Retailer of the Week
24 Aug. 2011
GERARD MAIONE & SETH WEISSER, WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND, L.A.After two decades as New York vintage authorities and a solid handful of years in hip Hollywood, What Goes Around Comes Around has now cemented itself out west in the Los Angeles La Brea shopping district. Offering vintage clothing finds, nestled among the store’s namesake collection and cool brands such as Siwy and Wrangler Blue Bell, WGACA La Brea is an Art Deco lifestyle mecca with furniture and art also up for grabs. Here, co-owners Seth Weisser and Gerard Maione discuss their latest retail venture and its interesting mix of finds. Interview by Rebecca Paiement.
Tell us a bit about the new La Brea store.
The new store is in the amazing shopping destination neighborhood off La Brea in Los Angeles. In keeping with the artistically curated aesthetic of the space, the interior design is very Art Nouveau inspired. The original concrete floor has been covered with a 1950s maple gym floor, which was then adorned with an Art Deco pattern consisting of ebony inlay with accents of burnt orange onyx tiles. The boutique itself consists of a blend of meticulously edited women's and men's vintage along with the brand's popular self-titled contemporary line, What Goes Around Comes Around Collection, and others that complement it such as Levi’s Vintage Clothing (LVC), Wrangler Blue Bell, West is Dead, Siwy, Alkemie and vintage Chanel.
How can vintage mix with new merchandise? Is that an easy thing?
When vintage and new merchandise are on the same shopping floor, it creates an amazing experience for the shopper as it offers them a glimpse into the connection of fashion's past and present. Merchandising is challenging, as it requires a significant level of creativity and foresight, however it is worth it in the end to be able to provide an expertly curated experience for our clients.
What do you bring to retailing that's unique and exciting?
Shopping at What Goes Around Comes Around is exciting because the combination of authentic vintage and vintage inspired heritage is one that does not exist in any other retail forum. With collectibles ranging from designer vintage, denim, rock & roll, Chanel, and a host of other rare finds, shoppers can have a truly unique experience. Also, the staff in both locations are expert stylists and aficionados for vintage which helps carry out our company's philosophy in personalized service being key to why so many great clients love our business and return time and time again.
What are some of your bestselling brands/styles right now?
Since it's summertime, women have been gravitating toward our vintage kaftans, These are great throw-on pieces regardless of whether they're heading to the beach or out to a nice dinner. Of course, the Missoni and Chanel pieces are always client favorites, too. Men have been grabbing vintage T-shirts, denim and leathers. Also, our signature What Goes Around Comes Around label does very well with both the men and women. The new fall collection just arrived and we're already getting an amazing response.
Who is your typical La Brea customer so far?
The typical La Brea customer is atypical. We get anywhere from people who live in the neighborhood to tourists from New Zealand and everything in between. I will say on average the customer walking into the store is usually knowledgeable about vintage to some degree, which is exciting for us to work with people who are into what we do and offer them further education on it.
What do you see as retailing differences between the East and West Coasts?
The East Coast store in SoHo is a high traffic location that has become a known destination to fashionistas worldwide. Since the West Coast store on La Brea is new it is in the process of capturing our audience to explore this amazing new retail concept.
How do you best promote a new store? Word of mouth or people driving by or perhaps special events?
We have done extensive press outreach and received an amazing amount of coverage specifically with blogs, fashion websites and magazines. There was also our grand opening event in July, which was hosted by celebrity clients Jamie Chung (actress) and George Kotsiopoulos (stylist/TV host). This was a great success for us as it introduced us to the neighborhood and the “in the know” people of the city. We also continuously promote via Facebook, Twitter and other social marketing as well as plan future events like our upcoming Fashion’s Night Out party on September 8.
What are your biggest retailing challenges?
It is a constant challenge to find those coveted pieces to satisfy our clients.
Is this recession finally over? How have you survived it?
“We certainly hope so,” said Seth as he joked about having “Ramen Pride….” But seriously, What Goes Around Comes Around's survival is reflective of the amazing dedication to the business and loyalty of their clients.
What's the best thing about the new La Brea shop?
With this location, we put greater emphasis on vintage lifestyle with an entire section of the store dedicated to vintage records, accessories, literature, artwork, and original poster art from bands and venues in the 1960s and ’70s. Extra touches such as a personal shopping area for VIPs which offers stylists, designers and celebrities a private space to shop and add to the store's dedication in assisting those in the industry in finding perfect vintage pieces for both wear and inspiration.
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