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Meet The Curator Of Hemingway And Pickett, Toby Hemingway
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Meet The Curator Of Hemingway And Pickett, Toby Hemingway

Picture of Marie Cradle
Updated: 25 April 2017
In trendy Eastside LA, where flashy, brash boutiques dominate merchant blocks, an unassuming gift shop with a modern masculine flair and sophistication stands as a refined alternative. Born from an Aussie family tradition, Hemingway and Pickett offers tasteful, cosmopolitan items for those who seek the one-of-a-kind. In this interview, the Culture Trip gets acquainted with boutique owner Toby Hemingway and discovers how family tradition lives on at the shop.
Toby Hemingway of Hemingway and Pickett. © Marie Cradle
Toby Hemingway of Hemingway and Pickett. | © Marie Cradle

Hemingway and Pickett is inspired by your family’s shops in Melbourne, Australia. Have you instilled certain family values or traditions into your business?

My great great grandfather had a barbershop. By the time my grandfather owned the business, it had grown into a distribution company, supplying barbershops and corner stores all over the southeast of Australia. I visited the last location a few times before I opened Hemingway and Pickett and noticed that a big metal ‘H’ was over the back door. I had my mum get in touch with the current building owner, to ask if we might have that sign. He kindly agreed (being well aware of the family history), and it now hangs on the counter at H+P and is the basis for the H in our logo.

As for values and traditions, I guess the biggest one is viewing the company as one part of my bigger life. The staff becomes like family, and we try to take care of each other — that’s something my grandfather really believed in. But, mine is a different kind of business. My grandfather had a saying: ‘Don’t sell your taste!’ In other words, just because you don’t like something, doesn’t mean that your customers will feel the same way. For me, taste is a really important part of curating the stores! Though I do try to remind myself of our customers’ wants or needs.

Hemingway and Pickett shop sign. © Marie Cradle
Hemingway and Pickett shop sign. | © Marie Cradle

How do you stay organized in your business?

Who said I stay organized? If it wasn’t for some great staff working with me, I’d be a complete wreck. I try to delegate and encourage them to take responsibilities when I get lost in the details.

Inside Hemingway and Pickett store. © Marie Cradle
Inside Hemingway and Pickett. | © Marie Cradle

Which specific challenges have you faced at Hemingway and Pickett?

We recently opened a menswear store (Hemingway and Sons), so juggling the two places has been a challenge. But otherwise, no challenges that I would think are terribly uncommon: finding the right people to work with you, staying in contact with your customers and reaching new ones, getting our hands on all the best new products, and meeting new talented artists and creators… They’re the basic, recurring challenges.

Hemingway and Pickett shop. © Marie Cradle
Hemingway and Pickett shop. | © Marie Cradle

How soon do you check your phone during the morning?

I live in a two-story house, so thankfully I can switch my phone off and leave it downstairs overnight. With that distance, and my wife and I trying to exercise, and looking after our one-year-old son, it’s usually about an hour before I get to it in the morning.

Hemingway and Pickett shop in LA. © Marie Cradle
Hemingway and Pickett shop in LA. | © Marie Cradle

Which is your favorite Los Angeles restaurant or hangout?

I do find myself at El Cóndor a lot — either just for a drink or a quesadilla. It’s close to my house, and I know some of the people who run it. Dangerous combination.

How would you like to be remembered?

Big question! As a good bloke.

PC or Mac?

Mac.

Summer or winter?

(L.A.) Winter.

Monet or Warhol?

Monet.

Hemingway or Steinbeck?

Steinbeck (but it’s a close race).

In-N-Out or Chipotle?

In-N-Out.

Iced tea, lemonade, or smoothie?

Beer (Fine, lemonade).

Visit the official Hemingway and Pickett site for the latest in tasteful styles.

Hemingway and Pickett boutique © Marie Cradle
Merchandise at Hemingway and Pickett boutique | © Marie Cradle

Interview by Marie Cradle