While launching a business during a global pandemic has had its challenges, three business owners on Loudoun Street in Leesburg have decided to take the risk and open storefronts in recent weeks.
wldwst, owned by Lori Tran and Colleen West, opened as a pop-up shop in December 2019 in the circa 1761 Baker House on Loudoun Street, which also serves as their design office space.
After the holiday season, wldwst continued to open on weekends. The business has been such a success, the owners decided to lease a space that is four times larger in the former Art Sweet Art storefront at 2B Loudoun Street.
They expect to complete the move by mid-September. Once in the new location, they plan to be open Tuesday through Sunday.
West, an interior designer and resident of Sterling, met Tran six years ago. She admired Tran’s event floral design business and reached out to her in an effort to connect with other creative people in the industry.
The two immediately hit it off and began collaborating on projects. Eventually it made sense to team up and create a new business model using their combined talents.
The shop focuses on selling products from local and small makers, such as home accessories, candles, pillows, ceramics, rugs, and leather, personal care products and jewelry.
“We are passionate about investing in women and focus on all of the local brands we love. We call our space a design laboratory. I’ve been craving that — to be a part of the revitalizing of Leesburg. I grew up here and never thought I’d come back, but it’s a really creative place,” West said.
Tran agreed, adding, “There are a lot of things here you can’t get elsewhere. This is the first launching point for a lot of brands. We are passionate about supporting other local businesses. Everything here is highly curated, and we have personally used everything we sell.”
More information about wldwst can be found on Instagram or at wldwst.co.
Across the street is The Global Local, located on the lower level at 103 Loudoun St. It opened July 8.
The shop is owned by Tyra Flynn, an Aldie resident who has lived around the world while traveling with the foreign service.
Flynn says she was inspired to open Global Local because of her experiences visiting markets where shopping was always an event. She wanted to recreate a space where people can shop, appreciate local artisans and connect with what they are buying, saying, “That is really important to me.”
The Global Local carries a variety of products — both locally made and from around the world — such as Guatemalan bags and beaded pouches from India, and she only sources products where the artisans are guaranteed a living wage.
Other products in the shop include handmade jewelry by Krysta Solomon, Global Local-branded Loudoun County décor and apparel items, True Honey teas made with local honey, Camp Funshine bracelets, Mango Creek candles, Seemis Confections, images by Brian Balik, vegan leather handbags and more.
Flynn plans to host craft events and other opportunities to connect with the community.
The shop is open Thursday through Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. More information can be found at globallocalshop.com.
Further down the street, next to Delirium Cafe, Elyse Smith has opened Muz & Rose at 3 Loudoun St.
Smith, a resident of Falls Church, has a background in fashion and previously worked in New York City. Several years ago, she decided to make a career change and moved to Virginia where she worked at a sustainable regenerative butcher shop in McLean.
The fashion industry was still her passion, however, and she decided to open her own business with a focus on selling sustainable products.
Growing up in Reston, Smith says she often came to Leesburg and Lucketts to shop, and she has great memories of the community vibe.
Smith signed a lease in January and after a few renovations and delays due to the pandemic, the shop opened June 20.
“There was so much uncertainty when COVID happened, I decided I would rather try and fail than not try at all,” Smith said.
Smith sells a mix of new, vintage and previously owned items.
“We believe in reduce, reuse and recycle. So far, our vintage items seem to be what is resonating the most with people,” she said.
There are also a variety of home accents that have been thrifted or repurposed. In addition, there is locally-made jewelry, apothecary items such as perfume, body oils, candles and migraine masks, and apparel like dresses, tops, bottoms, jackets and sweaters.
Muz & Rose has a buy, sell and trade program, and Smith will meet with people by appointment.
“If you are cleaning out a closet, bring your clothes in,” she said.
The new business owner has started a community herb garden, displays local artists’ work in the shop and hosts pop-ups to help give small local businesses a brick-and-mortar platform.
Muz & Rose (muzandrose.com) is open seven days a week, Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
“It’s been really positive, people seem to like what we are doing. I’m so excited to be part of this community,” Smith said.