We had the good fortune of connecting with Ariane Aligo and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ariane, how do you think about risk?
Risk is something that can be both terrifying and motivating at the same time. We take risks every day – whether we realize it or not. We take risks when we get into a car, when we buy shampoo at the store, when we decide what to make for dinner… risk-taking is not a new thing in this life.

Risk-taking has always played a big role in my life, especially in my career. I’ve just recently opened up a new shop called the Artistic Exchange Market; a market in which we give space in our brick-and-mortar to local small businesses to showcase and sell their products without having to be there in person. The concept of the store itself is a big risk in itself, as vendors who come and go through the shop sign up for a space to sell their items but take the risk of making no sales during their stay. I myself took a big risk just by launching the store – and doing it without even applying for a loan!

In the beginning, I was told I wasn’t going to make it, that it was a bad idea, and that I had no real experience running a business, so I should drop the idea while I could. Fast forward to a few months down the road and I’ve now been featured on a number of media outlets, including an entire segment on ABC7 LA! Since then, this store has gotten so much love and interest from the community that we actually had to move to a bigger location to accommodate more vendors! We’re only going upwards from here.

So you see, taking a risk can either be very good or very bad for you, but you’ll never know unless you give it a real try. I was terrified of launching this business, but now it’s become the most rewarding risk I’ve ever taken.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The Artistic Exchange Market is a pop-up style storefront that allows local small businesses to sell their products and services in a physical location.

As we all know, the coronavirus pandemic made a major negative impact on economies at all levels. Small businesses were especially subject to closures at a very alarming rate and many have felt the effects of the restrictions that this pandemic has brought us to, especially from a financial stance. Many individuals resorted to starting their own businesses or making it their full-time job but were still limited to online-only options. This is where Artistic Exchange Market comes in: a storefront built and filled by the community, for the community.

AEM offers a brick-and-mortar to those who cannot afford to take the financial risks and responsibilities of opening up their own store. All of our vendors provide handmade/custom-crafted items as well as vintage pieces. We’ve got everything from homemade food/snacks to clothing, jewelry, soaps, phone cases, art pieces and more! AEM was built by your neighbors, for your neighbors.

I’m very proud of how far AEM has come in just a short span of time. We just launched at the end of April and have already seen a massive amount of success – so much so that we had to move across town to get a bigger space to fit more vendors due to crazy amount of interest. My proudest moment so far has got to be the fact that my marketing director got me an interview on ABC7 that put us on the map so quick, we could barely keep up with all the hype!

While we haven’t been operating for that long, things have definitely not always been easy. Running a business comes with a lot of responsibility and opportunities for learning experiences. We’ve definitely hit a few bumps in the road and had to make a few changes here and there, but I am still grateful for all of it because I still get to run my own business and help others do the same. AEM is community-driven, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that the best kind of business is one that has a relationship with both its vendors and its customers.

In regards to the Artistic Exchange Market, I want people to know that it’s a business that’s built for the people, by the people. We highly encourage everyone to shop small whenever possible, and with AEM, you can do just that.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’d start off by taking them to my favorite rooftop venue, Perch, and follow up with MILK for dessert. I’d also take them to some of my favorite spots in K-town and hang out at the beach. Throughout the week, I’d probably take them to some of my favorite anime expos, a Laker game with the fam, Disneyland (of course), and take them to 143. We’d also explore some of the awesome local dog parks with my fur children!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to my friends and family – especially my team here at AEM. My boyfriend and President of Finances, Chris, for always supporting my dreams (no matter how crazy they may sound), my admin director Alyssa and assistant Branden for always keeping me sane and organized, my marketing team Sabrina and Kayla for making sure I’m being seen and heard across the board, and the vendors here at AEM for not only being supportive but also keeping our community-driven business alive! Together, we’re all going to make it big.

Website: artisticexchangemarket.com

Instagram: artisticexchangemarket

Facebook: Artistic Exchange Market

Other: ABC7 interview! https://abc7.com/abc7-solutions-pop-up-retail-e-commerce/10651970/

Image Credits
Kayla Nieto

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.