LOS ANGELES — Shopify has entered the world of physical real estate with a new work space aimed at becoming a hub for local business owners looking to network and learn about the commerce platform’s services.
The 3,000-square-foot door is located in downtown Los Angeles at the mixed-use project Row DTLA and employs 20 full-time staff. QR code labels are affixed to Shopify merchants’ pieces of furniture and home decor within the space that, if scanned, can be purchased online. The door will play host to workshops (such as product photography), demos for Shopify and other companies’ products and one-on-one consultations for the L.A. market, of which there are more than 10,000 businesses using Shopify. Of that 10,000, Shopify said 400 of those have sales in excess of $1 million.
“L.A. has been one of the most exciting cities for Shopify since the beginning,” said Shopify vice president of product Satish Kanwar, who was on site ahead of Thursday’s official opening to the public. “It just made perfect sense for us to invest here first and foremost when we started this adventure.”
Kanwar went on to say 65 percent of the area’s merchant base is in the fashion and apparel space, which served as another reason to first test the concept in Los Angeles. The space is open to anyone and does not require visitors to be Shopify customers.
“It’s a super timely moment to be participating in the Los Angeles start-up world,” said 11 Honoré founder and ceo Patrick Herning of the Shopify concept.
11 Honoré is one example, among many others, of a business built on the Shopify platform. Shopify said it serves more than 600,000 large and small companies, including Kylie Cosmetics, Rebecca Minkoff and Red Bull.
“If you think of all that goes into any commerce start-up, not only is it technical, but founders and entrepreneurs have a million different challenges that they have to deal with,” Herning went on to say.
The space, Herning said, will serve as a place to network, create communities around entrepreneurship and troubleshoot, among other things. For someone who describes himself as a “non-technical founder,” the location will be a place that removes Shopify from simply being a tech company to something accessible for all business owners, regardless of how tech-savvy they may be, he said.
The move also makes sense from a timing perspective with so much occurring throughout the city in the past several years, Herning said.
“I think L.A. in general over the past 10-plus years has had a renaissance. I attribute a lot of that to the cultural developments in L.A.,” he said pointing to places such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the relatively new Marciano Art Foundation. “Infusion of cultural relevancy has set the stage for a much broader and diverse Los Angeles.”
For now, the permanent door appears to be a one-off outpost with no other plans to open more locations, according to Kanwar. He added that the location will serve as a place for Shopify “to learn and grow.”
“Our real goal is just to create a safe space for entrepreneurs to gather together, learn new skills and invest in growing their business,” Kanwar said.