Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tavin Interview by Elaymade


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Tavin Boutique is one of those places where, when you enter, you are immediately transported to another place and time. The entire space is filled, floor to ceiling, with hand selected worldly treasures. Sequined dresses and perfectly worn leather jackets line the racks, mobiles and dreamcatchers gently sway from above and the soft sounds of the 60s hang in the air. You feel cozy and safe when perusing the nooks and crannies in this Echo Park boutique, and once you meet store owner and curator Erin Tavin, it makes perfect sense why. Erin’s love and passion for her store, her products and customers was evident from the moment we met her. She travels the country - even the world- searching out the perfect pieces to create her unrivaled shopping experience; the perfect balance of vintage european glamour, victorian romanticism, beatnik generation mystique and old world Americana. Erin’s well trained eye for style, ambiance and just plain good energy is what has made her little boutique such a huge destination. We first met with Erin at Tavin and got a little background on how it came to be. After a few questions,  Erin told us about her yurt, perched upon a knoll in her backyard, where she has her office, a little meditation space and even more incredible vintage pieces. After that, of course we couldn’t say no to a visit! See below for pictures of Tavin Boutique interspersed throughout the first half of the interview, and shots of the Erin’s awesome yurt in throughout the second!


A+A: If you could describe the Tavin philosophy in 3 words what would they be?
E:  Bohemian. Romantic. Artistic.
A+A: Where do you find all these amazing vintage pieces and trinkets?
E: Everywhere! In fact, it hit me the other day while I was on a shopping trip up in northern California- I was thinking to myself, why do people love this store? I realized that it’s because I shop all over the country - the world even- so there is a real mix! It’s very eclectic.

A+A: What prompted you to open this store?
E: I always knew that I would open a store one day. I was a costume designer for 10 years and before that, an actress, so beautiful clothing was always a presence in my life. I think it was one summer in Paris that inspired me the most, though. At that time, things were still cheap and I was meandering around Lombard, in and out of these beautiful little boutiques. Each one had such character and ambiance. It really made me want a place like that of my own. Then, one day, I was driving down Echo Park Boulevard and I saw this space for rent. At that time I wasn’t even thinking about opening a store, but I went with my gut and signed the lease that day! I think the death of my stepfather a few months before that inspired me to just take the leap and do it! That was three and a half years ago!

A+A: That’s so awesome. What great foresight. This neighborhood has become so hip since then, and still remains very up and coming.
E: It’s definitely a destination spot. People have sought the store out which is really cool! I just knew I needed to do it so I took a chance and it worked out really well.


A+A: Your store has such an incredible ambiance. Did you go into this with a specific mood in mind or did it just happen naturally?
A: It really happened organically. My husband built everything in here, which I have to say is pretty major! He was director of a circus for 30 years so it really helped for him to bring that mentality into the space. He is very aerial. He juggled and rope climbed for years. We really had to utilize the walls and the ceiling in here because it’s the smallest space in history! Its great though because it draws the eye upward and it’s a very different use of space from other boutiques.


A+A: We noticed that the price tags have some really beautiful excerpts on them. Where did they come from?
E:  I wrote them. I took a collage class and learned how to make the tags and the writing on them are my own thoughts and haikus. I really want people to feel like they are entering into a different world when they come here. The tags are part of that; a personal touch. I wanted people to have an experience while they’re shopping, like I did in Paris, and I felt like LA didn’t have that. Its amazing how many people have opened their arms to it. 


A+A: Can you describe your typical customer in 3 words?
E: Taste, creative, interesting. I think that is a lot of people who live in Echo Park though.

A+A: What about LA inspires you? 
E:  The nature. There’s a feeling of freedom here. I grew up in New York City, which is an entirely different world. I just love the sense of ease and the carefree lifestyle in Los Angeles.


A+A: Where is your oasis in LA?
E: My husband and I do some pretty great things here in LA. The other day we went up to El Matador beach and swam. Then we had fish at some joint right on the ocean and ended up at Froggy’s in Topanga Canyon, eating chocolate cake in the garden. That’s a really good day! We will also sometimes go to a spa together and then check out some Italian Deli that we had heard about. We have fun adventures together in LA. It’s a great city. There is such an enormous mix of things that you can do!


A+A: Where is your favorite place to grab a drink (or a bite!) in LA?
E: I always like mellow spots. There is a Japanese place we love in Little Tokyo called Komasa. It is unbelievable- and now everyone is finding out about it! I also love City Sip, which is right down the street. It is the perfect place for a nice glass of wine at the end of the day. Also, Red Hill on the corner here has really great fresh pasta!


A+A: What’s your favorite LA hike?
E:  We go on a lot of hikes! We do this one in Altadena off of Sierra Madre Boulevard (Eaton Canyon) . It’s only a few miles and ends at a beautiful waterfall.

A+A: What do you do on your day (time) off?
E: My husband and I are big travelers. I am addicted to Airbnb! It has made travel so affordable. My favorite thing is the ‘Glamping’ section. You can find teepees in the middle of India- it’s wild! We are also big hot spring people so we go up to Big Sur a lot. There is a place on the way to San Francisco called Mercey Hot Springs where you can rent cabins. Also, Desert Hot Springs is so close! We stay at a really cool hotel called Hope Springs.
A+A: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given or can you offer some advice of your own?
E:  I would say to just try something. This was a big risk for me in every way, but you just have to try. Take the moment because time passes fast! Get out of your head and just do it. Jump off! Also, surround yourself with supportive people.

A+A: If you could have one superpower what would it be?
E: I would want to live forever…to have unlimited time. Time feels very precious.


A+A: If you could live in any era when would it be and where?
E: The 60’s and to be a gypsy child who could move from place to place. Part of me is also really drawn to the Victorian era as well, the romance of it is so much of who I am.

A+A: What is the one thing that’s always in your fridge?
E: Wine! In winter, I like red. The rest of the year, its Rosé. Actually, my husband is starting to make wine in the basement which will be great!


A+A: What is the one material possession you would grab if your house was burning?
E: Photographs. They are irreplaceable. Believe me I’m really materialistic, but you have to remember that ultimately it doesn’t matter.


A+A: What is your spirit animal?
E: Wow that is almost too hard! Half like a house cat who is cozy and comforting and the other half would be a free animal in some wild, wild area.
                               Erin Tavin

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