L&D15 has Midwest roots and ties in New York. How did the store come to fruition?
It was a quality of life move, basically. We were running both the hat business and a silkscreen t-shirt company out of a tiny studio, and we began looking for a retail/workshop space so that we could expand. It soon became clear that we couldn’t afford our ideal space in the NYC area, so we started thinking about other parts of the country. David grew up in Bettendorf, IA, and we felt it would be a good location for many reasons…and allow him to mow his Dad’s lawn.
We love Iowa and support local. What types of local artisans are you supporting in Davenport?
In the store currently, we have knitters, jewelry makers, artisans who work with wood (Tom Voss makes furniture, and Roger Viager makes vases), and an art exhibit called Remnants of Earth by Davenport native Tom Awad. Four times a year we have what we term an ‘open call’, where anyone can come and show us what they’re doing. It’s based on our experience lining up for an open call at Henri Bendel’s in New York with Lopeti’s hats. It's a great way to get feedback on your product regardless of whether they take your product or not.
Who is the L&D15 customer?
People who feel like they have to travel to Chicago in order to find something unique?
We don’t really have a demographic profile for our customer - we appeal to folks who appreciate the beauty of a well-made, stylish or hand-crafted items. We have items for every budget, the only commonality is that they’re all made with integrity. There’s also been a lot of development in the downtown Davenport area, with many new housing units being built, so we want to be a store where local residents can walk in and find something to wear for a party, or an item for their home as well.
What can we learn? What types of workshops will you be hosting?
We are doing monthly art exhibits, and twice a month we are holding an event called “Meet Your Maker” on Sunday afternoons, where visitors can learn a skill, talk to an artist, or participate in a workshop. We are also letting customers print their own shirts in the store!
What is the one thing you would like people to know or see when they come in to L&D15?
Expect the unexpected? Creativity takes a bajillion different forms, and there are so many interesting artists and makers. We want to be the type of store where you can see something new, or have an experience that you’ll talk about later.