Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Native Creative #2: Ari Rodriguez

If you visit The Camp often, then you have probably noticed Ari sitting outside her shop Viva Eclectico. Owning a shop has always been at the top of my list of dream jobs, but the hours and risk have always scared me. So I kind of envy Ari for following her dream. Ari answered my interview questions a few weeks ago, and when I stopped by to take some pics of the shop, she informed me that she is moving to Seattle and someone else will be taking over the shop! I will miss her smiling face, but I know she is excited to live in a "real" city.

Please introduce yourself!

Ari, short for Ariana Mabel Rodriguez. My shop is called Viva Eclectico, meaning live eclectic in Spanish. We are located in a tiny trailer at The Camp in Costa Mesa.

Your shop is full of well-curated vintage goodies. How do you acquire your loot? 

Because I am so small, I am able to hand pick EVERYTHING, often making it hard to part with many of my finds haha. I go to my secret LA flea markets and occasional thrifting, but that is just how I've been doing it since I was a kid, so I have a quick scanning eye that zeroes in on treasure in a pile of junk.

You also carry a selection of newer items. What kinds of items, and how do you choose them? 

I carry everything I would actually own (if I don't already). I have travel knick knacks, not because it's in right now, but because it really is such a part of my real life. Since I turned 21, I've been saving my money and going somewhere every 6 months. I just came back from Thailand 2 days ago. I figure that the people that would like these things would have similar interests, and that's not always the case, but I like to think so. I also secretly implement cat things, manly pieces like tool boxes and whiskey bottles, and I don't carry anything purple. (Homegirl just does not like the color purple!)

What's your number 1 seller? 

Vintage suitcases.

Owning my own store is like a dream to me, but it seems so scary. What gave you the push to venture out on your own?  

I wanted to do what I loved on my own terms even if it meant I wouldn't make as much as I was making at the time. I really, really love that I get to do this. My guy was a big encouragement. As women, I think we underestimate our ability to do things so I try to encourage other women to start their own thing because we need more women to do that. We are so talented, we just need a push.

Did you always know that The Camp would be "your spot" or did you look into other venues? 

If I remained in the states I knew The Camp or The Lab was where I wanted to be. It surprises me to this day that it worked out perfectly.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to do what you do? 

Do it. If you really want it you will find a way. You'll save your money, do research and do it.

What do you enjoy doing when you're not running your shop? 

Hunting for treasures. I have a subconscious need for hunting. I can't drive by a dumpster without thinking there's something awesome in there.

I watch a lot of movies. I just adore them because I can really immerse myself in the story and get a different perspective on a different situation.

And last, I love FOOD. I will go to a restaurant when it barely opens, or seek out new takes on food, such as molecular gastronomy, and critique the food after the meal. Unfortunately you start to get good at knowing when bread is a day old or if seafood isn't fresh, and when combinations don't work and it can start to ruin that very simple experience.

What would be your dream life? 

The life I have now on a bigger scale and not in America.

Can you share some of your favorite local spots?   

Eating: Old Vine Cafe (Costa Mesa), Lola Gaspar (Santa Ana), Habana (Costa Mesa).
Shopping: Goodwill, Zara, TJ Maxx.  
Entertainment: The indie theatre at the UC Irvine campus, The Camp, and The Observatory for music.

Where can we find you online?  

Viva Eclectico website
Viva Eclecitco Tumblr

Thanks for taking the time to be interviewed! 

Thank you for having me.

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