It’s been 3 1/2 years since we began working on a physical space for Highbrow Hippie (HBH). I literally got pregnant and had a baby (now a toddler) in less time than it’s taken for us to start construction. And we still haven’t started. Most of the time we spend hurrying up and waiting.
When we started this endeavor we thought it would take half the time and cost half the money. Being that it’s not the first time I’ve built out a physical space to house a brand, I was well prepared for the inevitable delays, but working in Los Angeles and specifically Venice has proven to be a unique experience. We were blessed to find an amazing space in an area that feels most like home for us and subsequently Highbrow Hippie. Seeing as how HBH is such a reflection of our mindsets, our ideas and thoughts and really speaks to the way we see the world, it only made sense for us to launch in what we consider to the be Highbrow Hippie epicenter of the world – Venice, CA on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. This is our building. Right next to what is now Tom’s shoes.
Long a neighborhood of hippies and surfers, the new Venice is staking it’s Highbrow flag proudly. Sometimes a little too so. Small boutique businesses have closed, making way for their shinier competitors with better merchandising. Some we miss, some we don’t, but the ever changing landscape signifies growth and when you are opening a business that’s what you bet on.
With all this change and disruption, one would think that the addition of a local, independent, minority female owned business would be welcomed. Keep it local! Shop small! Support independent business! We’ve all heard those cries when it comes to development and rising real estate pushing independent business out the door. Those cries evidently don’t reach the ears of the various governmental agencies responsible for issuing permits and approving plans. They can’t hear our grumbles when faced with another requirement, or neighbor appeal (this alone deserves it’s own post), or removing 25% of the square footage of our building to provide parking even though it will likely rarely get used.
In the meantime, we hurry up and wait. Submit drawings, make changes to things that have never been mentioned before, submit again. Wait.