Lemon Frog Shop
1202-B N Alvarado St
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Neighborhood: Echo Park
Hours: Sun 12-5
Mon & Tue & Sat: 10.30-5.30
Wed & Fri 11.30 -7.30
Thur 10.30- 7.30 *Please call for hours, as they change seasonally
I’d just beaten rush hour traffic over to Echo Park where I was to meet with owner Micki Curtis of the vintage boutique, Lemon Frog Shop, on a typical sunny and hot Los Angeles afternoon (they say in L.A. by 3p.m. you need to be headed home or, wherever you’re going to be for the next 3 hours or you’re screwed…and it’s true). Parking is no joke in L.A. either, so here’s a tip: you can park in the library parking lot next door.
When I stepped into the shop, I had to take a pause for, I was not expecting to see the amount of what some customers have called, “a beautiful mess”, of vintage placed in every nook and cranny of the store. I browsed around the shop, which is conveniently departmentalized by price-point (the front is mostly $10 items, and so on to the back where the high-end vintage is housed). I soon realized that as a normal customer, I would need to give myself ample time to peruse through all the quality vintage treasures displayed from ceiling to floor. Micki, a petite brunette with a valley girl flair and energy like a cheerleader, rings her final sale of the day and famously sends off the customer with a free trinket.
RNR: Micki, you have so many amazing pieces in a small shop, how do you obtain them?
LFS: I started collecting in high school but, kinda collecting while I was working at other stores, thinking that I would eventually have my own store one day…and I couldn’t pass up cool stuff, mostly for myself but, occasionally if it didn’t fit I would still pick it up.
RNR: What about all these amazing pieces you have, like that leather purse up in the front with the sculpted face, and all these unique fringe bags?
LFS: Every once in a while I just hit the jackpot and add it to my collection.
RNR: Do you buy from your customers?
LFS: Sometimes, but not generally, I’m not really set up like other stores that buy all day long.
RNR: Do you go far to seek out such unique items?
LFS: Sometimes I go to my home town, St. Louis and maybe between here and there but, usually not that far from L.A.
RNR: That seems to be a blessing, yet, there are many many vintage stores here so, there is probably a lot of competition at the same time.
LFS: I do have some places that I don’t think many people know about but, occasionally I will see someone where it’s obvious that they are a picker and I just hate seeing another picker there, because you instantly hate that person but, you don’t want to hate that person (laughing).
RNR: Who is the Echo Park customer?
LFS: Well, I have different customers and my store is set up by price, the front of the store is $10 stuff, and then I have the moderately priced stuff, and I also have in the back, the high-end vintage. So, we have a wide range of customers.
RNR: What do you do to keep up with the trends? I noticed that you are pretty on point with some of the things you are featuring up front, like the india skirts and dresses, those are really popular this summer.
LFS: I pay attention to my customers, what they’re wearing, what they’re asking for, I look at what bands are wearing and I read Lucky Magazine for my buying inspirations.
RNR: What are your best sellers?
LFS: I would say I specialize in dresses, boots and accessories.
RNR: How do you feel your business has developed since your store opening?
LFS: I feel I got here at the right time, and this location is great; we’re right off the 2, leading to Pasadena and Eagle Rock. I don’t do a lot of events but, I am known to do some crazy five dollar sales; there’s always a sale! There’s always new merchandise, I’m always moving things around and making room for new stuff.
RNR: Last, how did you come up with the name Lemon Frog Shop?
LFS: When I was looking for a name, I wanted something happy, psychedelic, colorful and catchy. I actually stumbled upon the name in an old Sears catalog while referencing. Even though I had a list of contenders, that name blew me away. It was a sub shop in Sears in the 70’s but since they do not have it anymore, the name was available. The male co-shop was called The Put-On Shop, which I liked too, but not as much as Lemon Frog! People are very attracted to the name!