How did End of Century come about and what were you all doing beforehand?
Chantal: Lara and I started it two years ago and we ran it for a year and met Claudia and Claudia came in about a year ago.
Lara: I was doing a mix between freelance interior design and also wardrobe styling for film. I was all freelance so I sort of had the perfect schedule for when we had the right opportunity to open the store.
Chantal: I worked at a gallery in Dumbo and I also worked at Oak.
Claudia: I worked at a gallery as well.
Was opening a boutique/gallery space something you wanted to do for a long time or did it sort of just happen?
Lara: I studied visual merchandising and retail business so I think I always wanted to have my own space; though I didn’t always know exactly what route, so when the opportunity came and I was able to do it, it just sort of organically happened.
Chantal: Yeah it just happened. It was one of those things we thought maybe would be like a pop-up, we didn’t expect it to last as long as it has.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Chantal: So many.
Lara: I think the biggest one is the economy. In 2009, shit hit the fan and we opened this a year later in 2010. People were like, you must be crazy to open this space right now in this economy and I was like, yeah, I am but it’s also one of those things when you have the opportunity and you’re young, you just have to run with it, so I think for me the economical, financial thing has been the toughest.
Chantal: It’s a lot for us because we’re super young and don’t have, like savings accounts. We didn’t have careers, whereas a lot of store owners are older and paid their time working their way up in fashion and we just did it.
Claudia: And with selling art too I think it was about finding things that were at a price point where they were still special and they were still art pieces, but they weren’t like $10,000 paintings because that wasn’t something we’re used to selling.
How did you pay rent in the beginning?
Chantal: I knew the owner and she had a space and she let us sublet it from her so we didn’t have to come up with a ridiculous amount of money.
How do you find the designers and artists you stock in the store?
Chantal: Mostly friends and recommendations from friends.
What’s the most fun part about running this business?
Lara: I think the most fun part is it’s very fulfilling to be able to give a chance to young designers or artists to have a space for them to showcase their pieces. We get so many thank-yous for helping them sell their work and get their work out there. So I think that’s the most fulfilling aspect is helping people.
So what’s next for EOC? Where do you see yourselves in five years?
Chantal: I’ll be thirty…It’s hard to say.
Claudia: There’s no major business plan, we’re not like Starbucks. We’re not like, global domination in 12 months or less. We’re just sort of taking it a day at a time.
So how did you all end up on Gallery Girls?