Books were a very important part of my childhood. TV had not been invented so we learned from books and listening to the radio. And…
On July 1, in the company of a few of her nearest and dearest, Amanda Weir’s new brick and mortar store gently sprang to life at Point Dume Village in Malibu. For Amanda, who was born and raised in Malibu, it was the realization of a lifelong dream.
I met Amanda 15 years or so ago after she had returned home after studying abroad in London. We were fast friends and this dream of hers was one of the first things she shared. Later we worked together at BURRO on Abbot Kinney and today I couldn’t be more pleased to work with her at Abierto and watch it bloom.
Abierto, which means “open” in Spanish, features cards, gifts, books, precious oils, and home goods. Amanda explains that one of goals is to carry a collection of goods to suit a variety of needs and economical backgrounds. “Whether you’re celebrating an engagement, going to a housewarming party or you need a thank you gift for someone, I want something special and unique to be found here for everyone, and all budgets,” she says.
“When you get someone a gift, it’s not only a way to say, ‘I am grateful for you’ but in a sense you’re saying ‘I know you and I think this is something you would like’,” she says. “It becomes a part of your connection with that person. You can easily get someone a gift card, but it’s less personal.”
“One of my first jobs was at Planet Blue in Malibu when I was 16 or 17 years old,” Amanda says. “I loved meeting every person that would come into the store, observing what they would buy, what would attract one person to an item and not another. I am a natural people watcher. The psychology behind why one person wasn’t drawn to a product one day, but after being moved to another part of the store would buy it, was interesting to me. As much as I am drawn to art, I’m not an artist, so merchandising became something tangible, a way for me to creatively express myself.”
Amanda later worked at Paul and Joe in London one summer and fell ever more in love with the exchange of goods and curating a shopper’s experience. Before opening her shop Abierto, she was the Creative Director and one of the buyers of BURRO, a gift shop owned by Erinn Berkson with locations in Santa Monica and Venice.
“It wasn’t until I arrived at BURRO that my focus shifted from clothing to everything else; cards, books, candles, jewelry,” Amanda says “The concept of shopping for gifting instead of shopping as I knew it, opened up my world completely.”
Amanda has traveled to many remote parts of the globe and she reflects fondly on growing up in Malibu. “It was and is such a tight knit community here.” A couple years ago, Amanda relocated to Austin, Texas, in hopes of building her brand there. “Community is one of the things I’ve always held dear and one of the first things that drew me to Austin,” she explains.
When the pandemic hit, every part of her plan had to be reimagined. She pivoted to a direct to consumer experience via shopping on Instagram, which took away for her the personal experience to be had perusing a vintage shop, a night market, a bazaar.
“Online shopping takes away the human element,” Amanda shares. “That’s just not me. I am a paper and pencil kind of person, a greeting card writer, a writer of letters. Growing up, my parents would help me write thank you cards to everyone. “My grandmother and I still write each other letters.”
Amanda selects cards made with sustainable and mindful practices. “When you get a card in the mail you feel like someone went out of their way to do something, and they did. You don’t need to spend five hundreds dollars to make someone feel noticed and appreciated. You can spend five dollars on a letterpress card that was printed from a hand-carved block, and printed on a printing press in someone’s garage that is their side-gig, passion project. If I can be the bridge in between that brings that connection together, it’s a dream come true to me.”
Quality craftsmanship is important to Amanda. “I would rather have one quality thing than many lower quality objects,” she says. “I see value in that.”
The shop’s furniture was crafted by Topanga based woodworker and sculptor Chad Hagerman. In the spirit of supporting local artisans and makers Amanda opted for investing in custom pieces or furniture for her goods to rest on.
“I am a creator and I know how long it takes to make something, or how much it costs to source quality ingredients and materials,” she says. “There’s a difference you can feel. This shop is how I’m able to do my part in reinforcing that ethos. It is a huge honor for me to bring my vision to this particular place and this community.”
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