When today's shopkeeper first contacted me to order cards for her less-than-100-square-feet shop, my home studio was an overflowing room of similar size and couldn't imagine trying to turn it into a store. Since then I have been constantly impressed and delighted by all the treasures to be found alongside a few of my cards at this tiny, magical place in L.A.! Please welcome this kindred appreciator of snacks, doggies, and Danny Trejo.I'm Emi, owner and renaissance woman at Pygmy Hippo, located in my hometown of Los Angeles, CA!
Are there any specialties your shop is known for?
The off-beat, the cute and the curious! Our stapes over the last 4 years have definitely been a tight selection of indie greeting cards, hand painted nesting dolls (done as everything from Broad City to The Ramones), locally made perfumes, art zines, vintage kitsch and statement jewelry.
What are five things I'd be sure to see if I wandered the neighborhood where your shop is located?Restaurants, rappers, chabadniks, skaters and lots of cute dogs.
Are you an artist or craftsperson yourself? If so, please tell me a little bit about what you create:
Yes ma'am! I owned and designed a natural history inspired jewelry line from 2005-2010, where I made most of my pieces ouf of scarab and jewel beetles, and I still like to dabble in that arena when I have the time. Being raised in a very DIY or DIE household has allowed me to dabble in varying mediums, and I like to make the standard crafty staples, like terrariums, candles, soaps, but at the moment I'm most excited about the line of Pygmy pillows and paper goods we're working for the shop!Does your shop have any resident pets or mascots?
The magical and glorious Pygmy Hippo is our mascot of course, but we think all of the dogs that visit us on a daily basis are honorary mascots, too!
Describe the most exciting or weird customer you have ever had.
Maybe it has to do with the type of people who go out of their way to seek out a tiny whimsical store, but seriously, all of our customers are interesting and smart and always share the best stories with us!
If your shop had a coat of arms, what images would be on it, and what would your motto be?
Ooooo okay, the coat of arms would incorporate a silhouette of the state of California done in gold glitter, a pink Pygmy Hippo, party poppers spraying confetti, plus a mix of marijuana, puppies, and japanese candy. And while ultimately I hope to encourage and inspire people to march to the beat of their own drum, we don't really have a shop motto! A couple of quotes come to mind, I think it was Judy Garland who said to “Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else,” which is forever relevant, and of course, the late great Frank Zappa also brilliantly said, “If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it."
And lastly, because I'm Betty Turbo, I must ask: What is your favorite dessert?
Bameih and zoolbia! Bameih are basically little donuts (even shaped sort of donut hole-ish) made from a yogurt and starch-based dough that gets fried before being dipped into saffron rosewater syrup. Zoolbia is made the same way with the same flavors, but it looks more like a funnel cake than a donut hole, and they are usually served together with piping hot black coffee and one cube of sugar!
Enjoy the magic of Pygmy Hippo and shop online! And follow their super fun Instagram feed!