22 Oct Magical Merchandiser
“If we are together, nothing is impossible.” – Winston Churchill
When I walked into my Motor Avenue store on October 1, my socks were blown right off, reminiscent of the Wicked Witch of the East and her Ruby Slippers. I have to say that I think our windows are always inspired, fun and whimsical. But this one was really something else. It incorporated all of the elements that we strive to convey to the many people passing our very funky, out of the way shop, tucked into a corner of a major thoroughfare halfway between Fox and Sony Studios. This display is multi layered, incorporating the spirit of Halloween in a sophisticated way, that has a taste of everything we do: beauty, shiny, vintage, hand made, chic and unexpected. A story is created packing in the perfect pieces but with a delicate eye. I am very proud and so, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to tell the story of how Deb met Jess.
When Anthroplogie first opened in Beverly Hills, my kids were little. In fact, I don’t think that Rose was even born yet. (Jess’ elephant memory reminded me she wasn’t). We would stroll in on Sundays and I would do my Market Research and indulge in some retail therapy. There was a manager there that always helped me and engaged my kids. She was kind, helpful, and somehow felt familiar. As my business and family grew, I was desperate for a great assistant that had all of the talents I needed to help run the back end and deal with the complexities of an ever evolving entrepreneurial company. I was losing a current employee due to a relocation and she gave me a number to call.
At this point, I had three small children and took to interviewing prospective employees at our little cottage in Bendedict Canyon. As I opened the door, that Sunday in July, there stood before me Jessica Young. The very same familiar wonderful young lady that had helped me so often, always knowing my style and sensibilities. It was kismet. Jess had just finished a run of work at Conde Nast, and had done the client gifts and visual installations for the Los Angeles branch of the now defunct Domino Magazine. After catching up and showing her the direction my company was moving in, we instantly clicked just like we had years before. She started the next day at my former studio downtown.
It turns out that we had an eerie amount in common. Jess was an actor with a theater degree, so was I. She had a passion for all things beautiful, so did I. And she was familiar with the ins and outs of the gift business having managed and merchandised at Anthropologie, The Gap, as well as flipping showrooms with Birds Eye View at the LA Mart. She was scrappy, a multi-tasker and FUNNY, oh boy little did I know just how funny. I hired her right away, at first part time. Just two weeks later, she was full time at full kilt. That was over seven years ago. In those years, JESS HAS BEEN MY RIGHT AND LEFT HAND, MY FRIEND, AND AT TIMES, MY CONFIDANT. I COULDN’T ASK FOR A BETTER PARTNER, or more talented comrade to spend my work days with and share in my victories and my set backs.
I have been blessed to share a room and break bread on our many adventures and travels to New York, Atlanta, Paris and China as we scout for the next great thing at both Tradeshows and while hunting for vintage treasures. I have seen her talent in action at I.O. West over the years, my favorite group being The Kind Strangers. I have had the pleasure of watching her grow and perform as a stand up comedienne. I have been witness to the magic she puts together in our stores and the way that her laughter infects not only my children, but all of our loyal customers. I have watched her fall in love and on her journey to marrying the man of her dreams. I have been the recipient of gifts that I never want to open because her flair for wrapping is worthy of a Parisian atelier. I have received as well as hired Jess to create her one of a kind handmade invitations. I am excited to see this most wonderful emerging writer and talent soar. Thank you Jess, for this seven year adventure that continues to blossom each and every day.