Occasionally I will receive an email, tweet or Instagram comment asking if I still have my bricks n’ mortar store in Glasgow’s west end. I moved La La Land online in January 2014, after 4 years of running the shop, as my sales online had increased to a point of overtaking my face-to-face sales. I was sad to leave it behind but was looking forward to La La Lands exclusively digital existence.
What I miss most, is the visual merchandising. I loved making paper pom-poms, shop signs and slogan bunting, often featuring lyrics to my favourite songs (see above), and on quiet days, I was known to completely change the look of the entire store. When a new clothing delivery arrived, I liked nothing more than planning colour schemes for different areas of the shop. The shop was teeny tiny, but I always managed to make it look cute and colourful.
I also miss talking to the customers. I made so many friends, many of whom I am still in regular contact with; from regular customers, fellow neighbouring shop-owners, to designers whose work I stocked in the shop. The odd celeb dropped in too. Kacey Musgraves (HUGE American country music star) came in, as did the v funny Kevin Bridges, Frankie Boyle and Limmy to name a few. When Game of Thrones was filming the first series, Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams’ vocal coach bought them presents to give to them including badges that said ‘I Live In La La Land’. Now, working in my office/studio is a lonely existence, as I can go a full working day without seeing a single other person!! However, I don’t miss the children. Oh my god THE CHILDREN! I love kids but their cheesy-wotsit-covered-fingers, I could live without. When I saw a small, unruly child come into the shop with a sticky lollipop, I immediately started blasting N.W.A on my stereo. Parents don’t seem to like their children listening to sweary hip hop for some reason and were swiftly escorted from the premises. I know. I’m a terrible person. And I have a child who at one point definitely was entirely covered in wotsit stickiness!
Whenever I go to another city, I always spend ages googling, and trawling streets away from the chain-store shopping malls, in search for shops like mine. On a recent trip to Manchester, I discovered a fab shop called Thunder Egg. It reminded me a lot of what I was trying to achieve with La La Land. Needless to say, I bought SO. MUCH. STUFF.
I often think about opening a pop-up shop in the run up to Christmas. Maybe I’ll do it one year, but I think I’d be hard pushed to find somewhere suitable to host it. My old store was located down a quaint cobbled lane, nestled among other like-minded indie stores. The perfect spot for a indie retailer. Maybe one day, I’ll have a physical shop again!