I just got back from an epic weekend is LA with some of my favorite humans. Four of us ladies headed on a much needed exodus to California to see Beyonce on her Formation tour. The show was beyond epic and our memories of the entire weekend will last a lifetime. We stayed at the SLS hotel in Beverly Hills. The show was Saturday and it was so good. I posted a few videos on my Instagram from the show along with candid photos from the weekend. Sunday we spent the day strolling Abbot Kinney in Venice where I went into a handful of my favorite shops, including Burro. This store is so well curated that I always find myself loving something, well things plural. I scored an amazing candle, and got some super cute cards. I didn’t know they had a baby store, so I had to check that out as I have lots of little newborns in my life right now, a new niece, nephew, and two besties with new baby girls. Cutest baby store ever for sure. I got an outer space romper from Baby Teith for a bestie and a Dallas Clayton book called “Lily the Unicorn,” for my 5 year old niece, Lily. I can’t wait to read it to her when I visit next month.
We made a quick trip to LACMA to see the magnificent work of Agnes Martin. Then we finished off the weekend with an epic dinner at Son of a Gun. We ate all the oysters, fries, peel and eat shrimp we could find and washed it down with several olive foam martinis from the ever-amazing Bazaar.
It is amazing how a weekend with your ladies can change everything.
Cheers to ladies weekends, women power, and female entrepreneurs.
Who runs the world? Definitely, girls.
Check out our interview with Burro owner Erinn Berkson. I love her story of how she followed her passion for art and being creativity and made a business out of it. Burro is a collection of little flashes of inspiration at every turn. I hope you enjoy.
Burro Owner, Erinn Berkson.
Business Love Series – Burro
ATC: Tell me about your background, both professionally and personally.
E: I had pretty much wanted to open a store since I was a teenager. After graduating from college with a degree in Spanish and Art History, I found myself not really knowing how to apply my love for art into a career, so I accepting a job in the finance industry as I thought this was the most responsible thing to do. After several unfulfilled years, my heart still yearned to be in a creative field, but I didn’t know how to bridge the gap between what I considered my passion and what paid the bills. When I was leaving the finance industry a colleague asked me what I wanted to do. I told him that I was interesting in illustrating and writing children’s books. In a serendipitous twist, he exclaimed in joy that he had been looking for someone to illustrate a personal book he wrote for his son. Off I went and spent the next three weeks painting. The day I got my first check for doing something creative was one I will never forgot and one I will always be so grateful for.
ATC: What inspired you to open Burro?
E: There was a card store that I frequented in the neighborhood that was closing down. Being a frequent customer, I joked that I wished I could take it over. They practically handed me the keys. I didn’t know the first thing about retail or owning a business, but once given the chance, I just ran with it without any guidance.
ATC: Tell me more about your favorite lines and specific products that you carry in-store?
E: It’s super hard to narrow this down. I would say my greatest joy comes from working with some of the independent artists like Eliza Gran, Brittney Banks, Marley and Alfie or Carissa Potter from People I’ve Loved. They are just too many to list. It’s also amazing to watch some of these brands grow. For candles, I am obsessed with Yoke and Maison Louis Marie. There are no better pillows than House of Cindy. We love art prints from Yellow Owl Workshop, Greg Beauchamp and Banquet Workshop. I can never get enough art books. Please don’t make me narrow this down. Everything is my favorite.
ATC: I totally related. I am inspired by so much and there should never be a limit to inspiration.
Do you personally test out the product lines? Can you describe this process?
E: I do test out product lines. We get a ton of submissions daily and we review them all. Most of the products in store are truly a reflection of what I love and what I stand behind.
ATC: How and why did you choose the locations that you did?
E: Well, Abbot Kinney in Venice was very different back then. It just happened to be the neighborhood I lived in. I was the first gift shop that opened on the street. When the street became overwhelmingly crazy, I really looked to expand into other areas. Malibu and Westlake seemed a natural progression.
ATC: What motivates you professionally?
E: Well, I’ve been doing this since 1999, and I can honestly say I still love to go to work everyday. I am motivated quite honestly by the artists that inspire me daily. It’s super tough to be an artist and to stay dedicated and disciplined. I love finding new products and merchandising them into the broad mix we carry. Oh, and rent. There’s rent to pay and my family to feed. Mostly, I’m pretty motivated by hoarding all the treasures I find.
ATC: Are there any new product lines or categories that you will be introducing at Burro?
E: Don’t get me started on this. If I see something I love, I just get so many ideas. My husband is terrified. I really want a building so that I can just hit every category out there. I have always been crazy about interior design. I wish I had more time and space to dedicate to that.
ATC: What is your favorite part about being a small business owner?
E: Surrounding myself with people I love and objects that I covet. I mean, retail is a funny thing. You get to combine business with pleasure. Everyday is different. One minute you are ringing up a customer and the next you are merchandising. You get to play my Girl Friday. It’s really creative, but it’s also a business. There is an extreme amount of tasks you need to accomplish in order to keep the ship sailing.
ATC: What are your favorite and least favorite parts of your day-to- day work routine?
E: I think many people really fantasize about what it’s like to run a business. It’s tough. Really tough. My favorite part is spending time merchandising and interacting the customers, meeting with reps and manufacturers. The reality is that most of the time you are glued to a computer entering data or solving issues like changing a lightbulb or running off to Costco for paper towels. There’s that thing that they say about entrepreneurs, and it’s so true. We are the only people that will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40.
ATC: If you could go back in time, is there any advice that you would offer yourself based on what you know now? Likewise, is there any advice that you could offer to someone who is considering opening their own business?
E: If I can open a business, you can. I didn’t know the first thing about retail, and I figured it all out on my own. My parents were terrified at my blind enthusiasm. I mean, I don’t even think they had Google back then. I just drove all over the place asking for what business licenses I needed and how to open a bank account. In hindsight, I would have asked questions instead of doing everything the hard way and would have reached out for help. Maybe. I wouldn’t change a thing really because I wouldn’t be where I am today.