Start-up shoe brand Comunity is in the process of building out a hybrid headquarters and retail space on Mateo Street, placing it near Blue Bottle Coffee, Zinc Cafe & Market and The Spirit Guild.
The 3,400-square-foot space is expected to open in early August and will feature what the company is calling a Living Room space at the front of the building that will function as a lounge, store and cobbling station for shoe repairs. Everything is on wheels, making it easy to change up the space when necessary.
“When we started looking, honestly, we didn’t get that far before we settled on the Arts District,” said Sean Scott, who cofounded the company with Shannon Scott and Ryan Gumienny. “There’s so many great things happening there: art, retail, music. It’s a vibrant scene.”
Comunity donates $10 for each pair of shoes sold to one of three Los Angeles nonprofits of the buyer’s choosing, which include Youth Mentoring Connection, Street Poets and The People Concern. The company launched earlier this year with bootstrapped money and more recently raised nearly $50,000 through a Kickstarter campaign.
Comunity’s offering currently totals three unisex styles retailing from $165 to $185 that are sold direct through its online store.
“It’s deliberately limited in the product line for a number of reasons,” Sean said. “We want to be clear about who we are, what we do and what we stand for. We’re a start-up and expanding the product line too quickly drains resources quickly.”
The company inked a deal with Lalaland Production & Design, a Los Angeles manufacturer specializing in leather accessories and sample production, to make its shoes.
It’s struck a chord thus far with consumers looking to support businesses that give back.
“The consumer that is interested in this product is very motivated to make a difference, number one,” Shannon said. “They’re also are responding to this handcrafted and downtown [L.A.] story.”
Comunity could eventually build out a wholesale business selling to select retailers, but they would have to be complementary to Comunity.
“Our mission is to be an inspiration and catalyst for people to get involved in their community and that’s why we have a space in the Arts District and why we have a space at all,” Sean said. “It’s so people can gather and make something happen.”
For More West Coast News in WWD: