This next Community Spotlight feature is no stranger to the South Bay. In fact, Tabula Rasa Essentials is about to celebrate their their 20th Anniversary! We got to chat with the owner so we could learn more about this South Bay treasure!
Tell us about your company:
“Tabula Rasa Essentials is the ultimate Southern California shopping experience with personally curated gifts, home decor, candles, apothecary, kids, jewelry, books and more located in the heart of downtown Manhattan Beach.
Our lifestyle gift shop opened it’s doors in May, 2000 and is a must visit destination for southern California locals and visitors to Manhattan Beach. With a coastal vibe just footsteps from the beach, our shelves are stocked with the newest novelties and a continual flow of unique hand-selected merchandise.
We enthusiastically support local artisans from our own backyard and around the globe. With their own special vision, our artists create amazing treasures that thrill and delight our customers. Many of their creations are made of sustainable and reclaimed goods and are made in the USA.
If you’re looking for something to personalize, we have lots of incredible choices from wall art and pillows, to entertaining pieces and jewelry. We’re at the ready to assist you with customizing the perfect gift! These are especially popular for birthdays, weddings, holidays and corporate gifting.
We give back! Independently owned shops like Tabula Rasa Essentials are the heart and soul of our local community. We bring charm, diversity and vibrancy to our city, employ our locals, support schools and charitable organizations throughout the South Bay.
I love sharing unique treasures from around the globe with our customers. I hope to see you in our store again soon!”
What inspired you to launch this business:
“I was a Sr. Executive in the fashion industry before opening the shop. I was responsible for product development, design, sourcing, trend merchandising and marketing for large global brands including Levi, Disney, The Limited and Lucky Brand Dungarees. I traveled around the world and have always had a pulse on lifestyle trends, demographics, core products and innovative design. I lived in Manhattan Beach but spent most of my time in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills due to business obligations and office location. In January 2000, I finally had a chance to wander through our downtown community and I came upon a vacancy on 10th and Manhattan Avenue. The location was amazing. For years I had imagined opening my own business and always thought it would be in fashion. As I meandered through our city, I started to see a niche I could fill, not in fashion but in lifestyle gifting and apothecary. I spent the next week driving north to San Francisco and south to San Diego stopping in all the beach communities to see what types of shops and merchandise inspired me. By the time I returned, I had a plan and reached out to the owner of my building. I described my vision and my background and my landlord agreed to give me a shot. I wanted to be open by Mother’s Day. It was full speed ahead as I was working with a completely blank slate (sans the name Tabula Rasa Essentials) and it was a new beginning. I did not have relationships in the gift side of the industry so every contact was new. I had to gut the space and build from scratch – from painting to fixtures to point of sale systems to merchandise. It was invigorating, challenging, exciting. I opened on May 8th, 2000 and have never looked back!”
What is one of your proudest moments:
“I’ve had tremendously proud moments over the years, but right now is my proudest. We are celebrating our 20th Anniversary on May 8th. The years have gone quickly. We have weathered many storms – from 9/11 and recessions to rainy seasons that keep our locals inside. Most independent businesses don’t survive. I created and built this business on my own. And while there are no financial or creative partners, it is the team that surrounds me and works with me that makes us successful – from our sales associates to our vendors to the customers that inspire me everyday. They are bright, fun, passionate, love being in our community and assisting our guests with their purchases. We are a small and mighty team. ”
What can one expect when visiting your location:
“Our shop has a great vibe. There’s a really positive and friendly energy in our shop. We are constantly moving – from assisting our guests to receiving new merchandise almost daily, to remerchandising the selling floor so we always look fresh and exciting. We love what we do. We love where we live. We have great passion for our products. We call our customers “our guests” – welcoming you into our “home” and sharing with you all our great products and services. We are also a concierge for our city – providing favorite restaurants, things to do at the beach, other stores to visit. “
Tell us a little about you:
“I moved to Manhattan Beach in 1998. I relocated from northern California for Disney. If I was moving to Southern California, I wanted to live at the beach. I drove down on a Thursday during rush hour and it was love at first site. I bought my home that evening. I am the only one in my family living in California. We are scattered from my roots in New York to Nevada, Washington, Ohio and Arizona. Friends and family love to visit and I travel as often as I can to see them. I am three term and now past president of the Downtown Manhattan Beach Business & Professional Organization. During my first term, I created and established our community’s Farmer’s Market. I am a long time mentor of Walk with Sally. I’m a graduate of Leadership Manhattan Beach.”
What do you enjoy doing in the South Bay when you are not working:
“I have a great circle of friends and we get together often. I love everything living in CA provides….from sunset beach picnics, the strand, entertaining at home, driving up the coast, the wine country, downtown LA, outdoor concerts….we live in an amazing place and I never take it for granted. I am a rescue-certified scuba diver and love being under water among the sea life, especially in Little Cayman.”
How do you give back to the community:
“I’m very proud of how involved we are as a business. We give back in many ways, from hosting special events in the shop to our own personal involvement in local organizations and charities.”