In her recently published book, Mapping Manhattan, Becky Cooper shares the curated culmination of a project that started back in 2009. Giving complete strangers the opportunity to “map their Manhattan,” Cooper walked the length of the island with hand drawn copies of a barebones map, handing them out to people she met along the way. The result is a wonderful array of love, loss, experience, and art that shows an intimate view into the hearts and minds of 75 New Yorkers.
This Store Spotlight features Gum Tree: a cozy shop in Hermosa Beach, California that carries home and gift items and also houses an Australian-inspired café. Owners Lori and Will Ford opened their business in November of 2008 and split their responsibility between the shop and café, respectively. Read below to find out some more about this great store!
Q: How would you describe your store aesthetic?
A: We carry an eclectic mix of products from all over the world. We are in an old house, and the shop is set up that way…you enter the living room where you’d find a couch piled with Thomas Paul Pillows, and a coffee table full of great books. We also have a dining room where we house a great selection of cookbooks and servers, Jonathan Adler salt and pepper shakers, hopefully the perfect hostess gift. We have a kids room with great baby toys and books and a bedroom area with soaps, lotions, candles, accessories and much more.
Q: What’s a fun or interesting store fact?
A: We’re housed in a 1911 Craftsman bungalow a couple of blocks from the beach in Hermosa. We have both a shop and a café in the little old house, and a great front patio with ocean view seating. My husband is Australian so there are little bits of Aus in both the café menu items and shop products.
Q: Tell us about your city/neighborhood. Why do you love it?
A: Hermosa is a funky little beach town just south of Los Angeles. The setting is amazing, but the people are better. A very eclectic mix of the old timers who used to party down at the pier when it was a haven for motorcycle gangs, mixed with tons of young people right out of college, and lots of families who come for the great schools and laid back beach town vibe.
Q: When not in your store, where is the next most likely place you’d be?
A: At the beach or Valley Park with the kids.
Q: What’s your favorite restaurant in your city/neighborhood?
A: Gum tree café of course! But we’re only open for breakfast and lunch so for dinner we love Abigaile across the street for a grown up experience or La Playita for inexpensive Mexican with the best view in town if we’ve got the kids.
Q: If there is one thing someone “must do” when they visit your area, what would you recommend?
A: A walk or bike ride down the strand. For the more adventurous, rent a stand up paddleboard from Tarsan and hit the water.
Q: What was your inspiration/motivation to open your store?
A: As long as I could remember I wanted to have a shop of my own. My previous job in product development and design took me on shopping trips all over the world and I had notebooks full of products I wanted to carry when I finally opened my own place.
Q: How did you come up with your store name?
A: My husband is Australian and when I was trying to come up with a name I was thinking of names of trees and plants, but nothing was sticking. we wanted something that conveyed a natural eco friendly vibe, and also that would work for our shop/café concept. I asked him for some Aussie slang words and after about 20 ridiculous ones he spit out gum tree, and it was perfect! I saw the logo in my head right away and never looked back.
Q: What’s next for you/your store? Any upcoming sales/events?
A: The summertime is busy with more tourists coming to the beach. I love to buy all the sunhats and bags, beach umbrellas and Turkish cotton towels. We’ve recently launched an online site and we’re very excited about the potential there.
Q: What blogs/magazines do you follow?
A: I follow Décor 8, Apartment Therapy, Beach Bungalow 8, Design Sponge, A Fashion Gal and a Fireman. I also always read House Beautiful, New York Magazine, and elle décor, and I am of course obsessed with Pinterest.
Q: Where do you find all of your products?
A: I love the New York gift shows and I go twice a year. I also do the LA gift shows and all the jewelry and accessories markets in LA. And when I can I go to the flea market, unique LA shows, and sometimes I get lucky during my late night blog trolling.
Here at Maptote we are just as pinsane as everyone else! Follow us on Pinterest for coolest map-inspired finds, the cutest puppies, and much more.
Check out our sale page for some recently added products such as these NYC and Brooklyn adult tees from a limited-run production. Once they’re gone, they’re gone!
One of our latest custom projects was with Actus, an interior/lifestyle store in Japan. We created an Osaka grocery tote and mugs for the opening of their Umeda store. Thank you to Nanae for the great photos!
There’s nothing like the sight of blooming flowers to convince you it’s springtime, even if the weather doesn’t quite feel like it! Last weekend I took a visiting friend to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and it was absolutely gorgeous. If you are looking for a reason to go, don’t miss out on the Sakura Matsuri Festival this weekend. It’s the Botanic Garden’s biggest event of year, celebrating traditional and contemporary Japanese culture amongst the blooming cherry blossoms! -Lizzie
We hope you had a great Earth Day enjoying and protecting all of the wonderful wildlife, nature, and resources of our lovely planet!
Some people have great eyes for spotting Maptotes in the wild! Thanks to Kelly (Austin Grocery Tote), Maggie (Brooklyn Organic Tote), Chetna (Brooklyn Organic Tote), and Fritsl (Hudson’s Bay Custom Canada Denim Tote) for the great photos (clockwise from top left)!
Have you recently captured an image of a Maptote? Please submit your spottings to firstname.lastname@example.org and you might see them featured on our blog, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter!
Ever wanted a Maptote location on a t-shirt? Our latest collaboration with Urban Outfitters has you covered: more Maptote locations added, a women’s line of shirts, and multicolor prints for men! You can find them in select stores and online.