We had the good fortune of connecting with Gina Lamanna and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gina, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I discovered my niche 16 years ago after being burned out in my field. I wanted a family however did not want to give up my burgeoning career so I created my business concept to give me the flexibility to have kids. After 20 plus years as a clothing buyer and fashion stylist, I discovered a void in the retail market. I recognized that women wanted a more personalized and elevated shopping experience. Traditional retail was failing to address the individuality of each client and their evolving needs. Busy professionals and mamas needed help with their styling to transition from carpool to the office to special events. They wanted flexibility and one on one attention. With that goal in mind, and with an impressive roster of stylists, designers, showrooms and loyal clientele, I opened Spool’s doors in May 2005. I created a beautiful space that was set up for privacy and individual appointments while maintaining a relaxing and kid-friendly environment while also catering to my family’s individual needs.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Spool is an exclusive, appointment-only boutique, tucked away in a garden on the border of Santa Monica and West LA. Spool provides an effortless shopping experience. . We are known for a number of things, including our carefully edited buys. Though I carry many of the same designers as may be found in other stores, my selection criteria are different. I try everything on myself, with a critical eye towards the quality of fabric, functionality and fit. I am also mindful of where things are manufactured. We stay away from trends and curate towards those pieces that are timeless and classic. I focus on many local LA-based designers as well hard to find European brands. I am also excited to support female designers and have the intent by the end of 2020 to sell exclusively woman brands. I specialize in intimately knowing my client’s lifestyle needs, style preferences and body types, and often buy with specific clients in mind. In this way, I help women look and feel their best and enable them to dress with ease. I maintain an inventory of their purchases and help them fill in wardrobe gaps, keeping their budgets in mind. We also offer closet consultations. I am known to guide women outside their comfort zone. I am somewhat different in that I tend to make myself available to my clients to help guide them with questions and situations such as packing for a getaway, preparing for a special event, etc. Perhaps because of this level of attention, I take on new clients only selectively. My clients often share images of themselves wearing pieces they have purchased from us or outfits we have created for them. I love hearing how confident they feel after they leave a shopping appointment and how much more fun it has become for them to get dressed. I have been pretty fortunate to have some of my client relationships organically transition into friendships. In addition to our other unique attributes, my studio offers privacy, personal attention and a relaxed atmosphere for women while they shop. Depending on my clients’ preferences, they may have the whole studio to themselves for two hours, or choose to come in with friends or have individual pieces sent to their homes. I have a sizable out of state client base, many whom I have never met personally, and yet I have been able to style them seamlessly. The success of this concept has led me to develop a new, invitation-only membership service (@thestylepass) for clients who wish to receive hand-curated boxes with each new season, style-consultations and lookbooks, and who value the ability to pre-order from their favorite designers. I am taking on new clients for this service slowly, hand-picking those individuals with whom I feel that I can work closely. Pre-Covid, we are well known for our events and spotlighting new brands. In 2018, we launched an event-driven girl gang concept called @spool_social, providing members with styling sessions, private trunk shows and introductions to female-driven fashion and lifestyle brands. We also go out of our way to donate to causes that we believe in. The way in which my clients feel about themselves as they move through the world is the most important thing to me, surpassing even profitability as my number one focus. Though we are unique in our ability to offer personal attention and knowledge of our clients, this unwavering focus on their confidence and lifestyle needs creates a trust and loyalty that is intangible and yet essential to our success.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take her for a long drive on PCH. Maybe a hike in the Santa Monica/Malibu mountains and discover some hidden waterfalls. We would then enjoy lunch at the Malibu Pier to enjoy the best cauliflower pizza and watermelon basil cocktails. Most definitely would end the day watching the sunset on the beach.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
ahhhhh…..I think I need to give a shout out to my former spouse, Steven Binder. He was a very big supporter and encouraged me to launch my business concept……He also helped design the studio and would like to take credit for the beautiful molding he installed 🙂
Kim Butan @clothandstonestudiophoto Katie Grace @mskateegrace Emma Fiel @emmafielphotography Heidi Garcia @heidigarcia