We dive into ‘Why Trancas?’ and what it’s like to be a woman-owned business there
One of The Malibu Times’ Reporters Judy Abel recently noticed that there seemed to be a much higher than usual number of women-owned businesses in Trancas Country Market. We decided to examine it and find out why. Our research revealed seven in total – and that’s not even counting businesses run or co-owned by women. And, whether the female tenants know it or not, Trancas Country Market is owned by a woman – Wal-Mart heiress Paige Laurie.
“[Trancas] seemed more local to small businesses than the Malibu Country Mart or The Lumber Yard,” said Christine Berardi, owner of women’s clothing store Hiptique. “I like the neighborhood vibe here. You get to know the customers better.
The “local feel” sentiment was echoed by Sea Lily florist owner Caytlyn McCloskey, a native of Malibu.
“I grew up here in Malibu, so I’ve been shopping here for years, and my heart is here, and it’s a special place,” she said. “My parents still live in Malibu, and the daycare next door I’ve been going to for 35 years…Many of my clients I’ve had for over a decade; and you know everyone, and there’s a good sense of community.
McCloskey has been in Trancas longer than any other women-owned business – 15 years.
“All the others [female business owners] came with the remodeling,” she explained. “The center is aesthetically beautiful now, and we have the ocean and the ocean breeze, and the Malibu name here.”
The complex’s renovation and expansion by local architect Doug Burdge, completed around 2014, attracted female tenants. According to Burdge’s website, the center was “designed to capture the rural West Malibu vibe with barn-style buildings of antique barn wood, metal roofing and sliding barn doors for activity. retail inside and out…the center also has a common area, a sycamore grove and a walking path.”
Starting a business in Trancas served as a launching pad for at least some of the women-owned businesses. In other words, they started in Trancas, built a successful business, and then grew. Albertina Jewelry, owned by jewelry designer Winnie Johnson, is now expanding to a second location near Malibu Country Mart. The Nati women’s boutique first opened in Newbury Park, then expanded to a second store in Trancas over six years ago, and has now opened additional stores in Venice, Malibu Country Mart and New York.
The seven women business owners didn’t seem to recruit each other to come to Trancas Country Market or know each other beforehand, but they support each other.
“We know each other and it’s a small community,” McCloskey said. “We support each other in the way we discount for each other and shop at each other’s stores.”
Berardi explained that business owners spend so many hours working that there really aren’t many opportunities to socialize, but said they sometimes meet for a drink or a bite to eat.
“There’s a lot of camaraderie,” she says.
Although not all women have families, many still have children at home and must balance running a business with spending time with family.
“I have a 16-month-old and a 4-year-old,” McCloskey shared. “I have to juggle being a mother and owning a store, and I have to hire a nanny, but the feeling of reward you get from creating something positive is worth it – you’re also doing something else of value .”
One of the things these business owners have in common is that almost all of them had several years of professional experience before they decided to open a storefront and go solo. nearly all have demonstrated entrepreneurship and/or sales ability along the way, and most were in their thirties or older when they started their businesses.
Anat “Nati” Winston moved from Israel to Los Angeles 30 years ago. While raising her two daughters, she began selling select products at salons from her car trunk, also sold her own artwork, and ran her own restaurant business.
Winnie Johnson of Albertina Jewelry, earned a BFA, co-managed a jewelry startup; spent five years designing custom bridal jewelry for a Los Angeles engagement ring store and two years overseeing the production of high-end jewelry; notably creating a diamond-encrusted glove worn by Madonna on the cover of Cosmopolitan.
Melissa Smith, founder of SweetBu Candy Co., spent nearly 25 years working in advertising sales at Time, Inc. and Conde Nast before striking out on her own.
Shine Beauty Collective Founder Kat James, a trained beautician, has over 25 years of experience in the beauty industry as a business owner, makeup artist, national trainer, account executive and buyer for various ranges products, including Bobbi Brown, Kiehls, Estée Lauder and Dr. Brandt; and collaborated with plastic surgeons and dermatologists on skin care and anti-aging products.
Alejandra Deluca of Malibu Meditation Journey, with 30 years of experience as an energy practitioner, has studied with various masters to provide meditation, yoga and healing arts services.
“I have been doing this for a long time, I have my rhythm and I have imposed myself,” summarized McCloskey. “There is a lot more acceptance [of women-owned businesses] than before – more appreciation and support. It’s cool to see women succeed.
Women-owned business in Trancas Country Market
- Albertina (jewellery) – Winnie Johnson – (310) 457-8632: Full-service quality jewelry dedicated to women and men, specializing in local designers and “beachy, gift-able” selections in silver and gold
- Hiptique (women’s boutique) – Christine Berardi – 310-399-6105: Selections at Hiptique are carefully curated, with knowledgeable associates to guide customers on how everything fits and what works best for most body types. body
- Malibu Meditations Journey – Alejandra Deluca – (424) 402-1199: Private sessions, classes, retreats, ceremonies, workshops, Lucia light immersion, yoga, breathing, energy readings and balancing, sound baths, etc.
- Nati Boutique – Anat “Nati” Winston – (310) 457-3427: Clothing boutique for women and teens, with in-store and online sales; focus on cozy, comfortable and affordable clothing
- Sea Lily (florist) – Caytlyn McCloskey – (310) 457-8100: Eco-friendly floral design boutique and full-service florist, including home decor, houseplant installations, succulent arrangements, custom holiday wreaths ; and floral arrangements for weddings, business events and holidays.
- Shine Beauty Collective – Kat James – (424) 644-0667: A wide assortment of high-end skincare and makeup products available in-store and online, as well as facial treatments using state-of-the-art technology, including radio frequency, micro-current, LED therapy, HydraFacial; lymphatic drainage, Gua Sha facial sculpting, and more.
- SweetBu Candy Co. – Melissa Smith – 1.866.3SWEETBU: Nostalgic/old fashioned candy, vegan candy, organic specialty chocolate, British favorites, and more; as well as beach party favors, candy-themed toys, party goodie bags, a candy bar caterer, and personalized gift baskets (in beach buckets).