Store-ies 04: love, Pittsburgh
A visual archive of Pittsburgh retailers & their stories.
What’s the story behind love, Pittsburgh? (I'd love to hear more about the journey that brought you to LP)
Kelly: Monica and I randomly met at a Pittsburgh technology council event nearly 2 years ago, and hit it off talking about the local maker community. She was running Pop Craft, and i was just getting started with Toomanysparkles, my upcycled fabric notebooks, cards, and art. She planted the seed about opening a locals only gift shop, and once the Mount Washington space became available, we quickly joined forces. It's weird to think about how much trust and good vibes went into the beginning of things, as we didn’t know each other very well. We both share an entrepreneurial spirit, and instinctively found a complimentary way to work together. I am also super lucky to have a supportive, creative husband who contributed loads to gettings us started.
Monica: The journey to get here feels relatively short. Kelly and I met at an event and within five minutes we were discussing how we wished there was a place where we could shop, knowing that we were buying local. A few months later we were opening love, Pittsburgh! I really value creativity and prior to LP, I tried to bring it into my life in a more prominent way through the business I started about 4 years ago, Pop Craft, where I taught pop-up crafting workshops. Transitioning to supporting local artists in love, Pittsburgh is a great extension of celebrating creativity in a way that touches more people.
What shops or things have been inspiring you lately?
Kelly: My family went to a wedding in San Francisco this summer, so I filled up on inspiration from Heath Ceramics, Rare Device, and the Ferry building. Locally, I can't get enough from treasure hunting from places like Center for Creative Reuse, Construction Junction, and local sidewalks on garbage day.
Monica: I was recently introduced to the Instagram account of a Dutch fiber artist Claudy Jonstra, and her pieces have stretched my conceptions of what can be done within the bounds of textile arts, and I have some projects itching to get out of my head because of her work.
What do you see for the future of your company?
Monica: I see love, Pittsburgh growing with intention, in a way that continues to support local artists.
Kelly: If you only knew the dreams and ideas Monica and I share regarding growth! [They are still in the incubation phase.] In the short term, continue to support and feature our Pittsburgh talent. We love being "champions of local."
Do you have any style regrets from your past?
Kelly: Not really. I found my personal style about 15 years ago, and haven't really strayed. If I go back to high school, getting a permanent curl, sitting with sketchy chemicals seeping into my scalp wasn't so smart.
Monica: Not really, as I look back to high school some choices seem really funny, but I was wearing what felt like a comfortable expression of myself at the time.
Benefits and challenges are to having a store in Pgh?
Kelly: Benefit is this city, Pittsburgh loves Pittsburgh! We often operate as ambassadors in the shops, explaining everything from our local vernacular, to sharing tales about the artists we feature. One of our challenges, is we are trying hard to find a local, commodity mug maker. Our current branded mugs are printed locally, but hard to find a Pittsburgh made everyday blank mug.
Monica: Pittsburgh is my home, and I’m so thankful that it is full of amazing folks who are interested in helping each other succeed. I have nothing but love for this city! We’re lucky to have a good mix of local and visitors who shop with us. There are a lot of people traveling here, it’s great to hear their stories as well as get to know our locals.
What is your most-prized clothing item?
Kelly: My mom passed last year, and I have her vintage, no brand black crew neck sweatshirt that is perfect in every way. I love it's classic simplicity, and wearing it to remember her.
Monica: Black t-shirt.
What have you learned from having a business? What mistakes have you made?
Monica: I’ve learned that I work best with a partner, and am super lucky to have Kelly by my side through this journey. Mistakes are usually directly tied to times when I ignored a gut feeling, and I should have listened to that feeling and taken an action instead of letting it go.
Kelly: Man I have learned a ton. I had a career as a clothing designer in NYC/SF, and never learned how to use programs like Quickbooks and Excel. Luckily Monica is ace at such things, and a patient teacher. most mistakes I make are in these programs!
What is your favorite underrated thing about Pgh? (so like not Mt. Washington etc. the obvious ones)
Monica: This is probably the weirdest answer, but I love the Wabash Tunnel. It’s the fastest way for me to get to or from downtown from my home in Mt. Washington, and it feels like a secret because I don’t think many people use it or know about it. It’s my favorite tunnel!
Kelly: The parks for sure. We have the greatest parks. I grew up in the South Hills, with Mowry Park at the end of our block, and South Park a few miles away. Frick Park is full of magic, and how about Hartwood Acres? Grandview Park? Point State Park?