When we first opened our doors in April of 2013, I would have never thought that four years later, Prism Boutique would be would be over three times its original size. After ten years at Urban Outfitters Inc., I took the leap, left the corporate world, and opened a 600 square foot boutique on a small side street in Long Beach. We were in a pretty sleepy part of town and I worried if anyone would find us, but they did -- and my big leap turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made.
The space had big windows, high ceilings, original concrete flooring, and lots of character, but the 1930’s era building was old and needed a ton of work. My husband, Vince, did most of the labor (thanks, baby!) and together with the help of Emily Formentini, a visual artist I worked with Anthropologie, we transformed the space into a beautiful, bright space that I had always dreamed of. I loved the simplicity of the big, white walls a against all the beautiful clothes and products I was selling, and we stood apart from the other boutiques because of our aesthetic and the stunning window displays. The 10-foot weaving that hung from found driftwood and teepee-inspired fitting rooms that Emily created are still in our boutique today.
We were quickly outgrowing our space in a serious way, so when the storefront next to ours came up for rent two and a half years later, I jumped on it right away. We demo’d through two ceilings to expose the original wood beams, and connected the spaces with two large openings just in time for Small Business Saturday. Lora Ellingson, who I also worked with at Anthro joined Emily to create custom shelving, racks and displays with natural wood and copper to keep everything consistent.
Even through our new expansion gave us 1400 square feet for our products, larger events and a bigger staff, our back room storage and workspace was still very limited. When I learned the nail salon that had been next door for the last twenty years was moving, I had to think long and hard about it - three remodels in four and a half years is a lot! This would put Prism on the corner of the way busier 4th St, but this space needed even more work than the other two. It was a big project (and gave me some wrinkles) but it was completed in three months and transformed the boutique magically! The store is now quite big (around 1900 square feet), with tons of big windows and looked like it was always meant to be that way.
We are still working on all the details, but I couldn’t be more in love with the way it turned out. The natural light, exposed roof ceiling, and my cactus garden along the window of 4th street are so good! I would have a vision of what I wanted the space to look like, and Lorem (Emily and Lora’s new company) would bring it to life before my eyes. We also built a new back room so it’s a better work environment for my employees and more space for all the work we need to do for the boutique and online store. When we opened the third space, the whole set up of the boutique changed - our register moved and pretty much everything else! I’m happy it’s over and now we can just work in making the store beautiful and a sanctuary away from reality for our lovely customers.
Working with local artists and brands and bringing the community together was always a dream of mine, and now we finally have the space to do it. I also wanted to bring in more home goods and local vendors, and we’ve welcomed tons of new brands - including candles, ceramics, apothecary, textiles, books and more - in our big, beautiful shelves.
I hope you all enjoy the store as much as I do. Nothing makes me happier than seeing customers faces come in with a smile on their face and say “I want everything!” I’ve known since I was a little girl that I wanted my own store, so it’s truly a dream come true. Thank you for supporting my business and hope to see you in the shop soon!