Gjusta Goods, the most recent venture of Shelley Kleyn Armistead, one of the partners behind the Los Angeles dining hot spots Gjelina and Gjusta, opened in 2016. An expression of all that Shelley loves, the shop is filled with current and vintage goods from all over the world; celebrating tableware, books, clothing and furniture. The store is a unique visual reflection and timeline of stories shared with Shelley’s business partner and their travels.
Gjusta Goods, located next to famed bakery/deli/restaurant Gjusta, has the following varied and vibrant mix of merchandise.
Tableware: In-house handmade ceramics which we serve drinks and food in at Gjusta, handmade ceramics from Brooklyn and Australia, pewter plates & bowls, local carpenter made wooden boards and tongs, French plates from the 1870’s, 1930’s glassware from LA, in-house seamstress makes linen napkins, vintage fabric napkins and aprons, new and vintage tea pots, depression glass bowls, vintage enamel trays and Turkish coffee pots.
Clothing: Vintage 1920’s-1940’s dresses, vintage workwear jackets from Vietnam, sandals from Greece (only retailer in the US) and India, overalls, hemp sweatshirts, repurposed cashmere sweaters into beanies, Gjusta hats & totes.
Furniture and furnishings: Vintage stools, lighting, newly upholstered velvet sofas, West German pottery vases, cushions made from vintage rugs and grain cloths.
Body & Bath: Wildflower face cream, Taos honey skin balms, face and body oils, seaweed soap.
Kitchenware: Black clay soup pots and baking trays, tiffin’s from India, cast iron cookware, new cookbooks – mine & Travis’ favorite from our personal collections
Other: Poetry books and vinyl.
What are you famous for? We have been incredibly lucky that all products sell equally well – the Gjusta ceramic cups and bowls are in pretty high demand.
Where are products sourced? I source from all over the world based on current obsessions – I currently collect Girl Scout badges, playboy magazines and popular science magazines all from the 1960’s. That may change to violins next month, I don’t know. Some collections have been going for multiple decades like pink and grey transferware plates from the mid 1800’s in France, 1970’s glasses with transfers of naked ladies, egg cups, anything from the Middle East, and books.
Who are your customers? Those who frequent Gjusta next door.
How has the internet impacted your business? We are a little hands off when it comes to story-telling and our properties. The social media arm of Instagram has definitely allowed for some select participation – the imagery that the public posts, and to a lesser degree us, has become a rather sweet unintentional collaboration between us and our guests. I love how photographs create an overall feeling, without much language.
Shelley Kleyn, shopkeeper at Gjusta Goods
Who inspires you? Everyone around me, all day. The team I work with. My friends. My children.
What inspires you? Reading of any sort. I am a complete bookworm and insomniac who reads poetry excessively. I am equally in love with Science as I am Design, as I am Politics. It’s all the same to me. Art, I see a lot of art. Being outdoors.
Before I was a shopkeeper, I…. Am a mother to two beautiful boys and a dog named Bruce. I am also a registered Homeopath with a degree in science. I still operate our restaurants. I make clothes with a friend, make skincare with another friend and have created a speaker series of incredible humans, with another friend. I get to do what I love all day, every day.
The hardest lesson learned in starting a business? If what you are selling doesn’t feel like a 1000% yes in your gut. You will regret spending money on it.
What task do you like to delegate? Signing checks.
The best lesson you have learned opening a shop? Patience. Just do what you love. Stock what you love – regardless of whether it is a permanent or short-lived love. The rest will follow.
Your advice for anyone wanting to open a shop? Low rent, off the beaten path, great product … people will find you and travel.
Which famous person would you like to visit your shop? Living – Marin Alsop. Deceased – Steve Biko.
If you weren’t a shopkeeper you would be..? Doing everything I am doing now and duplicating it in Africa so that I can split my time.
What is your perfect day off? Kids. Hiking. Swimming. Eating. Friends. Painting
Five favorite shops: Dicks True Value Hardware Store, Venice Blvd. (soil for my garden, tools for my kids); Jordan Market, Westwood Blvd (the best Halva in a can, ghee and spices); Rose Bowl Flea Market (vintage dresses and tin trays); Sunrise Japanese Market in the East Village, NY (wooden t-spoons and novelty erasers for my kids); Mast Books, East Village, NY (Kenneth Patchen Poetry books).
Favorite neighborhood coffee shop: Lisboa Bakery – Golborne Road, London
I wish I could… Have met Dorothy Thorpe and made glass with her. Travel forever.
On the Future of Retail
“I am far too much of a novice to comment on the future of retail!”
324A Sunset Ave., Venice, CA
Photography courtesy of Ashley Randall Photography