Founder's Story: Arora Boheme
Arora Boheme Founder Krissy Arora gives taking the plunge a whole new meaning. Opening it’s doors in 2013 after seeing a “for rent” sign pop-up in the one and only Atwater Village Krissy just knew she had to jump on the opportunity - despite not having had any plans to actually open a brick and mortar store…
Fast forward almost seven years and her shop is one of the go-to spots for all things home decor, gifts, and other highly curated goodies.
CURIO: This wouldn't be an interview without me asking you for a bit of your background - could you share how you got your start in the industry and what steps you took to get there?
Krissy: I wasn't happy in the corporate world and started taking up hobbies and classes to figure out my next move. For fun, I started in a consignment shop renting my own space and selling my own curation while still working corporate full time. I went to get coffee in Atwater Village and saw a for lease sign (in 2013 you hardly ever saw a for lease or rent sign in Atwater) so I had to investigate. Once I did I knew I wasn't ready but couldn't pass it up so I just opened shop anyways and slowly built my store.
CURIO: Opening up shop without a set plan sounds like a crazy experience - what was the hardest part of growing in the beginning? How did you learn/figure it all out?
Krissy: Everything is hard in the beginning and scary, putting yourself out there, having people find you having a storefront means nothing you have to do the work to have people find you and it's a lot of work and hard. Trial and error is how it was all figured out, you are always learning so I sometimes still am figuring it out. You learn something all the time. And of course mentors and having friendships with other business owners.
CURIO: You've said that your parent(s) cultures have inspired you greatly - outside of inspiration how has your cultural background influenced your work/shop?
Krissy: For one I am one of a few people who is a woman-owned business but an ethnic woman-owned business and I hope that influences others who are minorities especially women. I also strive hard to find vendors who are also minorities from different countries and give them an opportunity in my store.
CURIO: Do you feel any obligation (so to speak) about showcasing a wide range of vendors? In regards to being POC/Global and or female?
Krissy: I definitely don't feel obligated it's more authentic with no obligation it's just there for me naturally to bring in those kind of vendors it's what I gravitate towards.
CURIO: Arora Boheme offers home décor, gift items, fashion accessories, and apothecary - do you have a favorite part of the shop too curate? If so, why?
Krissy: I love to curate the whole shop, not one area as it all needs to come together so pulling it all together and curating the entire shop is my favorite. I love the curation process.
CURIO: How do you approach the curation process exactly? Mood boards, current trends, etc?
Krissy: Definitely mood boards, magazines, travel (this is a big one doing indie trade shows), Social media shows you the trends, pinterest. When you are curating you have to really know what your business is, who your customer is, and stick to it so it all is cohesive. Curating and or selecting merchandise isn't just about what I like but what's on trend and what would do well in the demographic that I am in and our target customers. But being a small retail store you have to think well why would someone shop here how is it different. I don't and won't sell items sold on amazon, or the mall.
CURIO: Who are your biggest inspirations for style and design?
Krissy: My biggest inspiration is style influencers Alyssa Coscarelli is one of my favorites she has such great style and I get so much inspiration from her and her page Alyssa in the city! Also, Babba Rivera is also someone who I get a ton of style design inspiration, both are influencers, women, and very successful women that completely inspire me.
CURIO: There is (finally) a large push for brands to use ethical and sustainable practices - how are you navigating this when approaching new vendors/brands for the shop?
Krissy: I feel like most brands are aware of this shift and are offering this which is a plus when deciding if we want to carry them.