SiliconBeachClearly: Lincoln & Rose Showcases Local Venice Artisans
Posted Wednesday, May 21 – 8:05 a.m.
Latest breaking from SiliconBeachClearly.com: Husband-and-wife team Jeremy Reed and Nicole Urso Reed are longtime Venice residents who share their love of the neighborhood and sense of community via the start-up website Lincoln & Rose. It has all the grassroots feel of a blog, but with a professional design and smart writing more in line with a glossy magazine. And that makes sense: the cute couple met while both were editors at Citysearch.
The topics they cover capture the eclectic vibe of the area, from why happy mamas enjoy raising kids in Venice to an interview with the guys behind Venice Duck Brewery. The business model is also predicated on local products, including artisanal pottery, money clips made from repurposed wood (you’ll get a kick out of where it was sourced – see below), salted caramels, fixed-gear bikes, and succulent planters.
SBC: Tell us about your career backgrounds and your path to entrepreneurialism.
Jeremy: Both our backgrounds are in writing and editing. We actually met working at Citysearch. I went on to build the content team at Demand Media, while Nicole worked in product development and continued freelance writing, and we always kept coming back to the idea of doing something together that was editorial-focused, something local and lifestyle, even as just a fun side project. We’ll always be two editors who love to find and tell stories.
SBC: How did you come up with the idea for Lincoln & Rose? What’s the main goal of the site?
Nicole: Jeremy used to have an awesome fanzine called Nothing Shocking — a play on the album from one of his favorite L.A.-based (actually Venice) bands, Jane’s Addiction. Whenever we talked about starting our own project, the idea of a fanzine kept coming up. We wanted to do something local and we wanted to tell stories that leaned on the positive side of what we enjoyed about our neighborhood.
We’ve seen it change so much in the past few years, especially where we live, a couple blocks south of Lincoln and Rose. After a brief stint blogging for LAist, I knew that people responded to great local stories. They’re interested and want to talk about it with friends and share it, and the best part is that it’s all fairly positive, so instead of rapid-fire blog posts, we decided to focus on fewer stories, original reporting, and we gave it the feel of a magazine — big photos and interviews.
SBC: What have been your biggest challenges so far, in terms of starting and maintaining the business?
Jeremy: Lincoln & Rose is a passion project, but the hope was always that we would build an audience and find an opportunity to grow a business. That was our first and greatest challenge — if we’re not going to follow the ad model of most other blogs, then what’s the business?
As we told the stories of our neighborhood, we met several artists who made very cool, unique handcrafted goods — folks like Frankie Scanlon and Vanessa Lengies who blend these delicious cooking salts under the brand Gustus Vitae, or Cindy and Curtis Ripley, who’ve been in Venice since the ’80s, shaping their signature Luna Garcia pottery. One by one we asked if we could sell some of these goods on our site, and everyone loved the idea. Last November when we launched the Lincoln & Rose Marketplace, we had our business.
Of course, there’s only so big you can grow in one neighborhood, so we launched another in Huntington Beach (Main & PCH). [It’s] the same concept of a local fanzine and marketplace — and we have others in the works. It’s been incredibly exciting and rewarding to hear positive feedback from readers and the makers who we’ve partnered with, but equally nerve wracking self-funding this project and making the decision to invest our full-time [efforts].
SBC: How do you see it developing in the future, and what challenges do you think you’ll face?
Nicole: Just getting the word out. Venice is a little more than three square miles with a population around 140,000 people. Yet, more than 16 million people visit each year. We want to continue to be a daily resource for the residents of our neighborhood and yet, at the same time, be the place to find the best locally made art, clothing, jewelry, furniture, and collectibles for everyone who loves Venice as much as we do.
Just last week, we shipped out several Mother’s Day gift bags bundled with items from our Marketplace. It was great to see our shared love of Venice from everyone who sent these to their moms all across the U.S.
SBC: How did you guys meet? Is Lincoln & Rose a full-time job or more of a passion project at this point?
Jeremy: We met in 2006, working at Citysearch, an online city guide that covered everything from restaurants and nightlife to spas and hotels. We started talking about music and San Pedro, which is where Nicole grew up, and the rest is history. We were married in 2010 and had always talked about doing a project together.
In March 2013, we bought the domain for Lincoln & Rose and when we launched the Marketplace last November, this quickly changed from passion project to full-time commitment. Along with the Marketplace, we also launched our sister site, Main & PCH, in Huntington Beach. We did this with HB resident Lauren Lloyd, who was a good friend and a former editor at LAist.
We still pick up some consulting work on the side, but there’s not a day or night or weekend that goes by, that we’re not writing stories, processing sales, meeting with makers, or handling all the other aspects that encompass our worlds.
SBC: When did you move to Venice? What’s your favorite part about being part of this neighborhood?
Nicole: Jeremy’s been in Venice for about 10 years, and I’ve been here close to the same. Aside from the gorgeous weather, proximity to the beach, and great food options, Venice truly is a small-town community, and that’s what we love. It’s a walkable neighborhood, and we always run into friends. We live a few doors down from Baby Blues BBQ and our favorite meals are always at the bar, chatting about neighborhood happenings. Jeremy grew up in Arlington, Texas, and I’m an L.A./Pedro girl, so we feel right at home here.
SBC: How do you choose which people/businesses to partner with, in terms of featuring their products? Are they all local to Venice?
Jeremy: Lincoln & Rose is an actual intersection, but we cover anything that we think would be interesting to someone who lives in the general area. Who knows — maybe we’ll introduce a list of weekend events “worthy of crossing the 405.”
Though most of the items in the Marketplace are made by people who live and work in Venice, we have others like Nita Blum, an incredibly talented jewelry maker and the creator of Golden Plume Jewelry. She’s just south of Washington in nearby Marina del Rey, but strongly tied to Venice and even started her jewelry making career on Abbot Kinney, so we totally claim her as Venice.
There’s also a great couple behind Ansel & Adelaide, who make beautiful money clips from reclaimed wood. They live in Mar Vista, but some of the reclaimed wood they used for the “Lesser Evil” Woodman Wallet was leftover from the construction of the Google offices in Venice. So we totally claim them, too.
SBC: How can our readers help you (aside from buying your products)?
Nicole: Check us out, hear the stories, get to know us through our social channels (Facebook, Twitter) and, if you like, please tell a friend. A lot of our fans (like our moms) will take their Lincoln & Rose or Main & PCH tees and totes on vacation and post a picture for us to share. This has been a lot of fun. We have friends of L&R in Rio de Janeiro, Dominica, Tulum, Sanibel Island in Florida, even running the L.A. Marathon.
SBC: What are some of your favorite places to go out in L.A. and why do you like them?
Nicole: We’re regulars at Baby Blues BBQ, all the stops along Rose Ave., and we love meeting for [morning] coffee and croissants at the new Superba Food + Bread on Lincoln. Now that it’s summer, you’ll also find us at Hinano’s for burgers and beer at the beach, or Hama at happy hour. Beyond our beach bubble, we’re in San Pedro visiting with the family, and when we’re feeling adventurous we try to get to some of the new spots popping up Downtown.
SBC: Anything to add?
Jeremy: Our plans for the future include building out new marketplaces and really creating sales and exposure for these amazing makers. As we mentioned, we have a sister site in Huntington Beach and have plans to launch similar intersection sites in Portland, Austin, Brooklyn, Manhattan Beach, Long Beach, Columbus, and Seattle.
This experience has been so rewarding for us, and the response we’ve received in such a short period of time has really encouraged us to keep building and to give more editors a chance to tell their stories of their neighborhoods. Somehow we’ve come full circle to where it all began, working together and feeling the love of all things local.