One of the places right at the top of our list of destinations to visit when we make it to the west coast is Urbanic Paper Boutique, a truly inspired shop dedicated to all things pretty and all things paper, a store we’re honored to call a Smock retailer. Before opening Urbanic, owner Audrey Woollen worked in the fashion industry for many years. She fell in love with the evolution of style and the dynamic nature of the fashion world and that, combined with her lifelong love for paper, led to the opening of Urbanic. She began designing stationery and invitations for friends and eventually was inspired to create a boutique in her neighborhood stocked with a carefully considered array of the best in hard-to-find paper goods. Audrey shares, “I wanted to fill a niche for style-minded brides who wanted something completely original. I discovered so many great lines (like Smock) that filled this niche perfectly and was bursting with excitement to share these finds with Los Angeles.”
Today, Urbanic is a boutique recognized nation-wide for carrying an incredible variety of paper and letterpress goods geared toward fashionable people looking for something a bit special and a touch unusual. When choosing products and planning events for the store, Audrey is inspired by design of all kinds – architecture, furniture, fashion, graphic and interior design. For her, filling the shop with beautiful things is a true joy. Items are hand-picked with a keen attention to detail, keeping the store well-edited and cohesive so it’s inviting as soon as you walk in the door. When asked about what she loves most about her job, Audrey shares, “I enjoy coming into work because our existence is based around all the good things in life! Weddings, babies, birthdays, gift giving, thoughtfulness…there is a constant flow of creativity around here. Whether we are making paper vines for an event, building a paper pom pom window install, helping customers coordinate their wedding stationery, or doing an over the top gift-wrapping job, there is always something amazing being produced!”
Being such a trendsetter herself, we had to ask Audrey about her favorite trends in paper and stationery and her predictions for upcoming trends…
One thing I am loving (that you at Smock are brilliant for) is the mixing and matching of patterns and colors! Patterned backings, patterned envelope liners, and even folios. I adore the trend of mixing things up without being “matchy-matchy.” There is a way to do this to add a stylized touch, without losing the simplicity and elegance of a clean modern design. As far as the next big thing, I think blind deboss and edge painting will be getting a lot more attention next year as well as unexpected accents…details such as scalloped edges, glassine wraps, and hand accent details like stitching or hand stamping.
If you were invited to the White House for dinner, what would you wear?
Good question – this could change weekly! Right now at this moment I am feeling like I would want to go tailored and classic with a hint of forward style. I envision a mid-length dress with a deep v, and an unexpected asymmetrical detail. Fabric covered buttons down the back and for color, it would have to be an interesting solid neutral like a taupey gold or black plum. I just kind of made this up in my head, so I’m not sure where I could find my imaginary dress, but I am thinking it could be a cross between Juliette Hogan and Milly. To finish off the look I would go with peep toe pumps and pretty, simple jewelry.
What are your top pick destinations for first time visitors to Venice?
I think all visitors should check out the Venice Canals. The city is called Venice because it was built on the canals to resemble Venice Italy in the early 1900’s. It was a resort town and termed “The Coney Island of the Pacific”. Today the canals are full of beautiful homes and modern garden landscaping. There are little boats everywhere; it is charming and a mini escape from the city. Must do’s would include, walk Abbot Kinney Blvd and go bike-riding down the bike path along the ocean. Abbot Kinney Blvd is the upscale and eclectic shopping street in Venice where Urbanic is located. I love our block. It is full of shops, restaurants, art galleries and design firms. The street has a reputation for being forward, creative and alternative. The bike path is just good old fashioned fun.
Where are your favorite places to shop?
Mostly I love exploring new areas in different cities with boutique streets kind of like ours. I love the experience of walking into a shop or bakery when you can feel that proprietor poured their heart and soul into the business. The little details are everything! Going into Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters is always a treat for obvious reasons. I am completely blown away by how talented their design and merchandising team is. When I am in NYC, I love peeking into the store windows and trekking around all the different parts of the city. ABC Carpet is one of my faves!
Thank you, Audrey, for sharing with us – we can’t wait to come visit when we make it to California!