IN STOCK is a feature where we highlight one of our #pfstockists, learning all about the shop, its inspiration & how P.F. Candle Co. fits on the shelves.
For our latest edition, we head to Silverlake, California’s LA County Store to meet the woman behind it all, MaryAnne LoVerme! Keep reading to learn a little shop history, hear some of the owner’s best business advice, and how she makes the in-store experience special.
A bit about the owner...
MaryAnne grew up in Brooklyn before calling LA home. She calls herself a huge film buff, and, at any time, is probably fostering some rescue animals at home. Before opening Los Angeles County Store, she was a Spanish teacher and ran a jewelry company at the same time. These days, she's reading Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad and Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, and visits pretty spots like the Huntington Library when she can. She's basically the coolest ever.
Hi MaryAnne! Tell me about the shop!
Los Angeles County Store opened in May 2014. The main mission since opening has been to create a place where someone could find a gift or souvenir that is made in Los Angeles, and the mirror of that is the mission to support the people who are making amazing things in Los Angeles. Los Angeles is chock-full of wonderful shops I adore, but I wanted to make it easy for shoppers who, like myself, are interested in what is being made locally. It’s how I like to shop, especially when I travel. I want to bring back something that is truly of the place.
Opening a shop with such a mission is hard work. Can you describe the opening day?
The day before we opened I had the biggest anxiety attack I've ever had. I had to go home and lie down, overwhelmed by the huge responsibility I had taken on. I pulled myself together, though, with help from a Manhattan and a wonderful bartender at Jay’s Bar. The next day we opened with an amazing party where we sold lots of things!
What advice do you have for those looking to open a shop or start a business?
My number one recommendation is to be frugal where you can but splurge where you must. For me, that meant hiring an accountant immediately, because I knew I needed support in that aspect of the business. But we do marketing and PR in-house, since I had practice doing that when I worked on events with my Etsy team. I also got a lot of free advice from an organization called SCORE that pairs you with a mentor who works with you as an advisor. I would definitely recommend taking advantage of that resource.
Once your shop is open, make sure everyone feels welcome. We greet every person who walks in the door -- often with a drink or a snack -- and are happy to offer as much shopping assistance is they require. Essentially, I see having a shop as being in the hospitality industry.
Do have any favorite items in the shop currently?
I am a plant assassin, so I really appreciate the faux foliage by We Felt Things (who also makes adorable monsters) and Felt Flanerie (whose taco rattles are crazy cute). Come to think of it, our window right now is filled with felt molotov cocktails by artist Billy Kheel. I guess I have a felt fetish.
I also love Emily Hillburg’s saucy painted ceramics, like her prim vintage teacups that say “I Slay.” Pretty Suds Soap Company makes a custom soap for us that she wraps in wildflower paper, so it’s two gifts in one: wash with the soap, plant the wrapper and get flowers! One of the great things about working exclusively with local makers is that they often humor my product design wishes. (See: California-shaped cutting boards by Gary Silk and Los Feliz tea by Minor Thread).
And pretty much every single delicious thing in the food section.
What’s the most rewarding part of being a shop owner?
For me, the most rewarding thing is creating a place people are excited to come to because we are adding new made-in-LA things every day, and they can’t wait to see them!
I am incredibly grateful to have the space to host events that celebrate local artists and raise money for causes I hold dear. Inviting in and giving back to the community is very important to me and the space allows me to do that.
It’s also really flattering when people gush about the selection we offer; I feel proud on two levels - of the makers, most of whom I know personally, and of the job I did picking the right mix of goods.
Speaking of selection, how did you find out about P.F. Candle Co.?
I came across it online when I was doing research for the items I would carry in the shop and I wanted to include Los Angeles-made candles. So happy to be able to sell them in the store, and customers are thrilled to learn they are made in L.A.! Favorite scents: Teakwood & Tobacco, because it smells like paradise to me. And Mojave, because it smells like vacation.
Lastly, are there any events customers and followers can look forward to in the coming months?
At Los Angeles County Store, we host events every season where a percentage of proceeds benefit Luxe Paws rescue. Look out for upcoming art openings, weekly trunk shows, and more kitten cuddle parties!