It was the last week that we were living in Arizona when Local Nomad opened. The timing was bittersweet seeing that I would have loved to spend more time in this space along with the people who make this store amazing but we were moving back home to the people we loved! Every time I find myself back in Arizona, I always make sure to pop in!
Lauren and I haven’t been able to spend much time face to face but we have enjoyed our time getting to know each other. Her store is one of my favorites I have ever seen. She recently shared my home on her blog and now I am sharing a bit about her and this store she opened. I love the rug and tea towel she sent to add to my home and I look forward to sharing some clothing soon!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how your store was born?
My name is Lauren and I grew up in St. Louis Missouri, spent 8 years in San Francisco and recently moved to Phoenix a year ago! I’ve always been an avid traveler, loving the feeling of heightened senses and immersing myself in a different culture. I had a “someday” dream of opening a boutique for as long as I can remember, always feeling like the “end goal” in my career. I was working in corporate retail in San Francisco and wanted a change, so I managed a boutique for a couple years to learn the trade and then decided it was time to live my dream. During that time my husband and I went on an extended honeymoon and backpacked around Europe for 2.5 months and it was there that I came up with the concept of the shop – to bring in all kinds of handcrafted goods from around the world.
Why did you choose Phoenix to open your store?
It just kind of happened that way! My husband grew up in Phoenix but we met in San Francisco and lived there for many years until his new career brought us to Phoenix. I had always imagined my shop on a charming city street but I’m so happy with the location I found in Central Phoenix. We’re part of a historic shopping center that was recently renovated to bring back to life it’s mid-century modern charm. There is such an amazing small business community in Phoenix and the support we’ve received from our customers and other small business owners has been awesome.
What inspired you to name your store “Local Nomad”?
The idea of opening a shop had been brewing in my mind for many years and I was always so worried I would never come up with a name! I thought about it for so long and tried to find inspiration everywhere, but Local Nomad came to me in the shower one day! It’s crazy – once you have a clear mind thoughts will make their way to you. I wasn’t wild about the name at first but it made sense as I honed in on my brand concept – I wanted to carry handmade goods from makers all around the world. Local Nomad is an oxymoron but it fits the assortment of the shop perfectly and it also ties in a travel theme. I want people to feel a sense of discovery when they walk through the door and connect with products based on where they are made so we have little cards next to each group of products informing the customer of the maker, a bit about the product, and the city of origin.
How do you decide what products you will carry?
I have a filter in my head for the overall aesthetic of the store and also for price points per category. A few words that come to mind are modern, raw, organic and playful. I don’t take anything too seriously so I like to have fun with what I buy, especially for the kids section! I believe life should be colorful so I buy a lot of colorful items but also ground the assortment in neutrals so I don’t get too carried away. The shop is focused on sustainably and ethically made goods so I always research the brand and their process before placing an order. There are so many amazing ethical companies that are combining beautiful design with fair trade practices so I try to support as many as I can.
What would be your advice to those who may be starting a business or opening their own store?
My advice is to always have some experience with what you’re getting yourself into. I definitely did not open a store just because I like pretty things. My career has always been in retail – I was a buyer for a big corporation and managed a boutique for two years before I opened the shop. Opening a business is a big undertaking and a huge financial risk so in my opinion it’s much better to be prepared and understand if it’s what you truly want to do before making the leap.
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