Intentional purchases | Business | argonautnews.com

A female-owned, community-minded collective brings vintage adornments to Venice Beach

The definition of the word ‘adorn’ is ‘to make more beautiful or attractive’, but for Adorned Vintage & Handmade founder Nichole Katsikas it means much more than that.

“The word ornate comes from the concept that dressing should be intentional and should reflect who you are and it should be magical,” Katsikas said, noting her Greek heritage and a tradition of adornment that is “aesthetic and spiritual as much as functional”.

With this in mind, Katsikas embarked on his journey to create Adorned, the vintage brick-and-mortar collective on Venice’s Westminster block.

Inspired by her experience with Seven Wonders Collective in Brooklyn, Katsikas yearned for the kind of supportive community in Los Angeles that she had first encountered in New York. She had invested in shared rent with a rack of her own label, Lola Mayy Vintage, while working full-time as a producer for The RealReal, but yearned for a creative outlet and to work for herself.

“I felt so alone and so lost, it was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Katsikas said. “My whole life has changed and it’s so much more aligned with who I am.”

The changes came fast and furious after Katsikas quit her full-time job in December 2019 to focus more on her business and the collective. Their most lucrative month of February 2020 was followed by COVID shutdowns, and although they were able to renegotiate a short-term lease, Katsikas and his partner decided to head west in September, deliberately avoiding passing. the pandemic in New York.

They packed up their Mini Cooper and pit bull and traveled the country during the pandemic, sourcing and collecting vintage clothing and accessories, a passion Katsikas had had since age 13 that had also become her goal of career.

Within two weeks of arriving in Los Angeles, Katsikas found the perfect place to sell her collection: a 1960s Airstream on Lincoln Avenue as part of the Love Shack.

She rented it out for three months, and while the first two months were fine, the second wave of the pandemic hit in October 2022, so she went back to the drawing board and turned her garage into a living room. exhibition open on weekends.

“I met so many people there, that’s where I started meeting the LA community,” Katsikas said. “There I was able to meet other women and understand what I was doing. Even though it was very different, it was something that really interested and intrigued people.

Although Katsikas worried that the idea of ​​a collective was too rooted in “a certain do-it-yourself attitude in Brooklyn, a New York bustle mentality” that might not sit so easily in Los Angeles, she began to talk about the idea in person and on Instagram, and people were receptive.

The concept works like this: a vintage brand owner pays $600 for each rack or $1,050 for two racks, and they work a few shifts a week with the other business owners who rent workspace on other days. .

“They can have their clothes in the store and experience brick-and-mortar inventory, community, and restocking,” Katsikas said. “We take care of each other.”

And their Instagram account (@orned.collective) also works cooperatively. When someone works a shift, they post from their individual business page and adorn themselves, so the feed contains everything posted in the store and subscribers can click through to individual profiles.

“It’s back and forth,” Katsikas said. “It’s really a way for us to help the store grow and help individual businesses at the same time.”

Katsikas got the keys to the space on a Thursday and opened on a Saturday in August 2021 with three businesses as part of the collective, and it has grown ever since. In addition to Lola Mayy, brands currently featured at Adorned include Poolside Venice (which has been part of the collective since the beginning), BKLN Affair, The Gentle Witch, Creme de la Soul, Picky Jane, Green Room Circuit, Wood Poppy and Fonds d special assignment 21.

Adorned is a testament to Katsikas’ belief that “vintage should be for everyone”. Most of the clothes in the store are between $50 and $100.

“What I hear from a lot of people is that there aren’t a lot of mid-priced, well-curated vintages,” Katsikas said. “It’s a lot of vintage or high-end stuff, overdone, not accessible.”

He is often told that the clothes are in great condition and reasonably priced.

“One of the things that honestly never gets old, every time I’m there I always ask if people have been there and I’ve probably heard 20 people say it’s their favorite store,” said Katsikas. “They come all the time knowing that there will always be something new. People say it’s so boring to go shopping when everything is the same, as it is often to buy new clothes, to be stuffed with trends.

Katsikas called the kind of shopping people do at Adorned “intentional shopping,” when “they’re more concerned with finding a really special piece that won’t be worn by everyone.”

One of her intentional buyers looking for special pieces is iconic fashion designer Betsey Johnson, whose new collections are often inspired by vintage clothing. They opened Adorned for Johnson on a day off, and she dropped several thousand dollars, telling Katsikas, “This is the most exciting store I’ve been to in years. You saved my fall collection. .”

In addition to shoppers, Adorned benefited May Mendoza, aka the seamstress of Venice, known for appearing on the boardwalk with solar panels and a sewing machine. Now she appears at Adorned once a week, giving her a base for drop-offs and pickups, while benefiting Adorned shoppers and bringing her customers to the store.

“It’s very much a community place and that’s always been the vision,” Katsikas said, adding that in addition to being a place to shop, Adorned has hosted moon circles, meditation and intention circles, a tapping protest event and an Earth Day celebration. , among others.

“I have a Taurus moon, so home is really important to me,” Katsikas said. “Getting others to use the space is so easy for me.”

And that seems appropriate, given the history of the Westminster bloc, which today is entirely made up of women-owned businesses. Years ago, a vegan cafe stood in the space now occupied by Adorned, an eclectic venue decorated as a sanctuary of goodwill and run by a woman known as Venus of Venice.

“It was a community place run by a powerful woman,” Katsikas said. “We have a long line of women-owned businesses and I think it’s really special to continue that.”

Vintage ornate and handmade

300 Westminster Avenue, Venice

781-831-5577

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