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Meet Alexandra Hall of Maven in Normal Heights

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexandra Hall.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I spent my childhood in San Francisco and Santa Cruz, before moving south to San Diego in 2000. Prior to opening my own business, I studied fashion design, worked in retail for over a decade and started a family – each phase in my life lended to this future venture that would become maven. I opened the shop in 2015 in Normal Heights on the corner of 30th Street and Adams Avenue with the intention of exposing the surrounding neighborhood and locals to inspiring brands and artists from beyond San Diego.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Owning a small business has been a hard but rewarding experience – anyone who has done it will tell you that. Finding a space in particular was extremely difficult…and almost caused me to give up on the idea altogether. I couldn’t get this little corner shop out of my head, as I had been turned away originally. I kept driving past and I knew that this storefront was meant to be maven. So a few months later, I called up the owner and asked again. Although my persistence clearly ended up paying off, I was then faced with some serious setbacks in our build out that I didn’t anticipate at all. We had to replace doors, confront wood rot and termites, raise the floor three inches, build a wall…. It was a pretty overwhelming list. But luckily I had the help and support of my incredible family who helped to rebuild the space. I am so proud of it – maven has so much soul.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
The concept of maven is to expose San Diegans and local shoppers to brands and makers that they may have not seen or have had access to. I seek to provide a platform for local and independent artists and designers. About 90% of the goods in the shop are ones you cannot find in anywhere else in San Diego – sometimes even on the West Coast. I’m proud to work with and represent brands that inspire me daily. I am first and foremost a creative. maven is truly a passion project and a labor of love. My favorite part of my job is the diversity of each day – as I’m doing something new every single day. It’s amazing to build a community surrounding this shop and work with such an amazing team of creative women.

What were you like growing up?
I went to a performing arts school starting at the age of 5 and loved being in plays and singing. I continued in performing arts through high school and would belt it out at every talent show! I also was in the GATE program for art. You could describe my personality as outgoing and creative? I was also pretty competitive and did gymnastics and softball for years. In high school I used to hand sew my denim super tight before skinny jeans were popular, I would stud my friends leather jackets for them and dyed my hair all sorts of colors. I went through a pretty rebellious phase for a while and was so inspired by the ’77 punk movement. Punk music really led me to fashion, ironically enough. I started drawing my own designs around that time, as I didn’t like anything in stores and wanted so badly to be a designer. My mom always had Vogue laying around and I would spend hours ripping them apart for inspiration. That led me to attend FIDM and ultimately inspired me to open up the shop.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Taylor Balding and Emily Poole

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