B: So when he got the job in LA, were you just like “This is what I’m going to do!"?
J: Initially I thought, let me work for a couple of years and then I’ll do this. And then there was also the “If I work for a couple years, I’ll get comfortable and I’ll never do it.” So I just kind of threw myself at it and Joe [her husband] was really supportive so that helped a lot. I keep going because of the one-on-one that I can only get through this store: with the customer, which is great, and there are the people that you meet that own the brands. They are ridiculous… so talented and so driven.
B: You get to be in that creative world with them.
J: For example that crocheted top *points to swimsuit* it’s a brand called Entreaguas. The founder hires women who are coming out of the jail system so they have something in their résumé that’s recent. It’s a 26 year-old girl and she started it when she was 22 or 23 and still in school. So you get that from a lot of the brands here: they all have that one passion. They’re really supportive of a cause.
B: I notice that you also have 31 Bits, and that’s a cause driven brand.
J: All the brands here I know through family or friends or just through being Colombian, and other brands you have to do research on, but they all have something. Some sort of cause that they’re supporting.
B: Oh I love that even more. So walk me through the search…what was the first thing that you did after you decided to open the store?
J: I was looking from Santa Monica to Los Feliz and everything in between! First of all, I didn’t know LA so I did a lot of driving and getting out and walking through the streets and getting a feel for people. I knew the kind of neighborhood I needed to be in. I tried getting a real estate agent but no one was willing to work within the square footage I needed because I needed too small of a space. So then I just drove around and found for-lease signs -- it took me like three months the first time around to find a place. Everyday. Just driving and looking.
B: It’s almost like apartment hunting!
J: Yes! I need to make sure the neighbors are not horrible *laughs* and in a good area and you want an area that’s like, up and coming enough. It wouldn’t make sense, something that’s too established. If people are walking from the very well-known stores to the little boutique it wouldn't make sense…it needs to be around people who are interested in something unique and that usually won’t happen in the very established areas.