On a picture perfect street in Los Angeles’s ever popular neighborhood of Echo Park you can find a row of charming shops encased in black trim, each with handcrafted wood signs guiding shoppers into their perfectly curated shops. A baker’s gourmet kitchen sits a few buildings up, a farmers market inspired store graces the street, and a unique dress shop keeps the neighborhood stylish. These are just a few of the options on this little offshoot of a neighborhood and now there is one more well thought store to add to the mix. Shout and About is a little jewel box of a storefront. A large display window is packed with bright art prints, trinkets, plants, and cards, while a long communal table inside is perfectly styled with everything one would need to make a small gift on a moments notice. This is the concept that shop owner, Tamara Houghten had when she developed her paper goods store. In a pinch you should be able to find a card, pick a small gift, even get the wrapping paper that will hold it all together, all without traversing across the city to get the goods. She even has unique stamps to make the mailing process that much easier. The store itself is perfectly branded to the eclectic neighborhood, even down to the candy pink barn door that sits behind the register. I visited Tamara on the opening night of her shop and was able to capture the energy between her plating rainbow colored rice crispy treats, billowing chocolate covered marshmallows, and hanging the last bits of jewelry and cards around the store. It was a group effort to get it together but the steady stream of intrigued customers solidified that this addition to the street will fit in just fine. Tamara recapped the night for us and gave some insight into starting her business and her daily routine.
How did you make the jump to full time shop owner?
Stationery and gift shops have always held a place in my heart. I love seeing the work of so many talented individuals in one space, plus I’m just a tiny bit obsessed with all things stationery. Since moving to Echo Park, I have felt that one thing the neighborhood was lacking was a great place to pick up a card or gift for a reasonable price. When the idea to open my own shop first occurred to me, I told my husband somewhat casually, and he was incredibly supportive and helped motivate me to go through with the idea. It was only a few weeks later that we discovered a perfect space for rent just down the street from our house!
What had been your biggest achievement to date?
Making the decision to go back to school for graphic design and pursuing what I was passionate about felt like a huge risk at the time, but it is easily one of the best decisions I could have made. Obtaining education in a creative field left me feeling confident in my design capabilities and inspired me to start my own business.
How did you feel on opening night? Was it how you imagined it?
Shout and About’s grand opening left me with a great feeling of relief and gratitude. Seeing how positively my friends, family, and complete strangers reacted to the space was overwhelming to say the least. As it got closer and closer to opening, I began to realize how much of myself I was putting into Shout and About and began to feel somewhat vulnerable. Having everyone stop by for the first time and get excited about the shop and what we had done with the space was so reassuring.
Can you tell us a bit about your neighborhood?
When my husband and I first moved to Los Angeles from San Diego we really struggled to find a place that felt like home. It wasn’t until we found Echo Park that we discovered a neighborhood with the sense of community we were looking for. The row of businesses in the building where Shout and About is located have a small town, neighborly feel to them, which is what really drew me into the neighborhood. Echo Park has so many great things going for it, like Elysian Park, Echo Park Lake, and the wonderful coffee shops and boutiques. There is always something new to do and explore.
Describe your usual day – where do you go for coffee?
Having wonderful Elysian Park within walking distance to my home makes it possible for me to spoil my dogs rotten by taking them on daily morning hikes. It is one of my absolute favorite things about living in Echo Park! Following our walk I make my way down to Chango for one of their delicious Arnold Palmer’s before opening the shop.
How did you choose the interior design of your space?
Designing the interior of Shout and About was one of my favorite parts of the process. I have always had somewhat of a knack for coming up with floor-plans, so right off the bat I had a good idea of how I wanted to lay everything out. My husband constructed all of the fixtures based on my mock-ups and some of my amazingly talented and stylish friends provided their input and a helping hand to shape the space. A good friend, Matthew Berthold, consulted with me on the design, and spent many late nights in the shop with me merchandising product.
What was your vision when selecting the food/drinks/and styling your space for the opening?
My objective when planning the opening party was to introduce people to the shop in a way that felt approachable and true to Shout and About’s aesthetic. I have l always loved the delicious and beautiful food from Heirloom LA, so immediately thought of them when deciding on a caterer. I was fortunate to meet some talented individuals through social media, such as Alisha Sanvicens of Gold Press Paper who hand lettered the opening party invites and CJ Sandgren who arranged florals for the shop and mini-bouquets party favors to hand out to guests. Roma Chocolates provided the delicious marshmallows and truffles.
Any advice for a small business owner? Did you have any memorable moments that you could share with entrepreneurs?
If I could give any piece of advice to a small business owner, it would be to stay true to your vision. It can be so easy to get swayed depending on what you think is going to please others, but if you stick to your gut, I believe the end result feels more authentic.