop-up is a father/daughter venture owned by George J. Chanos, the former Attorney General of Nevada. Offering one-of-a-kind and limited edition jewelry, Alexandra St. Clair (named for his 13 year old daughter) combines base and/or precious metals, Czech crystals, semi-precious stones, exotic materials and rare artifacts from around the world to create statement pieces. They even serve up a make-your-own beading bar chock full of these gorgeous trinkets from all over. You can make your own mother/daughter bracelets, friendship bracelets, or just something really unique that makes a statement to someone you love.
R & G Collective
11981 San Vicente Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Open through the end of November.
Life-long friends, Hollywood art designer and set decorator, Wendy Riva and Andrea Gibbin, opened this gorgeous little interior design gem in Brentwood in October. R & G Collective is stocked with eye-popping suzani throws, inviting leather poufs, and sumptuous inlaid tables from far flung places like Syria and Morocco. The collection is fleshed out with Riva and Gibbin's own gorgeous and simple design pieces – creating a retail space that is brimming with character and style. Gift ideas range from $7 Moroccan tea glasses, to $125 throw pillows, to $425 Egyptian lighting and beyond.
1306 Abbot Kinney
Open till @ December 5th
Stefanie Gelinas opened this pop-up store in April as a limited time retail space for her amazine on-line store. Gelinas prides herself on offering unique pieces, accents and accessories by designers you won't find anywhere else. Check it out quick!
724 1/2 Silverlake Boulevard (between Effie Street and Easterly Terrace)
Los Angeles, California
Owner Larry Schaffer, a long-time Silverlake resident, opened this Pop-Up outpost of his popular third street store in April. While this space pushes the "Pop" in "Pop-up" (it's only open for one year – closing in April 2011), this store has well-chosen, diverse, and beautifully made gifts for women and men - they even have an assortment of gifts for kids. After "popping-in" I bought an Austrian snow globe (the kind with LOTS of snow!), Jax for my daughter, and a simple brown pottery bud vase for myself. They also carry beautiful jewelry by Los Angeles based designers. My favorite item was an old-fashioned looking cast-iron monkey bottle opener. I bought one for my brother-in-law too (shhh! Don't tell him).
BONUS SAVINGS TIP:
As if you needed a little extra incentive to shop off the beaten path, American Express is offering a $25 credit to Amex holders on your credit card statement if you shop at one of their qualifying small businesses on Saturday, November 27th. Just "Like" their Facebook page (every "Like" earns $1 – up to $500,000 to support Girls, Inc. a non-profit organization helping to teach young girls to turn into the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. How great is that!) Click Here, then follow the link on their Fan Page to Enroll and register for "Small Business Saturday." It's that easy.
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