As part of Marriott Hotels’ Travel Brilliantly campaign to reimagine the future of travel, the brand and American Express are joining together to provide travelers with authentic, locally inspired experiences by making over the Greatroom lobby of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis into a pop-up store. The limited time retail experience will provide guests and local residents a flavor of the small businesses that make Atlanta unique, all right there in the hotel.
In partnership with American Express, I was invited to interview Jessie White, co-owner of local boutique and gallery Young Blood Boutique about their business and pop up shop located at Atlanta’s Downtown Marriott.
What ultimately made you want to open the store?
My business partner Rebecca and I took over the shop in 2013 after the previous owners and founders decided to move on to new projects. We’ve have always been huge supporters of independent craft and design and we were eager to jump in and get involved. We’re passionate about what we do and love finding new and exciting work to share.
When someone visits for the first time what can they expect?
We present a curated collection of our favorite independent artists from the around the country. We try to keep the atmosphere fresh and light so that the beautiful work of our artists stands at the forefront. We carry a range of goods from jewelry and art prints to small batch apothecary and objects for home.
How do you decide who you feature in your store?
We spend a lot of time researching to find new artists, but we also get a lot of submissions from artists. We strive to present goods of the highest craftsmanship. We want to make sure our customers are getting high-quality products that they not only love, but will last them forever. We believe quality of a higher caliber should always be one of the benefits of buying independent.
What’s a typical day like for you?
Every day is different. There’s always something new to do in addition to the normal boring business tasks (i.e. accounting!)…we write orders, talk with customers, research new artists…the best days are the ones that are dynamic and usually include good snacks to go along with checking things off our to-do lists.
What do you love most about your job?
I love getting to know our customers and their families. Many of them have been coming to Young Blood for years and we’ve had the opportunity to hear about their weddings, meet their children, or hear about their business ventures or travels. We might be biased, but we think we have a beautiful community here.
Are there any artists you look up to?
I really admire Betsy and Will of Betsy + Iya, from Portland Oregon. We’ve been working with them for years now and it’s been inspiring to watch their journey. They work really hard, but make it look so effortless to have a blast doing what they love.
How has the pop-up shop been going for you all?
It’s been great because it’s given us the opportunity to reach travelers who might not make it down to the shop. We’re excited to be a part of it and hope we can turn new people on to the awesomeness of indie design!
Photos provided by Young Blood Boutique, American Express and Marriott.