Pipe and Row: The Clothing Store Kayla Gil Didn’t Want to Start

Pipe and Row: The Clothing Store Kayla Gil Didn’t Want to Start


– I would do these purse
parties, at like 14, I couldn’t even drive. Purse parties, of knock
off designer handbags. – No way! – Oh yeah. (upbeat music) I mean we do get weird
people that come in thinking we’re like a sex shop
or like a weed store. He was just like, you
are gonna waste your life if you are sitting at a desk everyday. Four hours later I am just like sobbing. – [Host] Oh no, no, no. – And then I’m like I guess
I’m starting this store. (upbeat music) – Hey everybody, welcome to the show, this is, I’m so extreme when
I throw my fingers like this, – [Cameraman] Like Brad Pitt? – Yeah it’s like Brad
Pitt from 12 Monkeys. This is a show about (beep) up, making mistakes, recovering
from those mistakes. We talk to entrepreneurs,
we talk to artists, we talk to people with big ideas, that run into some road
blocks, and find out that there are things that
they didn’t know how to do. Today we have Kayla from Pipe and Row. It is a clothing store
but, fancier than that like a clothier store in Fremont, I believe, that’s where it’s at, and I’m excited to meet her, and to make sure that I got
that right when I said Fremont. Let’s get going. (upbeat music) Hey everybody, welcome to the
show, I am here with Kayla. Can you say hi, oh look, you can look at this one too. – Do I need– At the same time that you’re doing that? – No. – Oh, okay. – You can do whatever you want– – Oh, okay. – Probably what we just did
will end up in the show. – Okay, yeah. – If that gives you any
indication of what– – Okay, cool cool cool. – I’m here with Kayla from Pipe and Row, welcome to the show. – Thank you, thanks for having me. – Yeah, tell us more about what you do, about your business, about your store. – Yeah, I have a women’s
clothing store in Fremont, we have online as well. It’s wearable, unique
clothing and accessories at an attainable price point. – Oh, okay okay okay. – Yeah, and we really strive
to have sustainable brands, independent designers, and it’s just really things that you wanna wear every single day. They’re go-to pieces that are like, make your outfit, but also you, are just, it’s so easy to put ’em on. So our tagline is, “Not
your average staple”. – You can tell that you’re better dressed, and always better dressed, than I will ever be, but– – You’re dressed great. – I’m dressed great? Yeah look, I put on a t-shirt! I wonder, how you got into
doing this type of stuff, like how you got into, ’cause
it sounds really unique. – Well, my parents had
craft stores, growing up, so similar to like Michaels. – Really? – Yeah. – So you would go and buy
like craft supplies then? – Yes. They went through everything, we did the floral thing,
scrapbooking, every phase, – Yeah? – There it was and I
would work in the store, Michaels, like from little little– – You worked in a craft store
from when you were like a– – Yeah like pricing candy,
or different things. – Wait, how young? Like pricing candy? – Like, I mean, like 5, 6 years old. Yeah. And so, I think without
even my parents really walking me through anything,
I just took that all in of buying and selling
and, you know, margins, to a certain, you know, without a loose– – Like in general? – Yeah, and I would, my dad would take me to like the candy shows. – What do you remember
from the candy shows? – Oh my god, so many samples! – What? (laughs) – So many samples! – You gotta try all of these candies! – Yeah, I was just–oh
and I was a hoarder! Like I would come home and
I would just have bags of it and it would be under
my bed for like years! – This is better than Halloween! – Yeah. – He would take you to that type of stuff, and so that was built
in, that makes sense– – Yeah and then, so I
think my dad was just always on the lookout
for buying and selling. He’s a super like motorcycle, hunting guy, and that people think it’s so funny that he would sell– – Besides the craft store! I think it’s funny! – And he’s like “well I like
buying and selling stuff, si whether that was, he was
buying and selling houses, or whatever it was, so, yeah, I think that was just, kind of, ingrained, in our household, and I, found out about knockoff handbags, and I would tell my dad– in ninth grade, so my dad new that I new
what was popular, and what everyone wanted,
he would go down to LA and I would tell him,
“Okay, look for this”, I’d give him pictures, “Look for this, “ask for this guy” and he’d be down there negotiating with the guy, and I’d be telling him what to get, and then I went to my mom’s friends, I would do these purse
parties, at like 14– I couldn’t even drive, purse parties, and I would set up in someone’s house, yes, exactly, yes. – You did a purse party! – Of knockoff designers handbags, yeah. Oh yeah. – And they did, wait, did
they know they were knockoffs? – Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. – Oh okay. Sorry! – Yes, oh yeah, no, no no. I would not, I’m not a con-artist! – Just comin’ at you like! – They would go in with them,
and tell their nail lady, and then I’d show up to the nail salon and they’d literally be
going through my trunk, and just like, buying all
the stuff, it was crazy. – So that starts though, ’cause it’s still like a fashion thing, like with the purses, it seems
to be kind of thematically, I think we might have a drink. Are we ready? – Yeah. – [Kayla & Shawn] Yeah! – Your drink tonight is
called the Eighth Fold. – This is so good. – Yeah! – Oooo, gorgeous. – Isn’t that amazing? – Yes, – There’s eight tenants to Buddhism about living right, the eighth of them is, specifically about having rightful unions, rightful connections, being in tune, and, linking up with your
community and your village, in building the village. So this is called the Eighth Fold, you have rum from the Michoacan, from just outside of Willow Acca. You have a little bit of maraschino again, coming from a small village, just on the other side of the world, and then the maraschino
is combined with hyssop, which is a herb that’s
been used religiously for purification rituals. A little bit of blue violet,
cedar tincture, lime bitters. It’s not that complex,
just naming ingredients. – No, not at all, I could
totally make this at home. – Oh yeah, actually you really could. It’s so easy to do. Well, we’ll find out after you taste it. – Alright, which one you want? You’ll take that, I’ll take this one, how do you, do you have a
preferred way off cheers, salute? Okay, so “Salute!” okay. Mm. That hits me before it goes in. (laughs) That was really good. Now eventually you, so you graduated on from handbags to clothes, but, what happens in the middle? – Yeah, so, then I started
working for Nordstrom, when I was 16, and I think that’s where I, that’s where I was able, really, to see what people are
buying at what price, at why they were buying it, the interesting part to me
is how people integrate that into their life. And also, how do you make money off of it? And sell it to people? So yeah, I was there
in and out of college, and all of that was a great
job, to have for that, and then I moved to New
York, you know, I’m like 22, I’m like “This seems
like the coolest thing.” – Now had you been to New York before? – Once. – Once, just like on a
family trip type of thing? – My mom took me for
my 18th birthday, yeah. Yep. I just applied for a bunch of jobs, like a million internships,
did a million different things. Yeah, and, that really helped me to
figure out what I wanna do, I think I figured out a lot
of what I didn’t wanna do, I thought I wanted to be in design, – So first you thought you
wanted to be in design? – Yes. And then, I kind of, I did
internships at like Kenneth Cole, and a few other places, and, I just realized that, I’m good at interacting with the customer and figuring out what they
want, and, kind of all that, and being away from the customer, I felt like it was
somebody else telling me what the customer wanted, and, I just didn’t connect with that. – Seems like you liked
the connection a bit more, on having that dialogue. – Yeah, and I think I like, I like pushing the
boundaries with people, but, within, to a certain degree,
within their comfort zone! – What, tell me about what that means! – So like, so someone’s like, right, so someone’s like, “I only wanna wear…” this is a great, like, “I
only wanna wear skinny jeans.” I’m like “Okay, I hear you. “I’ll give you some skinny jeans. “but why don’t you try this jean “that’s basically skinny but
just straight at the bottom? “Like it’s more modern, more, you know, “different than what you have.” If they like it, great,
but if they’re like “I love this, but I’m
never gonna wear it.” I’m like “Well then don’t buy it.” ‘Cause, I want you to be, all
the items you get from here are like, – “You, I want you to wear them.” – Yes. And you keep coming back,
because there’s those stores you buy stuff from, and you’re like, “I love going down there to buy stuff, “and I never wear anything!” and who wants to keep shopping there? (upbeat music) I never wanted to have a store. – Ever? – Well, people would always say, “Oh, “are you gonna have your own store, “are you gonna have your own line?” and then I was like “No,
no, no, no, no, no.” Like I don’t wanna work for myself, I don’t wanna do that, no, – Well what were you doing at the time, that people would say like “Hey, “why don’t you go do your own store?” – Well just being in fashion, like, like they just think
that’s the dream, right? Which, I guess, but I just
knew how hard it was gonna be, I knew how much work was gonna go into it, and all of that, and I was just like, “Oof, I don’t know if I’m ready for that.” Like, I saw my parents go through it, and the highs, and lows, and I’m like, “I want something stable.” I was working for my brother’s real estate development company. I had just come off working
for another designer, and, it was amazing, but, obviously like, it wasn’t gonna have the money to have me work there
very long to sustain that. I was like, “Okay, this isn’t working, “it’s time to move on.” so my brother was like
“Okay, you can come in, “help us out whenever you want.” knew that this was not my thing, you know? But I actually started working there, and I actually really started to like it, I was like “this is so cool, and learning about accounting, out learning about all these basic
business things in action, that I would have never put
myself in this situation, like the people who worked
there were so great, and normal, and nice, and no one– people weren’t having
like constant meltdowns, like I was used to, I was like “Wow, “this is so nice!” so I had just told my brother, I was like, “Can I work here full-time?” and he’s like “Okay, that’s fine, “but you need to give me two full years. “I don’t want any of this,
‘Oh I found this other thing, “‘that’s cool,'” – Oh your brother made you commit? – Yeah, he was like, because he knew it wasn’t what I really wanted to do, so he was like “Fine, you can do it, “but you need to be here
and commit to this.” and I was like “Okay, I’m
totally in, I’m totally in.” and he’s like “Nope, give me
the weekend to think about it, “and then you can tell me on Monday.” and I met up with an
old high school friend that bought this cafe, and, he told me “You wanna go to drinks?” I’m like “Sure, whatever. “I’ll meetup with you.” no idea what he was
gonna ask me or anything. So I told him this, and he was just like “You cannot do this, you
are gonna waste your life “if you are sitting at a desk every day.” and I was like “no, no, no, no, no,” and, four hours later, I am
just like sobbing, about, and then I’m like, “I guess
I’m starting this store!” – Your business now, you sell, sort of, designer, unique clothing, and, you were very clear on it not being, like “come here, get the one
outfit to wear to the Grammys, and then that’s the only one that exists. – Yeah. That was a learning curve for sure. I thought there would be more, I was carrying more things
that you would wear to events, like weddings, or different things, and, ’cause people were buying that, but they didn’t want to buy that from me. – Why wouldn’t they wanna buy– is it just ’cause you’re
like untrusted, or..? – No, I think they were, you know when you’re on a mission to find a certain dress for something,
that you’re looking online, you’re going to, I don’t know, where exactly they’re going but it was– – So if you have a mission
on like what you want it be, then you’re just gonna go find it, like online or something like that, but yours is more– – Right, and we are
definitely a destination, we have a couple of shops
around us and things, but, – But when people get
things at your place now, even though it’s not a place for weddings, – Yes, they can definitely
find things for a wedding, but we cater to things
that are in everyday wear. I, really try and think about, who, when I look at each item, who is this customer wearing it, not, like “Do I have a friend that would wear this, “where are they going,
what are they doing?” I love the example of
the sexy lawyer, because, – I wanna be a sexy lawyer! – There’s tons of, like, where they’re like super fashionable, pencil skirt with like a
super cool trench coat, and all of this, so, there’s lots of brands that
make that, and it’s like, you look at it and
you’re like, “Oh my god, “that is amazing. “Oh yeah, someone’ll totally
where that for work,” or something, and you really
think about it, and it’s like, I’m in the business of fashion and I’m not even wearing this everyday, where I’m not wearing
that, so what– yeah, why are we selling it? It’s named after my niece and nephew, twin niece and nephew, Piper and Rowan, – Do you have like pipes and… – No. I thought about it, I did think about it! I’m like “Oooo, let’s go like, “we’re by the canal here,
so we could have some oars,” and yeah! – Yeah? Well I guess what types of pipes, I was picturing more like lead pipes, but you’re probably thinking like– – And we do get weird people coming in, thinking we’re like a sex
shop, or like a weed store, I don’t know what they’re
thinking, but I’m like “All right, yeah, okay, be on your way.” like I don’t wanna know more information. – Come on honey, we’re
going to Pipe and Row! (upbeat music) Alright, so you start this,
and it’s all this stuff, it’s smooth sailing,
everything’s good for now, but I know, this is me, there you go! Give us the (beep) up. – So, when I opened
this door, first of all, I didn’t know what I was doing, at all. – Like at all? – Like no. It was an interesting time, it
was right when fast fashion, so like, Zara, H&M, all of
that were at their height, like all these like
cheap, turn around, quick, super cheap, and then slow
fashion and sustainability, all of that was becoming cool too, which, is definitely something I’ve
always wanted to go into, but I just didn’t know how to do that, and I knew people were coming
in asking for it right? But and I knew to, we had a lot of brands that were made in the USA and everything, so it was like people want
this, people want this, and I get it in, and they were like “Where, I only wanna buy
stuff that’s made in the USA, “or, blah blah blah.” and I’m like “Okay, great! “we have this, this, and this,” and they’d look at the price tag, which we try and have, I
call it attainable pricing, it’s like under, we try for under $200, a lot of things are like, around 100. – Yeah. – And they’d be like,
“Why is this so expensive, “and why is this one so cheap?” and I’m like “well,
that ones made in China, “and this one is made in the USA.” and then they’d walk out
with one made in China, when they walked in, telling me, they only wanted that. A lot of things are going
to be made other places, at my price point, right, and I, we try our best to figure out
where they’re being made and what the situation is and
all of that, but, yeah, at the time, people, now people will spend a little more for that, or
some companies only would, but at the time, it’s always
getting in all this inventory, all that stuff, and I was like, “What are you– why is
everyone asking for this?!” and I finally just had
to come down to like, it makes them feel better
to ask about it, and then, they still only wanna pay whatever the lowest possible thing it– – But you had to have
figured that out, like, you go in assuming one thing, and then like “Whoa, wait a second…” – I had more inventory
at opening in one year, then I do even to this day. So I want it to be something for everyone, I was like… Well I wanted to have
all sizes, and inclusive, and blah blah blah, which I would love to have, but I just came down– it’s– you can’t! You know, or I can’t at the scale I’m at, and the customer I have, and, all that, and, it was, I mean, it
took me two-to-three years to get out of that, to be not
paying for that inventory. My dad, also coming from a, you know, he sold, he made so much
money on one dollar items so he kept telling me “You
can’t sell from empty basket, “you can’t sell from empty basket!” so I was like “You’re right, “we need to have a lot of
inventory, to be able to sell!” but like, having more of something doesn’t make it sell more! – Yeah, you took it to the candy! Like, okay. Sounds like, if I came in, it would be, I would end up having a
conversation with somebody. – Yeah we try to make it
a really inclusive, yes, I wanna have an inclusive
space where everyone, I like to think that
we’re really cool, and, all of that, but also, where
you’re not intimidated. And, also where you’re
not just finding stuff, that you’ll find at
Nordstrom, or anywhere else. So I try and really curate
something that’s, special, for people, and makes
people feel really good. I have another (beep) up, yeah not the– – Wait is this the (beep)
up you won’t talk about until you’ve had drinks? Is that what, are we to that point? – I don’t know…? – Yes, alright, keep
going, I’m so excited! – After the first year, and I was like “Okay, enough people know, “I know I’m not gonna be
booming in business, but, “my dream customer was
walking in the door.” even going and trying on stuff. And still not buying anything. And I was just like “what is the deal? “I feel like I know what people want, “I know what people are buying,” and they were buying it, just not from me! – Oh wow! – And I realized, it took me
a long time to realize that, you know, they don’t wanna come in and just buy a basic whatever item, unless it’s the best basic item there is, they want, they’re shopping for something really cool and different, when they’re coming to a small boutique,
and a small place, and going out of their way. I was getting so mad, I was like, “You, I know what you’re
buying, I know what you want, “why won’t buy it from me!” and for a while, I was like “you’re not, “people don’t wanna support “what they say they wanna
support, like small businesses “and they won’t, and blah blah blah” and I got, for a little while
I really did get really angry, and I was just like
“This isn’t gonna work.” and then– – I wish I could see
you every time somebody walked in and walked out, and be like huh? – And then if you’re, you know I’m like, “Okay, what’s in my control? “What can I change in this? “What are they buying?” Okay, go onto that. And it’s like, having
things, the right thing, at the right price points, because it’s not like
people wouldn’t spend, like our rain jacket is $300, but it is, you’ll have
it for your whole life, you’ll wear it everyday, but like, something you wear one time? Yeah, they’ll probably go buy that from Zara or somewhere else, where they wish they would
buy it from me, but, like, at the end of the day, – Yeah. They know, like “This is it.” – Yeah, especially in
the day of social media, those loud things, I mean, you only wanna be photographed
in it, so many times. (upbeat music) – What would you recommend, to other people that would be interested in starting a business? Or starting something? – Yeah. I mean, I definitely
didn’t do my research, I think I kind of
wanted, in a certain way, I liked the fact that I
didn’t know some of the stuff so that I could do it my
own way, because I was like, “Most businesses fail.” and most things– the way everyone’s doing
it, it’s not working. And people are not surviving
as small businesses, so, why don’t I just just do what I feel, and what makes sense to me, and, I think the biggest thing is, figuring out what you’re, what the gap in the marketplace is, and going with that, and
really focusing on that thing, so, for me that was, I was
like “why are all these “boutiques carrying the same thing “that Nordstrom has?” So, I think really just trusting your gut and, you know, listening to your customer and what they want, and figuring out who your customer is, that
might take awhile, but, really figuring out what they want, and, what they want from you. – Yeah. Thank you for being on the show, – Yeah, thanks for having me! – And I am impressed that you can drink and hold your liquor much better than me, I don’t know why I’m impressed, this is bad news man. Like I’ve had a drink and a half in! What’s wrong– the shampoo effect. – The shampoo effect. – Alright let’s do that,
we’ll do that as a cheers on the way out, right? Shampoo effect, are you ready? Shampoo Effect! – Shampoo Effect. – Alright. Kayla, thank you for being on the show, and if you like what you saw, and you wanna see more people like Kayla, come on and, you know,
teach you how to do things, and subscribe, I think there’s the bell or something that you
can ring, and subscribe, and if you have your own (beep) up, that you wanna talk
about, go to effups.com, we’d love to have you on the show.

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