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Meet Elizabeth Kobliha of Long Beach Vintage ETC

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth Kobliha.

Elizabeth, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Collecting antiques was just a hobby for me for many years. I used to visit Flea Markets and Antique Malls with my mom when I was a kid. I always decorated with vintage in my own home and had lots of little vignettes with cool stuff all around the house. When I had to sell my house and downsize a few years ago, I realized I had accumulated enough back stock to fill my own shop – literally. Through a few twists and curves, I found a huge available space that was pretty affordable for its size. It was pretty daunting to take on 5000 square feet of empty showroom by myself, so I invited some friends and colleagues to join me in renting out the Historical Bungalow Building (built in 1920) in Downtown Long Beach. That was over 3 years ago and we are still growing strong every day. I love being my own boss and I’ve never been happier.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There were challenges in the beginning. There was a corridor beautification project that had our street torn up and unusable for about 6 months. It was a struggle to get the customers to park around the block and walk a bit to the shop. Southern Californians like to just pull up in their car and park right in front. Nobody wants to walk in LA. Start up money was tight, I didn’t have any backers and I didn’t do any kind of “go Fund me” or any of that nonsense so I was counting pennies for the first year. Luckily my landlord was incredibly supportive and allowed me to ramp up to my full rent on a sliding scale, so I was able to have time to look for more amazing people to rent space from me.

Please tell us about Long Beach Vintage ETC.
The building itself was built in 1920, there’s a cool vibe inside and you can really feel the history around you when you shop. I really feel that our products are different. We sell unique bespoke items that can’t be purchased just anywhere. We sell history, nostalgia and fantasy. We try to engage the imaginations of our customers in a way that no other retailers possibly can. It’s an exciting business to be in.

We have a wide mixture of antiques (over 100 years) & Vintage (over 50 years), home decor, gifts, clothing, jewelry, kitchen decor, linens, lighting – anything you can think of really. Quirkiness is the common denominator, I like to have the unexpected mixed in with the traditional. New items are brought in daily.

We have our very own mascot /shop cat that likes to follow customers around and loves to give hugs to anyone that will pick him up – he has his very own fan club and some people come in just to see the cat.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I actually started this endeavor with a partner. Never again!! I highly recommend always being the sole proprietor in your small business startup. I also wouldn’t overthink all the minutia of running a business.

Sweating over the font on my business cards or trying to pick out the right shade of tissue paper to wrap merchandise in… It’s silly and not important to the big picture.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

3 Comments

  1. William Prendiz de Jurado

    October 25, 2017 at 23:20

    I know Elizabeth and her wonderful store—-always, I always want, but do not need, but still get it—- I was there with her, on Day 1, and her place gets better, each day! BEST WISHES to her—- Most sincerely, William–

    • Marie Kirker

      October 28, 2017 at 02:53

      I had the pleasure of being one of the original antique dealers in Elizabeth’s unique shop. Unfortunately I have moved out of state. Elizabeth has always been in touch with the antique business and it’s ever changing trends. Her knowledge paired with her fairness and pleasant manner combined with her love of people makes for the most enjoyable ride through the history of antiques and collectables. I stop to shop at Long Beach Vintage etc.
      When I’m in town and always find treasures!

  2. p gamble

    October 27, 2017 at 04:26

    Great interview. Shop looks very inviting.

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