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Meet Michelle Qazi of 6th And Detroit

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Qazi.

Michelle, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Born and raised in SoCal with a need to always do something creative in life it took awhile for me to figure it out. Graduated college in advertising, packed up and nabbed the first little apartment I saw. Young, broke and naive. On the tightest budget possible, I needed a chair for watching TV and went into my first Goodwill, which was up the block. The vast array of vintage that I had discovered was overwhelming. Something different came home with me every week. I was hooked. 6th and Detroit are the cross streets of that first apartment where the love affair with vintage began.

I went through a lot of jobs in the entertainment industry living in LA, from art department assistant, photography producer, to locations agent, but none hit home for me. Fast forward a decade, married with children living in Long Beach, I was still visiting flea markets, thrift stores and estate sales to get my fix. Decorating our Cliff May Rancho was when my passion for interior design truly took off. To avoid hitting hoarder status, I decided it was time to try to sell my finds and give them new homes.

The Etsy shop launched in 2015. I’d like to think what made it stand out was the photography, affordable prices and shippable furniture (which is such a pain and most sellers try to avoid, I don’t blame them). Once a few months of orders came rolling in, I realized that this could be a real business in an actual storefront. After just one year of Etsy, I took a huge leap of faith and signed a lease for a storefront in Downtown Long Beach’s East Village.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I was working against all odds. With no previous small business experience, unimpressive Etsy numbers, tons of advisors telling me not to do it, no business plan prepared, and two toddlers in tow… it seemed like a crazy idea. Not to mention Long Beach was already known for its huge vintage scene and had a vast selection of amazing shops. But my vision was very specific and unlike what everyone else was doing at the time.

I ignored all the advisor’s advice and signed off on a lease anyways. The most terrifying thing I’ve ever done.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about 6th And Detroit – what should we know?
6th And Detroit is very personal. Every single item I find is something that I would love in my own home.

The shopping experience was a key factor when I first opened. Merchandising the shop with little moments throughout so that customers can envision it was how I wanted to stand out. It’s very edited so that you wouldn’t have to dig, I did it for you.

Mid-century modern trends were at an all-time high then (and still is!), but my style was very drawn to the 70’s. Marrying the two is what made the shop so unique, as well as, incorporating plants for sale throughout. If someone comes in and leaves feeling inspired, that’s all that matters.

Before opening, I knew that pricing was a huge factor. Nothing made me more sad than falling in love with a piece in a vintage shop, only to find out it was marked completely out of my budget. It was a top priority for me to make sure I kept the pricing attainable for others while at the same time paying extra close attention to quality and condition.

I mesh a lot of my personal life into the business, which makes it so much more than just a shop. My lifestyle is very much a part of the brand. It has allowed for workshops, design jobs, Airbnb styling consulting and a rentals department on the side.

It was important for me to also support fellow local small businesses, so I carry a handful of them like candles, Turkish Towels and handmade pillows.

I’m really proud of what 6th And Detroit have turned into, and that it continues to grow in ways I never imagined. I’m proud that we are encouraging the love for pre-owned furniture. I’m proud that I am able to provide beautiful things for people’s homes that make them feel good.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
As long as I stay true to my vision, am honest with my work, and stay open minded, I can go keep going. I will continue to hunt relentlessly, to design with things that I love, and to inspire others whenever I can. If my heart continues to be in this business, I believe it will show through my work.

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