There’s something special—and dare we say beautiful—about stepping into a brick-and-mortar store, meeting people IRL who share similar values, and obviously, shopping.
Los Angeles is home to a handful of feminist lifestyle shops that act as central gathering spaces in the community, where everything from books and t-shirts to jewelry and clothing are on offer. If a one-stop spot to socialize, organize, and drop cash on cool stuff sounds like your jam, check out these rad shops.
Romance novels have long been associated with women, but not altogether positively. As television shows like Jane the Virgin and Outlander help reshape preconceptions about the romance novel, the world is becoming turned on to the feminist side of the genre. The Ripped Bodice—the first all-romance bookstore in the U.S.—carries a vast and diverse selection of romance fiction, and its stock goes beyond just books. The store also offers a wide selection of gifts that focus on supporting independent, female-owned businesses. The store is owned and operated by sisters Leah and Bea Koch, who raised the $91,000 they needed to open the store on Kickstarter.
Friend Mart opened its brick-and-mortar location in 2016 after owners Tuesday Bassen and Ben Goetting found success with an online store and a year-long series of pop-ups. Friend Mart’s mission is to showcase art, crafts, clothing, and other unique and handmade products from people in the L.A. community, for people in the L.A. community. Friend Mart carries only small brands and highlights the work of local female artists. The store also offers onsite chain-stitching workshops on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Otherwild describes itself as part studio, part store, and part gathering/workshop/event space. In a search of feminist stores in Los Angeles, Otherwild is the first hit. The space, founded in 2012, is part of a “multi-disciplinary community of inspiring artists, craftspeople, and designers.” The retail side of Otherwild offers customers a curated selection of goods from craftspeople and regularly showcases work by female artists and entrepreneurs. Because Otherwild also defines itself as a gathering place, it’s become a regular meeting spot for feminists looking for a sense of community, and activities and workshops tailored to their interests.
This adorable stationary store started in 2009. In the beginning, Paper Pastries specialized in calligraphy and custom stationery. Today, they also offer “custom stamps, paper, pens, stickers, office supplies, and fun gifts.” The store is open to the public only on weekends, but can work with customers by appointment during the week. Weekend hours vary month-to-month, so check the site’s calendar before visiting. The Glendale-based shop invites local artists and creators to host pop-ups at its store—a fantastic opportunity for artists, and particularly female artists whose work is in line with the feminist, zine-like art for which the shop is known.