When the founders of lovable event design company Bash, Please branched out to open their first retail space in Los Angeles, we definitely took notice. The result is the beautifully curated Midland Shop, filled with an array of well-chosen goods from all over the world. From home accessories to clothing to apothecary, each item in the shop is undeniablly unique and thoughtful. We recently had a chance to chat with Midland Shop owners Paige Appel & Kelly Harris about how they created their dream job.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING 7-10 YEARS AGO BEFORE MIDLAND SHOP?
We were building our event planning business @bashplease! It was a very different (hectic) life, but taught us so much about producing, design, cultures and connected us with incredible people.
IS OWNING + RUNNING MIDLAND SHOP YOUR DREAM JOB?
We are thrilled about Midland. It’s a dream that came true and our passion for a quality retail brick and mortar is only growing greater as we dive in deeper with our intentions. We are now producing our own clothing and scents and love collaborating with the makers we carry.
WHEN DID YOU HAVE YOUR “AH HA” MOMENT OF MIDLAND SHOP?
During many, many destination trips in event planning. Planning weddings all over the world introduced us to people, products and ideas that planted the Midland seed. We were inspired by makers and shop keepers in Mexico, in France, in America, and so forth, all making beautiful things that we were only using one time, for the specific event. We were also loving the travel, but missing being grounded with our families. We wanted to switch gears and set up some permanence in our lives and in our objectives.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THIS BUSINESS CONCEPT AND DID YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE IN IT PRIOR?
The concept grew out of already being exposed to so many wonderful designers and makers as well as a place to shop (and hang out) in Culver City where we had our event studio. We were going to juggle both businesses in the beginning but destiny had its way and we were quickly able to sell Bash and focus exclusively on Midland. Prior experience? None in retail. We both had careers in film (Paige) and advertising (Kelly) before starting Bash so this is technically our third career if you don’t count selling PB&Js at a Phish concert in college.
HOW DID YOU FUND YOUR STARTUP?
For Bash, it was all on our own. Working from home, charging very little, doing events for friends. Hustling to get jobs and press until we had a legit roster of clients all paying us well and allowing us to hire employees and acquire a studio. With Midland, we have an angel of a friend who has invested financially and emotionally into the business and success of this type of focused, quality retail.
NAME 3 OF THE SCARIEST MOMENTS YOU HAD WHEN DOING THIS.
Oh wow… Hmm. After wedding planning nothing is scary in retail! Ha! I suppose the scariest moment was just gutting an old hair salon that smelled like a bad perm and making it into a beautiful wheat field of abundance. It was lovely but a lot of money went into the transformation and that was a bit nerve-wrecking wondering if anyone would come!
WHAT IS YOUR PIECE OF ADVICE TO ANYONE WHO WANTS TO STOP WHAT THEY’RE DOING AND CREATE THEIR “DREAM JOB”?
Our advice is to creatively manifest it with the resources you have. And if you don’t have much, get out there and meet people who can help you. Don’t be afraid to bootstrap your plan until initiative gets underway. Hard work always pays off, especially when you have a clear vision and inventive strategies to making it happen. You can parlay from one career to the next with a little ingenuity and a lot of elbow grease.