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The Garden of Earthly Delights: Private Shopping at Spool

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Jerri Howell, 7/11

It’s fair to say some shops are hidden treasures in LA, but the Westside’s spool boutique is literally a hidden shop with treasures. Owner Gina Lamanna’s little gem is in her guest house, surrounded by a beautiful garden.

The private shop is stocked with an edited collection of labels including Gary Graham, Raquel Allegra, m. patmos, Mike Gonzalez, IRO, Clu, Brochu Walker, Rachel Comey and Vena Cava. Much of her appointment only clientele carried over from her days as a buyer and stylist at Santa Monica’s former a. mason atelier. Her customers range from actors, fashion industry, to entertainment executives to stay-at-home moms who appreciate shopping an edited collection.

We thought a private shop would be intimidating, but Gina was really inviting and personable, with a good eye for smart pieces. (We bonded over Beth Orduna’s combo pearl and leather necklace plus Raquel Allegra’s raw seams.) The store just celebrated its fifth anniversary and we asked Lamanna about the inspiration behind her secret shop, best selling brands and what fashion finds we can expect in the future.
What was your ‘a-ha moment’ in launching spool boutique?
After developing a loyal clientele of amazing women at a. mason and other stores, I realized that many women were either too busy with their careers or being a mommy to find the time to shop. What many of them wanted was a one-on-one relationship with someone who had the experience to manage and update their wardrobe. Someone who understood their clothing needs, as well as their budget. Having just started my own family, I was also having trouble finding the time to devote to my love of fashion. The old retail model just wasn't going to accommodate any of us. The answer was to create a small, intimate boutique, solely by-appointment, to cater to my clients' schedules.

What’s the secret to the shop’s success?
It's hard to pinpoint exactly what it is my clients love about spool. Some love the flexibility in appointment times. For example, I see some clients as early as 7am and late as 10pm. Others enjoy the fact they can bring their toddler to play with my toddler while they shop (a great perk for mommies who barely have time to shower). For others, it's the tranquil space where they can sip champagne and relax in our beautiful outdoor garden while they decide on their purchases. Others like the extreme privacy. But I think it really comes down to the service I provide my clients. On every buy-trip I go on, I keep all my clients in mind, buying especially for their tastes. I make sure each piece they purchase not only looks fabulous on them...but also works with the other pieces in their wardrobes. To keep things fresh and special, I only carry 2-3 sizes of each style.

What are your best selling labels or items, with an idea of some price points?
All collections by Raquel Allegra and IRO blow out within three days, Mother Denim: the looker crop & the wilder jeans ($195-215), Beth Orduna pearls on leather ($425) and Krisa linen wide leg pants ($100) sell like hot cakes. We are Owls silk/cashmere scarves ($170) m.patmos tissue thin cashmere scarves ($290), Tucker classic mini dresses ($295) and Smythe blazers ($475-$650), Inhabit cotton v-neck cardigans ($225) and Enza Costa u-neck tees (95) are my best selling staples.

What lines or trends are you looking to incorporate for fall?
I have many new designers arriving for fall however there are a few I am really jazzed about. I will be introducing a new collection called Co and Nonoo. I picked up Lover and Camilla & Marc from Australia for fall. I’m also getting a lot of great fur and leather pieces from various designers, a beautiful new German cashmere line and an incredible line from Tel Aviv, which I am very excited about. Also expect some great new vintage finds to add to the mix.

How do potential clients reach you?
I am all referral based so if you know someone who already shops here, then you can give me a call and mentioned who referred you. Or you can call (310) 728-6970 or go to my website, then we can go from there to set up an appointment.

Beyond just having a cute shop with a wide variety of labels, look to Gina to integrate the right pieces into your wardrobe for every day or pulling off a look. We left with a pair of cute Kain Label sweatpants that we added heels to -- and it worked! If you get a chance to check out the shop, just leave a little room for the unexpected. Story and photos by Jerri Howell.
· Spool [Official Site]