We had the good fortune of connecting with Kerry Vitiello and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kerry, what principle do you value most?
Values and Principles. WOW! OK it’s a huge multi layered question and values and principles are multi layered – but first to my mind- community. We have created a community at Dustmuffin with our customers, customers who have become dear friends, co-workers and the wonderful artists we work with. There are so many levels to this… and it is – I think – the reason we are still in business. RE community – an example – when we had to shut down our shop at the beginning of Covid stay at home times- it was so totally tear inducing how many members of our little shop community reached out. We had artists that offered not to cash their checks (we said cash them before we go out of business!!!) , customers that offered to stand with us at the shop to protect it from looters during the protests, employees and friends offering to help us with our necessary website improvements (for free), phone calls, checks ins, artists we represent (who were also out of work) buying gift cards from our website. GEEZ- some really touching gooey things. UHG – We have had people in the shop that literally teared up at the thought that we would go out of business – so yeah – community is HUGE.
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?
Dustmuffin is an enchanting little boutique in Los Angeles. We sell home accents, jewelry, gifts for baby, accessories and ART! We actually got into this business because of art and artists. Our experience before Dustmuffin was ( collectively) working in Galleries, Owning a Gallery, Botanical Illustration, Printmaking, Jewelry Making and Graphic Design. When we opened our shop we had a small group of artists we knew we wanted to include in our boutique – so that was a nice starting off point!! We made a bunch of mistakes at first but over the years have really become so much better at shopping and curating our space. One BIG mistake was casting our niche net too far and wide – we had a garden section , a pet section, a random section, a kitchen section, a table top section – it was way too unfocused. We had too many lines and too much inventory that did not work together as a whole. We were new and too excited. We overcame by elimination- not over ordering and being more selective and choosy with our vintage and antique additions. Whenever we feel we are getting back into old habits we take a pause and do a MAJOR edit. It really re focuses us and reinvigorates the shop. We move everything around and it gives the space a brand new energy. Our shop is different because of our personal relationships with many of the artists and makers we buy product from. Our favorite and most satisfying thing to sell is art. Handmade and art is what gives us the most joy and satisfaction. Our artists are what make us who we are – so working with them all, and sharing their work, stories and talent …. curating an unlikely mash up of prints, drawings, handmade jewelry and ceramics …that all feel at home and friendly together in our space is what we LOVE. We RESPECT and care for them all and are thankful for the long relationships we have created. From our biggest sellers to the smallest seller – they all add to the beauty and the overall feeling of the shop – creating a space that cannot easily be duplicated..
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.
The Bradbury Building, Huntington Gardens, Yamashiro in Hollywood for a cocktail, Grand Central Market and a drive down Broadway, the Hollywood Bowl, a walk/hike in Griffith Park, The Gamble House, The Broad, MOCA, LACMA The Long Beach Aquarium, A sunset drink at Spire 73, A flaming Margarita at El Compadre and of course a Day trip to Santa Barbara and Malibu. OH and overnight stays at Joshua Tree and Los Olivos .
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shout Out to my Parents in Massachusetts for supporting my first shop start up idea and business plan over a decade ago and to Diana Jacobs for partnering with me and making a brick and mortar in Silver Lake possible!!