In our Ask a Shopkeeper series, we tap the coolest store owners we know for a tour of their space and to ask them what items are trending right now—and beyond. For this installment, Tricia Benitez Beanum—the founder and creative director of Pop Up Home in Los Angeles—takes us inside her designer-adored shop.
How did you begin your career in vintage?
When I was six months pregnant with my son, I felt inspired to find a career that allowed me to work and be with him. When he was young, I would source items from estate sales and thrift stores and sell them to larger vintage stores. Pretty soon they started calling me, and I marketed myself as a high-end estate sale company. The third one I ever did was for Pamela Anderson, and my website shut down because I got 40,000 hits in one day. So I knew I was onto something.
How did that help you launch your store?
My background in estate sales has a huge impact in how I approach Pop Up Home. Having to merchandise entire estates in three to four days has given me Navy Seal training on how to design with ease. I’m not so precious with things; I can work with whatever I have on hand. Also, seeing how other people have designed and styled their homes through the years has given me a diverse training in style and design. I’ve been inside more homes than almost anyone. Seeing how 700 console tables or shelves are styled or how living rooms are arranged gives me perspective and a deep well of ideas to draw from.
What’s your mission with Pop Up Home?
To have pieces that no one else has—and to have a showroom that is highly curated. Even if everything else in your home is from a box store, I want people to have one conversation piece from Pop Up Home that makes it all come together.
Our eclectic nature makes us different. We’re not all one style. We mix antique, primitive, African, sculpture, ’60s to ’70s, contemporary art—we’re a space where almost anyone can find something that speaks to them.
How has your Latinidad impacted the way you approach your business?
All of the experiences I’ve had, including being Latina, have shaped Pop Up Home. But it was never my mission to diversify design. I started UNREPD [alongside Sarah Mantilla Griffin] with the specific intent to create opportunities for women and people of color in the art world.
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
Don’t be ashamed of what you don’t know, especially if you’re a creative entrepreneur. Creatives usually aren’t businesspeople. If you don’t know the ins and outs, ask for help and don’t be embarrassed. If you don’t know how to set up your taxes, there are so many people who are willing to help you. You don’t have to figure out everything on your own.
Best piece of advice when it comes to investing in furniture?
Look at vintage design! You can buy old Architectural Digest issues on eBay. And there are tons of ideas on Pinterest. Once you get your eye on something you really like, you can build from there. Usually when you find the style you like and you go out hunting, you’ll find something that aligns with that. There’s a spirituality to sourcing vintage.