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Friday, September 30, 2016

Storefront Report: Atwater boutique trades in teepees and apparel

Photo courtesy Individual Medley

When Justin and Monica Boyes were preparing to open their apparel and gift store, they purchased a teepee as a display item for their Atwater Village shop, which is described as having a “mid-century modern with a Native American twist”  aesthetic. They had no plans to get into the teepee business but they have decided to stock the$168 canvas teepees after receiving several inquiries since opening Individual Medley last weekend, said Monica Boyes. The teepees are designed for children but  “some people want them for their dogs,” Boyes said.

While the teepee has been a surprise hit, Individual Medley also features a line of contemporary clothing for adults and children as well as decorative and novelty items ranging from succulents and books to candy and incense. Prices range from $4 for succulents and cards to $168 for men’s coats and the teepees.

The  Glendale Boulevard shop, the former home of a real estate investment firm, is the first business venture for the couple, who live in Silver Lake. However, Monica Boyes said she and her husband have experience in retail sales, management and merchandising.  Justin Boyes was also a competitive swimmer and his best competition – the Individual Medley – inspired the store name.

“I think most importantly we wanted to create an experience where people can feel comfortable and inspired in their own way.” says Justin Boyes.

Individual Medley
3176 Glendale Blvd., Atwater Village



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20 comments

  1. Reminds me of the one at Reform School! I like it.

  2. There is a term for this, and it is called “microaggression” (see http://microaggressions.com/ ). “Native American” is not a fashion statement. Using the culture of oppressed and marginalized people to make money is not only tacky, it is insulting and offensive. Selling mock teepees as toys or doghouses… wow. Have they no shame?

    • well, i can see how the teepee for a dog may be a bit odd, but personally, I dont see fashion inspired by cultures as a microaggresion. where would one draw the line? i tend to seek out things inspired by my culture and upbringing and if they are stylish and fun, well, even better! 😉

      • @eagle rocker: you just did it! please see the website microagressions —
        in my mind, also, it’s the tone of the article and the flippant presentation that I find more offensive than the actual item.

  3. almost as offensive, rather….

  4. Nora, you beat me to it.

    “I think most importantly we wanted to create an experience where people can feel comfortable and inspired in their own way.” says Justin Boyes.

    Comfortable, unless you happen to be Native and see your culture stereotyped and a facsimile of a traditional dwelling used as a toy or doghouse. That’s probably not so comfortable. But hey, it’s not like Los Angeles is home to the largest percentage of Native people living in an urban environment, so I’m sure there’s no issue here.

  5. P.S.

    Sadly the design of that website is a microaggression

  6. At the very least ‘mid-century modern meets Native American’ is absurd nonsense. And potentially totally offensive .

  7. While we thank the Eastsider LA for this article, we’d like the community to know that our shop is a curated collection from designers throughout the country and in no way is the teepee the focus of our shop. The vision of our business is to share quality goods for the whole family including hand-stitched childrenswear, men’s and women’s apparel, handcrafted furniture and vintage accessories. The teepee was a fun children’s item that made a corner of our store welcoming to little ones and was stocked at the request of customers.

    As for the logo, it comes from Justin’s many years on swim team and is actually the design you’ll find at the bottom of pools paired with the “M” for medley. I think if you visit, you’ll find us to be friendly and good people. We welcome you to the store anytime and we’d be happy to have you at the Grand Opening in a few weeks.

    Feel free to call us to be invited or if you have any questions at 323.665.5344

    Thank you so much,
    Monica and Justin Boyes

    • Rule #1 in retail…don’t ever let the PC police get you down. You’re going to hear more than your share of “What I would do” and “What I would carry” from everyone who always wanted a business but never had the nuts to carry out that dream.

      When I had my business, I met so many great people in the neighborhood, but unfortunately you’ll meet all the resident nut-jobs as well.

      Carry on, and good luck.

  8. Sorry Boyes, I should have been more specific. The microaggression website is a visual disaster, I wasn’t commenting on your logo.

    Your response mirrored what the Eastsider wrote about you. No one is suggesting that you aren’t good people or that toy teepees are your store’s focus, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not absurd to sell mock cultural artifacts. I think that’s the point that people are taking issue with. It doesn’t matter if you sell these things once a year or once a minute, to sell them at all is culturally insensitive and an perpetuation of a stereotype in a city where there is a better chance than any other urban area where a Native person might wander in. Maybe that doesn’t matter to you, it doesn’t have to, and it doesn’t make you bad people. BUT, it does mean that people are going to be more vocal about criticizing you for it. Yours is also not the only store to do this. There is a very similar boutique in Silverlake on Sunset that features a teepee in the corner. (Or at least did for a time a year ago) As a business owner trying to get on their feet, I have no doubts you’ll listen to the people presenting you with money trying to buy your goods as opposed to people complaining on the internet.

    Good luck with your business

  9. It is a teepee ! I guess i cant stay at the wig-wam hotel ever again or stay in a “luxury” tee-pee at the Cherrywood.
    What about yurts ?
    No Yurts are not cool , we would offend the Turkic Nomads of Central Asia.
    So cant stay at the Oz farm ever again , or my secret Yurt spot in Santa Barbara.
    An Igloo, nope the eskimos would get their feelings hurt.
    An adobe ? ………lets not go there .
    Caves ?
    Does everything have to be under a microscope ? I mean really ?
    Give these folks starting a business a break !
    I’m sure they “come in peace”, and meant no harm . Relax people , relllaaaxxxxx !

  10. First of all, many, many cultures have used teepee or tipi like structures for a long time. Example: http://lavvu.com/. Yes, Scandinavia! But you don’t see anyone talking about how offensive it is to this part of the world. Secondly, isn’t it more offensive that you are summing this up as “Native American” culture? If you were so educated, you would know that not every Native American comes from a history where they used a teepee. In fact, most of you probably couldn’t decipher much between the traditions of and differences between Native American peoples.

    Would it be better if children played in say, a yurt? A cabin? A square house? A brownstone? How about, oh I don’t know, a castle?! Isn’t playing in a castle horrifically “insensitive” to the slaves of kings or queens in the middle ages? Is it insensitive to let your kid think that eggrolls are what all Chinese people eat? That Mexicans come in only one shade of brown? I mean, come on. To all of you responding, I sure hope you’ve examined how you perceive and understand other cultures. I hope that you know that the cut of your shirt or the pattern of your blanket probably has some root in a past that wasn’t so simple.

    But treating the Boyes this way and calling them offensive is just silly. Throughout the history of fashion and culture, you’ll find reference and inspiration to many peoples, cultures, eras, etc. and if anything, I would think it as complimentary to accept these elements as beautiful. The owners of this shop think these things are lovely and they are.

    So while you all fancy yourselves inoffensive, I’ll say this to you: YOU are offensive. To cut a young couple down in the first few days of running their business, to make assumptions, to not even give them a chance….THAT is offensive. And as a fellow human, YOU should consider this.

  11. 1. “First of all, many, many cultures have used teepee or tipi like structures for a long time. Example: http://lavvu.com/. Yes, Scandinavia! But you don’t see anyone talking about how offensive it is to this part of the world”

    – Straw Man. That’s because Scandanavia has nothing to do with the context of the article, about a business “described as having a “mid-century modern with a Native American twist” aesthetic”. You’re in troll territory.

    2. “Secondly, isn’t it more offensive that you are summing this up as “Native American” culture? If you were so educated, you would know that not every Native American comes from a history where they used a teepee.”

    – I have read back all the comments and don’t see that anyone is specifically saying that all Native people would have a problem with this. (Although it is entirely possible that any Native person, whether or not their culture used teepees would see its use as one of the most widely recognized examples of anglo culture doing exactly as you said, summing this up as Native culture.) I can only speak for myself, in that I mentioned that due to the high numbers of urban Native peoples in Los Angeles, it is entirely possible that a Native person could be offended. Teepees were not widely used in any of the 30+ distinct cultures of California Native peoples, but following the termination period, Native peoples from all over the country wound up in Los Angeles, including many people from Plains Nations who did use them.

    3. “In fact, most of you probably couldn’t decipher much between the traditions of and differences between Native American peoples.”

    – That’s probably true. After years of study specifically on Native history, I have only skimmed the surface of hundreds of cultures over tens of thousands of years. I wish you were pointing this “fact” out because you have done the same and you were trying to raise awareness of how displaying this object might be offensive to some people, but you were instead using the example to tell everyone to STFU so I am doubtful of your education on the subject either.

    4. “But treating the Boyes this way and calling them offensive is just silly”

    – That is silly. Mostly because it didn’t happen. Nobody called the Boyes offensive. They said misappropriating a cultural artifact as a child’s toy and a doghouse could very likely be seen as offensive. Because it is. It’s an offensive act. I doubt they are offensive people. They either disagree with the concept that this is offensive, or they don’t care that it is. That doesn’t stop it from being offensive. Nor does the ridiculous overblown responses made by EG or andee stop it from being offensive.

    5. “An Igloo, nope the eskimos would get their feelings hurt.”

    – Inuit, duh.

  12. “ridiculous overblown responses”

    like paragraphs of making your “point”……………ugh yawn !
    what a tool

  13. I agree Andee, I thought it was pretty silly that you and EG posted paragraphs trying to make a “point”. That’s why I went with more of a point by point system.

    • Gee Christopher , you are a weird dude. Get a life.
      Oh and just to defend the others , you did post worthless paragraphs of worthless information before anyone on the thread (time stamps ?) .

  14. Christopher needs an enema and a beer , not in that order.

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