Designer Clare Vivier on opening her flagship store in her own backyard.

Outside Vivier’s boutique in Los Angeles’s Silverlake neighborhood, photograph courtesy of Clare Vivier

In 2012, four years after starting my brand, I signed the lease for a studio in Los Angeles — on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Micheltorena Street in Silverlake — that I intended to use as an office for myself and six employees.

Once we moved in, it became obvious that it had to be the space for my first store.

It was the perfect moment to open. The area didn’t have a lot of great shopping at the time, and there were so many people chomping at the bit for better stores in the neighborhood.

From top: The exterior of Vivier’s shop, photograph courtesy of Clare Vivier; accessory-filled shadow boxes line the store’s walls, photograph by Racked LA

Not to mention, my family and I live close by, so it seemed natural for my inaugural store to be in a community I love.

I worked with a wonderful local architect, Barbara Bestor, to ensure the space recalled the brand’s California-French essence.

She painted the unit’s floor-to-ceiling windows to look like those of an old [Parisian building], and hung shadowboxes as shelves to resemble a classic French pharmacy.

Blueprints for the space, courtesy of Clare Vivier

I hired my best friend of 20 years to handle visual merchandising — which she now does for all my stores.

That location did really well right off the bat.

For a while, I received emails about every single sale on our website and in the store — at one point, my inbox had more than 60,000 unopened messages!

— as told to The Thick

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Inside Vivier’s California-French-inspired storefront, photograph courtesy of Bestor Architecture