Shopping and decorating for the holiday season is here, can you believe it? There are many options that you have as a consumer when it comes to shopping for the holidays or just shopping in general. Whether you are a native Angelino or an eager out-of-towner, I am pretty sure that you have heard about shopping in Downtown Los Angeles. But hearing and experiencing are two separate verbs. However, one innovative organization wishes to combine these verbs and take what you hear and turn it into the ultimate shopping experience in Downtown L.A. Urban Shopping Adventures is the name and customized shopping tours are its game. Haven’t heard of such a thing? Don’t worry, after reading this article you will become familiar with the organization and opportunities for shopping the L.A. Fashion District. Although Urban Shopping Adventures has been a visible entity within the district for the last 4 years, this is the first time that the organization has partnered with the district to offer one-of-a-kind tours and lecture series based on themes such as holiday, bridal and prom shopping. Beginning November 17th and running weekly through December 15th, “Find Your Fit” tours will be held from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. with sample sales being held at 8:30 a.m. every Friday during the month of December, 2007.
Christine Silvestri, President of Urban Shopping Adventures, can’t wait to share the knowledge of bargain treasures buried within the 90 blocks that make up the district. Yeah, 90 blocks! Precisely one of the reasons why you should take advantage of a tour through Urban Shopping Adventures. The scale of 90 blocks is just one reason consumers are seemingly not taking advantage of the shopping experiences readily available in the district. A lot of people don’t know that they can actually shop throughout the district. Katherine Schmidt, Marketing Director for the L.A. Fashion District, states that although wholesale is the primary business to the area, a lot of the wholesalers will sell retail to consumers at the wholesale price. “The merchandise you are able to buy in the district is usually not even in the malls yet,” says Schmidt. “This is because the district is the central hub for the entire fashion industry…designers have their studios and showrooms here and this is where market weeks happen.” So, when you shop Downtown, you are shopping where fashion concepts are generated and brought to life. The livelihood of the Downtown area is on a fast track to revitalization. Once seen as unapproachable and gritty, the essence of the area is now being viewed as hip, artsy and cutting edge. New home living spaces such as the lux lofts at Santee Village, glam nightlife spots and delectable cuisine at neighboring restaurants are spawning the influx of residents to the area.
“In the four years that I have been with the district, I have noticed a huge change in the area,” recites Schmidt. This is one of the driving factors that make the appeal toward touring the area so enticing. Many of us only know of the Downtown of yesteryear and things have really changed throughout the area.
When participating in the Find Your Fit tour series, you begin your shopping adventure with informative session moderated by an expert in the industry. For example, if your tour is on decorating for the holidays, Urban Shopping Adventures will bring in an expert designer who specializes in holiday décor. After giving you insider tips and showing examples, the expert will accompany you and other tour participants on a walking excursion through the district of downtown showing you exactly where you can purchase the items you need to turn what you have learned into reality. Talk about hands on! With 8 different tours offered between November 17th and December 15th, I am sure that you will find one, two or possibly three, that will be your perfect fit. Silvestri also adds that another driving force behind the tours is the charitable facet that will benefit the Downtown district. “A portion of the proceeds from each of the tours will benefit the Para Los Ninos organization,” states Silvestri. So, not only will you be gaining by participating in the tours, you will also be giving to a charitable cause. The cost of each of the tours can range from $36 to $48 dollars, a small price to pay for everything that you are assured to walk a way with.
During the preview of the tour experience, Kim Sudhalter, President of Urban Legend PR, was able to secure a wonderful space at the Santee Village Lofts that played as the backdrop to the demo of holiday décor and ultra chic designs all available throughout the district. To help bring the designs to life and visually depict how great finds in the district can be put together was model for the day actress Shelli Boone. Boone, who is an avid shopper in the district, met Sudhalter at an event for Meals on Wheels where she volunteers her time. When briefed on the opportunity, Boone stated that she was excited to participate. “You can find some of the best fashion pieces Downtown…people should support the businesses that comprise the area,” states Boone. Boone, who will be starring in the upcoming feature film The Business alongside David Alan Grier and Tosha Smith, doesn’t have a lot of time or money to waste for that matter. By becoming familiar with the art of shopping downtown you can save on both time and money.
There are over 2500 stores in the district that range from clothing to interior décor to floral treatments and accessories. It’s a good thing that most of the stores are grouped by the description of the item that they sell. But, it still can be overwhelming if you are new to the area. Dealing with the overwhelming nature of the area is why the district felt the partnership with Urban Shopping Adventures would be beneficial. However, the district has also implemented key tools to help you if you decide that you want to take a chance on conquering Downtown on your own. A detailed map and pod cast tours are some of the items that are available through the districts Website. But if you are anything like me, you might want to sign up for a tour first and then try it own your own. I think this will make things a lot easier in the long run. And, you will benefit from the advice of an expert. Can’t beat that!
Upcoming Tours and Seminars
11/30, 12/7 and 12/14: Sample Sale Strategic Shopping
12/1: Gifting with Style
12/8: Just For You (Look and Feel Your Best For the Holidays)
For details and to register, or for more information about shopping the L.A. Fashion District, you should check out the Website at www.fashiondistrict.org. Here you can view and print a detailed map of the district, search the directory for stores that carry the product you want and view pod cast tours of the district.
To find more about
Urban Shopping Adventures, please visit www.urbanshoppingadventures.com. After this series, the tours will continue in 2008 with other tour themes.