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Meet Dana Jazayeri of Unlisted in Orange County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dana Jazayeri.

Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today. You can include as little or as much detail as you’d like.
It started at the ripe age of 21 – I opened Subject Matter Gallery, Bookstore & Fashion Boutique on August 9th, 2003. Subject Matter was a hybrid space with an art gallery, a bookstore that specialized in art and design books, as well as men and women’s fashion boutique. Subject Matter displayed artists in varying styles but with a strong focus in ‘urban art’. The gallery displayed artists such as Retna, Shepard Fairey, Sylvia Ji, Chaz Bojourquez and many more reputable artists before the Instagram art scene had exploded. We hosted monthly art shows, brand pop-ups, and book signings and other interesting events that kept the space active.

In 2007, I separated the three concepts as it became difficult to market the business identity overall. We then continued to operate at The LAB anti-mall in Costa Mesa with two small concepts, As Issued Art & Design Bookstore/Gallery as well as Lobby Men’s and Women’s Boutique. As Issued was able to gain some success with curating small art shows and book signings with artists. As Issued was the only local bookstore in Orange County to carry books that specialized in art, design and creativity. I operated As Issued and Lobby for 7 years until I began to revisit previous ideas for a conceptual art gallery. In 2014, I opened Marcas Contemporary Art in downtown Santa Ana. I wanted to focus on an art gallery that would engage with the community. Like Subject Matter, we hosted monthly art openings and executed public art programs. We had zine making workshops, art education classes, live painting demonstrations and discussion panels for the public. We were able to accomplish a collaborative mural by the Yost Theater, Suenos Revolucionarios, with renowned street artist Ben Eine.

Ironically, during the same time, a couple friends and I founded Yesterdays, an enamel pin company. Yesterdays started small with designs inspired by pop culture references. From 2015 to now, Yesterdays has developed over 500 new graphics and collaborations with artists like Tara McPherson, Coop, and John Van Hamersveld, celebrities such as RuPaul, production for Disney, Hasbro and Epic Rights as well as holding the licenses for The Misfits and 2000 AD. All this leads me to my current business venture. At the beginning of 2018 I opened, Unlisted, in downtown Santa Ana right next to the previous location of Marcas. The store holds all the ideas, concepts and experiences I have had over the past 15 years and gathers my interactions with artists and brands into a single space. Unlisted features a smaller offering of each concept but keeping a strong focus on creativity and creative goods. We carry A mixture of enamel pins, including Yesterdays, apparel from small brands, original art work, zines, books, greeting cards, ceramics, accessories and so much more. With small brands growing online, we are able to collaborate pop-up shops and keep the space active and interesting. In the near future we will open a lounge behind the store which will only be accessible through Unlisted. The lounge will feature small tapas and libations.

Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Oh. Hell. Nah. It’s never a smooth road when you’re young and ambitious. Learning how to work with artists, city politics, interesting landlords, the decline of retail, and the rise of amazon. Small retail shops have a lot to compete with in the consumer marketplace. My ambitious self has cycled through businesses and has learned the various ways to make development smoother, but growing and remaining functional always comes with challenges.

Tell us about your business/company. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a company? What sets you apart from others?
I describe Unlisted as a lifestyle and home goods store. I’ve personalized the store and filled it with the items and brands I’m into. I specialize in examining the available products in the marketplace and curating it down into a concentrated form of what I consider a good representative of that ‘genre’ and making it accessible. What sets us apart from others would be our relationships with artists, makers, and the consumer culture. For example, the books we stock; customers walk in and immediately find something they have never seen before. Its not the products that define us but the work that is placed into curating and acquiring the selection of goods we offer. Yet its tricky to operate in the shadows of e-commerce because many times customers treat us as a showroom. I am most proud of my ability to summarize the marketplace for our customers and being able to work with artists and small brands that really want to put their art or products out there.

What’s your favorite memory from childhood?
Growing up in Manoa on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Wouldn’t change that childhood for anything.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Ben Eine

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