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Meet Katie Hectus of Sister LB

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katie Hectus.

Katie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born and raised here in Long Beach. After high school, I made a really sad attempt at a couple of local community colleges before I decided to drop out and work full-time. I got a job at an amazing law firm in downtown Long Beach where they taught me how to be an adult. You know, all of the important things: writing a professional email, understanding basic accounting, holding my own in a room full of incredibly smart people and how to hold my liquor. After working there for a few years, I finally grew up a bit and realized that it was actually possible to make a career out of fashion… thank you very much, Project Runway. So, I quit my well-paying job, moved out of my cute Belmont Shore apartment and started studying fashion Design at FIDM. For the next 2 years I paid for my education with a crappy cocktail of student loans, weird internships and working in retail while living in rooms that I rented from different people.

I started working as an assistant designer right after graduation and slowly moved my way out of design and into buying. I spent the bulk of my career buying for PacSun and then for Torrid. I always knew that I wanted to own my own store so I tried to cozy up to as many of the people in those companies who could teach me how to do everything – the visual merchandising ladies, the marketing team, the production and logistics people. I wanted to learn everything I could about all aspects of the business. The goal was always so far out until I talked to a friend who had recently opened a shop and she suggested I start with pop-ups. Immediately after that conversation I started Sister. I bought enough inventory to fill 2 racks, some hangers and a few bags and invited my close friends and family to my first pop-up. I asked for honest feedback, made a couple of tweaks and did it again the next month and the next for the next 8 months. I did them in my backyard and in my friends’ backyards and eventually as part of larger events. I started to look for a space to house my stuff that I might also use for my pop-ups but secretly was manifesting the perfect location for my shop. I reached out to Blair Cohen from the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association and asked him to keep an eye out for any spaces opening in the neighborhood. Within 24 hours he connected me to the ladies behind the Bixby Trading Post and they offered me the most amazing store front location. The rent was almost exactly what I was making doing my monthly pop-ups so I knew that I could make it work and decided to quit my job and try Sister full time.

I spent the next 2 months working my buying job during the day and getting Sister ready to open at night… I mean late at night. I had my family and friends stamping bags and steaming clothes for weeks. Literal blood sweat and tears went into this place. My very last day in the corporate world was my opening night here at the shop. I was completely exhausted but it was one of the best nights of my life.

Has it been a smooth road?
I have found the roller coaster of sales to be a real challenge for me. One week will be amazing and I’m telling myself, “Katie, you’re a freaking genius” then the next week sales are soft and I’m like, “You idiot. you have no idea what you’re doing.” It’s crazy making but I’m learning to just ride it like a wave and not be so moved by the highs and lows.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Sister LB – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Sister is a curated boutique. We carry a mix of new and vintage as well as some accessories and small home goods. I LOVE this store. My goal was to create a space that felt like a candy store for adults. I want people to walk in and see the pops of color and fixtures full of earrings, vintage silk scarves and candles and say, “I want everything!” There are so many great places to shop in the city. If you told me that you were looking for something I could tell you exactly where to go to find it. I hope that Sister is the place that you come to find things that you didn’t know you wanted.

What role has luck (good luck or bad luck) played in your life and business?
I don’t know that luck has played much of a role. I know there are forces unseen but I have worked really hard to make this business what it is. More than that I’ve tried to be really kind. If there’s a magic sauce in my life that would be it.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 3803 Atlantic Ave, #B
    Long Beach, CA 90807
  • Website: www.sisterlb.com
  • Phone: 562-354-1638
  • Email: shopsisterlb@gmail.com
  • Instagram: sisterlb
  • Facebook: sisterlb
  • Twitter: sisterlb


Image Credit:
Brian Addison

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