It's been a dream of mine to own a hybrid studio-shop where I can fully realize and share my craft. But, of course, the leap from a small studio to a commercial lease during unstable retail times is a challenge for an independent designer like myself. So when I was offered the opportunity for a one-month solo pop up shop in Old Town Alexandria, I jumped on it!
And I loved every moment of it. My goal is not to create a standard brick-and-mortar store but a space where one can engage with the entire garment creation process - from design, material sourcing, fabrication, to customer service. In this space, one can shop readymade designs, try on samples, browse a line of specialty textiles and sketches that could inspire ideas for customization, and chat with the designer / maker.
I worked tirelessly for a full month - organizing the shop to make it attractive and reflective of the brand, dividing the space and my time between retail and production, learning about walk-in traffic and how to interact with a slow but steady flow of visitors.
To engage with the community, I organized a free fashion illustration workshop during Old Town Art Walk where I shared illustration techniques with the public. I've since met many new customers and other neighborhood business owners who have been warm and welcoming.
I am currently on the hunt for a small space where I can continue to build my business. If anyone has any leads or would like to share a space, please reach out!