We had the good fortune of connecting with Jen Kanter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jen, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I grew up in a suburb of Seattle, but I was born in San Francisco + my parents are originally from Mexico. My parents both immigrated to the United States in their twenties. Had you asked me this question earlier in life, I would have said that it didn’t impact me at all, but now that I’m older, a mother + living in Los Angeles the impact is all around me. I grew up in a very unique way, with immigrant parents that raised us with their particular values combined with the influence of the Northwest. I’m very thankful for the perspective this provided me.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
barrio.la was created in 2015 with the mission of amplifying the brands of local artists, non-profit organizations + product makers in Los Angeles. As we’ve continued evolving over the years, we want the fact that we are a BIPOC + woman led company to be a part of our story. We are people + our multi-cultural perspectives influences how we curate our site + gifts. It definitely has not been easy, especially with so many people defaulting to big companies such as Amazon + Walmart. We’re literally a 180 from those companies; in that we pay fair prices to our artists, promote everything that we love in Los Angeles without a “pay to play model” + love things that run out + are only available in small batches or for a limited time. We are committed to the betterment of our city, communities + neighbors, along with sharing the humanistic impact of buying local. Every one of our gifts gives back to a community-driven organization within Los Angeles.
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?
Let’s just say that our friend would be exhausted by the end of the week because we would travel all around the city!
Check out Westward beach in Malibu, Surf/Watch the Surfers at County line + grab food at Neptune’s Nest, Hike in Topanga State Park, starting from Trippet Ranch. Visit the Hollywood Sign + Griffith Park- Grab a homemade pastry + cup of coffee from The Trails Cafe on Ferndell, followed by a hike up to the Griffith Observatory Steep. Visit a street with a cool view- Drive up Eldred Street in Highland Park. Mexican food (Boyle Heights/East Los Angeles)- street tacos, El Mercadito or Guisados in Boyle Heights with a walk in Mariachi Plaza. Drive down to San Pedro- visit the Korean Freedom Bell, check out their lighthouse + get seafood down at the pier. Get a drink at Brouwerij West + pop into Crafted at the Port for some local shopping. Walk or ride bikes from Santa Monica pier to the Venice pier-grab coffee at Groundworks on the beach + donuts at the shop next door. Walk around the Venice canals, check out the street art + Angelica Huston’s bust at the Windward circle. Drive to Pacoima + have breakfast at Myke’s Cafe before checking out the street art in the “Mural Mile”. Check out the native plants at Theodore Payne Foundation, do the little hike behind their nursery, Get bowls of ramen on Sawtelle, shop at Giant Robot + then have dessert at SomiSomi. Go to Kenneth Hahn Park + hike up to the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial. Sunday- Visit the Hollywood Farmers’ Market + try all of the delicious food before walking around Hollywood Blvd. If we weren’t exhausted after all of this, we could do SO many more things in Los Angeles.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
This shoutout goes to my (now deceased) maternal grandmother who by example taught me that you can successfully raise seven children on your own, own + manage a company + appreciate the little things, like beautiful, freshly picked Granny Smith apples. She always fed hungry people who stopped by her house in Mexico; no questions asked she would just make them a plate of food. She was an amazing role model.