Interior designer opens up State Street store
Interior designer Lisa Faitell could have cozied into quarantine when COVID-19 disrupted her business.
Instead, she opened up a retail shop, a completely new venture for her, on State Street.
She often traveled back and forth, from Santa Barbara to New York City, to serve clients on both coasts. But it wasn’t practical to do that anymore.
She began purchasing art, accessories and furniture and storing them in hopes of opening a storefront. When she saw her location at 619 State St., she felt it was perfect and began unloading her stock into the space.
“Once we got the space, it was like I clicked; there was no turning back,” she said.
It made her nervous, and she’d wake up at approximately 2 a.m., scared at the prospects of this new investment. Her friends called her brave, which she decoded as “crazy.”
But two months after opening Faitell Attractions, a vintage and new home furnishings shop, she has seen her business gain traction in the community.
Even during the interview before the store opened for the day, customers peered in hoping it’d be open early.
Part of the attraction comes through social media. Her daughter, Nikki, manages the marketing side of the business.
Nikki studied at UCSB and majored in communications and earned a certificate in technology management. Lisa had visited Santa Barbara prior to her daughter’s college search, but she fell in love with the city more as she returned to visit.
So, three years ago, she moved from New York to Santa Barbara as Nikki finished up college.
When Lisa dreamed up the retail location, Nikki quit her job so she could join her mom’s business. The two make sure to spend time together outside of work and keep the business side more professional than their usual mother-daughter relationship.
“It’s been enjoyable,” Nikki said. “I think initially, it was a challenge just because we didn’t know what the future was gonna hold.”
The two do all the heavy lifting (both literally and figuratively) at Faitell Attractions. Friends helped set up the shop and sometimes assisted in delivering furniture, but the Faitell women take on a lot of work.
Sometimes, Nikki comes in after hours or on a Sunday to sell a piece. Her phone receives messages at all hours when customers ask questions on Facebook.
Lisa spends time after hours looking for new pieces at thrift stores and antique suppliers.
One day recently, as she was flipping through a stack of paintings at a thrift store, she met an artist who was looking for frames. She told him about the store, and now she’s consigning 10 of his pieces.
The stock is a mix of consignment and Lisa’s finds. She has about 25 suppliers and hopes to add more local artists, like the man she met at the thrift store.
A lot of people don’t realize it’s a consignment shop, she said. She’s very picky (as one who has worked in interior design a couple decades should be) and only accepts pieces that fit with her curated mid-century modern look.
Saturated paintings fill the walls of Faitell Attractions, and furniture pieces with aged leather or sleek chrome style the room. Retro pendant lights are clustered in a corner.
“I wanted to have a little bit of a different look, but it’s mostly color,” she said. “With the state of the world these days, it makes people happy to see color and life, whether it be from a pillow or a painting or a great lamp.”
She’s been getting a lot of business from clients as they quarantine in their homes and want to upgrade.
The duo is even working on putting dozens of purchases in a truck and shipping them to Salt Lake City. They’re starting to see clients make day trips just to visit their store.
“I want to be known as having something for everyone and at reasonable prices,” Lisa said.
Her business earned her “Best of Houzz” for three consecutive years and “Best of Manhattan” for her interior design.
She’s continuing her design services in addition to running her shop.
By the cash register, on top of a stack of candles is a sign that says “Behind every successful woman is herself.” And maybe, if she’s lucky, she has a daughter that’ll join along.