When I came across this cute little store in Chinatown, I instantly fell in love. From toys to flasks, sunglasses to restored vintage dresses, jewelry to art prints, this store had it all! Located in the Old Chinatown Central Plaza, Flock Shop is the physical manifestation of Etsy.com. Its owners are Michelle and Chad Corros, the husband-and-wife duo who strive to keep the arts and the culture of locally made goods alive and well.
Flock Shop's doors first opened in August 2007 and has been maintaining relationships with local artists, providing the public with a beautiful, not to mention absolutely unique, array of merchandise. Doubling as a gallery space and store front, Flock Shop is the place where artists can display, and also sell, their artistry and fruits of their labor. Much like the artists whose creations are showcased in this adorable location, Michelle and Chad both created and renovated the whole space themselves, making Flock Shop (which was once a storage unit) what it is today! I got a chance to sit with Michelle and Chad to get to know them, and the store, a little better. Click the jump to read the interview!
What made you guys open the shop?
Chad: You know, it was actually Michelle's dream.
Michelle: I dreamt about doing it for over twenty years.
Chad: I did Soul Sessions over here at the Grand Star and she always wanted to have a boutique. The landlord owns a couple buildings here so I asked if he had anything available and he actually had this spot open. It was cut in half in the beginning, there was a wall right in the middle of the place. He told us it would be a struggle but you know, it has always been her dream so I really encouraged her to do it and…that's how we started! We've kind of evolved, 'cause we weren't really sure when we first opened up. It was really sparse at first and we were buying a lot of the products and then it just kind of evolved into predominantly independent artist-made products. Because, I mean, with the economy we had to start leaning more towards consignment and that's the only way we can really keep a state of flow. But, I mean, we're doing what we love--we love art.
Michelle: I wanted to have a store of my own, but at that time I never really thought of what I was going to sell. I mean, when you're thinking of that you're thinking of apparel and what not. And then, when I actually opened the store, what happened was I had bookmarked things I liked online and rip out magazine pages to keep. I guess I subconsciously was thinking, "Maybe one day, I'll need the stuff when I open my own store." So, I had all my resources and I contacted all those people and it just so happened that it was a lot of smaller produced items. We also had friends who were artists so of course we invited them to come into the store. It wasn't really intentional, this being an artist-based store, it just sort of evolved into that. See, I wish I would have thought of that in the beginning! But I mean, all this is what we like, and it was like we were drawn to that, so that's what the store evolved into.
And how did the both of you meet? Were you already married...
Michelle: Yeah, we were already married--
Chad: How did we meet?? Typical, met-her-at-the-bar, got drunk--(laughs)
Michelle: We met through friends! Chad, she's recording us! (laughs) I used to work at a restaurant and we met through friends…anyway we were already married for four years or something like that.
Chad: We've both taken art but we're really more art lovers and art collectors, so that's why we do what we're doing. I mean, because even if we were to buy products instead of consignment, we would gear more towards this stuff because this is what we love. Music and art is really our passion.
Have you made your own merchandise for the shop?
Michelle: I have, from time to time I make a few pieces of jewelry and other things. I have all these ideas, but I just don't have the time because it take so much to run the store, take care of it and other administrative duties. I do want to make my own things, eventually.
How do you come in contact with the artists?
Michelle: In the beginning we researched, we did a lot of research and tried to find different artists and stuff. Then it eventually got to the point where now we're getting hit up constantly by artists every week. Internationally too! People wanting to get into Flock Shop, so we have a waiting list of potentials. That's how we do it now, we don't have to search anymore. Sometimes we'll come up on stuff and then a lot of times people who are customers of ours will have friends that have something and then they'll come in contact with us.
Other than providing a place of sale for artists, do you hold events or art exhibits here?
Chad: Well, I used to do Soul Sessions and then we did festivals like "The Funk Rumble Block Party" and "Make It Funky", those were two Flock Shop events. And then we just do a lot of our art gallery shows here and Flock Shop parties.
Anything you want to tell the readers?
Chad: When you come here and you make a purchase, you're supporting the arts and its artists. This is what a lot of these people do for a living. You're supporting the arts as well as getting something that's really unique--a lot of our stuff is limited in quantity or one of a kind, so you're not gonna find it anywhere else. So, if you really want to get points on gifts, come to Flock Shop!
Michelle: We're also revamping our website, it's one of our goals for the end of the year to push our stuff online!
So if you're in need of gifts for any occasion, I totally recommend a visit to Flock Shop, you won't be disappointed! They just sent out an email about their holiday hours, so get your holiday shopping done and support your local artists!
943 N. Broadway #103
Los Angeles, CA 90012
12/15/12 - Sat 12PM to 7PM
12/16/12 - Sun 11AM to 4PM
12/21/12 - Fri 11AM to 6PM
12/22/12 - Sat 12PM to 7PM
12/23/12 - Sun 12PM to 6PM
12/24/12 - Mon XMAS EVE 11AM to 4PM