We had the good fortune of connecting with shireen imani and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi shireen, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
The idea for my business really came from my desire to create a comfortable neighborhood centric place for me to hang out and meet people.
When I moved from Los Angeles to NYC, one of the reasons I settled in Venice was because its residents would talk about the strong sense of pride and community that Venice has had over the years. When I landed, it was around the time of the discussion of gentrification of Abbot Kinney and Venice. One of the things that stuck out was the difficulty in finding a neighborhood spot that was welcoming and easily accessible.
I was driving by Rose avenue one day and spotted the building which was originally for sale. The landlords were neighborhood locals and had been in Venice for 20 years. They understood the reason for the idea for the business and 6 months after meeting they agreed to let me turn it into a neighborhood bar and restaurant.
I loved being on Rose ave right in the middle of a very residential neighborhood. It has been so fulfilling to meet all of the neighbors, have a little stop and chat and introduce people to each other in the restaurant. It really brings a sense of community and feels like a house party every night!
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?
I have been entrepreneurial for the past 15 years. I have a separate business in NYC that is healthcare staffing. I think that one of the things that drives me the most is my nature to want to please others. That is something that has always helped me in business is coming from the perspective of what I think is in the best interest of others.
I think this is also similarly one of the things that makes business difficult and challenging because it really forces you to have to think about what you need to get going first. I think that part of overcoming the challenges is being patient, compassionate, and not forcing things. If it is meant to be, it really will be so stressing about it, just sucks the creative energy you need to get going.
I think one of the most important lessons I have learned is that while you do need to have a strong commitment to your idea and concept, you have to accept that it will be hard, really hard, and there are challenges that you will overcome, even if you feel like you cant get through them. I think addressing any fear head on from the beginning makes it easier to continue to go through the process.
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 think first things first we would get on bikes and ride through Venice Beach boardwalk to Santa Monica. There is so much culture and eclectic shops and fun people watching that it is a great first stop and a nice active introduction to Los Angeles with the weather and the ocean right at your side.
I would probably stop at Blue Plate Oysterette for Rose and Oysters while watching the sunset. I would bike back and dine at my friend Jacksons restaurant Ospi in Venice. He is an amazing chef and makes the most delicious pastas and Italian food.
I would hike the Los liones trail in the Palisades. It has the most amazing views once you reach the top and have brunch at Malibu Pier which is a delicious woman and minority owned chef driven business with the best California produce.
I would definitely go to Highland Park and just walk up and down Figueroa popping in and out of bars, bakeries, and just any and everything out there which has the coolest shops and head to Goodies in Atwater Village. The owner, Rhea is incredible and she sources and designs her own home goods with everything under 20 bucks!
I would try to make sure that I can squeeze in the Rose Bowl Flea Market. It is one of the greatest places in LA with one of the biggest and best vintage goods marketplace.
I still love going to dinner at Chateau Marmont which is so quintessentially LA. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I think there are a lot of people that were involved in its success. I think my partners, Andre DesRochers and Grace Mahary were instrumental in its success and bringing in additional partners that understood the mission.
Frank Wonho Lee