We love to shop – and shopping for our homes and babies is often the most fun! So, we are thrilled that the SF stop, Aldea Home & Baby now has a storefront in L.A.! Their shiny Culver City digs are chock full of goodies you’ll want to fill your homes with from entry to nursery. To celebrate the new store, we virtually sat down with founder Johanna Bialkin to chat about her beautiful business and its sustainable, impact-driven mission.
First things first! Tell us a little about Aldea Home and how the concept for the shop began!
I was inspired by a project called The Apartment in NYC. It was a space where every season there was full redesign and you could purchase all the items from the floor coverings to the chandeliers. Every square foot was designed in such a way that it was cohesive and provided a unique sense of style.
When I moved to San Francisco 13 years ago, I felt the city was lacking a store that inspired me, and that is how Aldea was born.
We love that the focus of Aldea is to provide sustainable home and baby goods! What made you decide to stick to home and baby products?
Yes, I have always appreciated design and sustainability is essential for the planet! Home & Baby was what was needed in the SF marketplace at that time. I’ve always loved products for the home and it only felt natural to expand into baby. My heart lies in these categories and I like to stick to what I know best!
Congratulations on opening up your second storefront! Was choosing a second location a long process, or did you always know you wanted a shop in Culver City?
I wanted to open a second storefront in Los Angeles and worked hard to find a spot that was the easiest to get to from a variety of locations on the west side. Also, we were looking for a neighborhood that fit our style and aesthetic; Culver City in particular reminded me of the mission in San Francisco with its strong sense of community. I love that Culver City is a walking neighborhood-I am from NYC, so I enjoy getting around by foot!
One of the things that intimidates me about LA is the traffic…
Is there a different collection of products at each store?
The SF market is different from the LA market and it is essential that I source products that suit both cities respectively. You will find a lot of the same products at both stores but there are some differences. Our online assortment consists of products from both locations and a few items are web-only.
We see that you offer some pretty enticing events, when can we expect to see those events go live in L.A.?!
We are excited to get our events going and plan to have the calendar live by 2019. We will announce some smaller events before then though via social media and emails. We plan to collaborate with our neighbors and look forward to hearing about what kind of events people want to see from us as well.
Aldea only partners with “do good” artisans, which we love! What drove that decision, and how beneficial has it been for your business?
I believe that we all need to do our part in making the world a better place. I partner with brands that have integrity and stay true to their mission. My strong partnerships have been crucial to my business and I am grateful for each and every one of them!
What tips do you have for someone looking to start an ethically sustainable business?
I’d recommend researching the specific market they are looking into and seeing if there is a need. Then, go gangbusters researching! I strongly feel that one must truly understand all aspects of the products you carry- where it is made, who is making it, how the people are treated. Also, make sure you stay true to your beliefs and instill these core values in your team.
If you had to recommend one product currently sold, what would it be?
Every day it might be different but for today it is: Fermob, for home. Sustainably produced outdoor furniture made in France that is beautiful too boot!
For baby it would be: Tender Leaf Toys designed in the UK and all products made in Indonesia.
If you could go back in time to when you were first starting out and give yourself some advice, what would it be?
Listen to my inner voice. Keep yourself open for learning and keep your eyes open for inspiration from the world we live in. Grow your community and be kind. I have gratitude for my ever growing business that has been able to thrive despite the challenging landscape.
If you’re in LA or SF, lucky you! But if not, you can shop their incredible products via their online shop as well :).