There is such beauty in experiencing another’s vision. Tiffany Payne Malkin’s vision, The Arc Shop, is breathtakingly gorgeous. A retail store on Hollywood Blvd in Los Angeles that carries a collection of refined handmade goods and thoughtfully curated objects from around the globe, The Arc feels like a creative safe haven, a den to dream and take a piece of inspiration home with you.
Aside from the art-forward aesthetic is the ethos behind The Arc. Nearly 90% of the products in the show are produced by women, thus stimulating economic stability for women around the globe. Drawn to Tiffany’s eye and her overarching vision for the shop, we were compelled to have a conversation with her about her drive, aspirations, and musings. Get to know her below.
LF: Tiffany, what factors influenced your decision to open The Arc?
TP: After starting my family and putting the career I had built to the side, it was very important to me to build my next adventure by creating a business that incorporated all of my passions into one place. The Arc was the perfect way to combine my previous career experience as a production designer, my degree in art history and my interest in travel, specifically how cultures manifest their identities in different objects. I want to engage with the world and artists in a meaningful way and create an environment for others to do the same.
LF: Approximately 90% of the goods featured in The Arc come from a global network of female makers. Can you describe your process for sourcing the goods featured in the shop?
TP: The way I select the goods is influenced by a specific design aesthetic I have cultivated through my life experience, my studies, exploring the world, and from the relationships I’ve had with certain mentors in my production design career. My process in articulating the collection for The Arc also plays into my love for design and history while giving me the opportunity to focus on female artists, makers, and entrepreneurs. I can create a platform for these women who have been muted throughout history. I also wanted to create economic independence for myself and other women in whatever capacity I could. My resourcefulness in finding intriguing objects can be traced back to my long-standing interest in other cultures, decor, spaces, architecture, and art even as a child. Both of my grandmothers were very creative people, so this is in my DNA.
LF: How do you balance your creativity with your entrepreneurship?
TP: When I was thinking about this business, I wanted to integrate those two things the best I could. I didn’t want them to feel like they conflicted, one detracting from the other. It is a challenge to think about the brass tacks of a business and be mindful of logistics while carving out the headspace to be creative. I think my background in production design, where we had to be nimble, creative, all while being conscious of logistics and more practical matters, has helped me build that skill set.
LF: What advice would you offer other women looking to launch their own business?
TP: Lay as good a foundation as possible by doing your homework. Develop your vision, but be willing to take risks. Be comfortable with failure and fear. Be your most authentic self because when you are in that headspace, that frame of mind, you remain open to things evolving in ways you perhaps might not have imagined. Things can end up blossoming in magnificent ways. Be open to the evolution of the business. That doesn’t mean being rudderless, but being fluid. The challenge of being structured and fluid at the same time is the yin and the yang of it all.
LF: Where was the last place you traveled to?
TP: Paris, France. Always lovely.
LF: The Arc is a business that champions women through its brand ethos. When conceptualizing the shop, was this a conscious decision? Or did highlighting a myriad of women come naturally in the brand development process?
TP: It was a conscious decision! That idea naturally exploded in my imagination and all the possibilities of what could be done within this business – the opportunity for women to support other women in their creative processes and economic developments, to attempt an undoing of patriarchal morays that have plagued women since the beginning of time. This is something that excites me and something I am very driven by.
On a lighter note, the other catalyst in developing the concept of The Arc is being amongst all of these incredibly talented women and thinking how I might harness them and bring them together. To create a community or a series of communities is also very inspiring to me.
LF: Where do you envision yourself in five years? How about The Arc in five years?
TP: I envision myself running a thriving and successful business! Having accomplished a better work-life balance and truly striking balance in a variety of ways. I hope my children can be integrated into the business and travel the world with me as I find and discover new artists. I’d love to explore more with my family and discover places and people to work with.
I’d also love to partner with organizations who are elevating traditional ways of making. The partnerships bring an interesting dimension to the objects we surround ourselves with. It gives us the ability to affect real meaningful change. We can participate in helping women set up their small businesses and implement legitimate cultural shifts that have a positive impact on the lives of the women in those communities.
I’d love to do this both in the US and globally. It’s something that is universal.
LF: What was the greatest challenge you encountered in launching The Arc? How have you responded to it?
TP: The greatest challenge has been and is the planning process of how to best execute the ideas and dreams. Another challenge is living by this notion of being fluid and open and not having everything be perfect – knowing that everything may not get crossed off my list and be okay with that.
How have I responded to it? Deep breaths and a sense of humor. Also, knowing that I work extremely hard all the time and give 100%. I have to acknowledge that and not be too hard on myself.
LF: How fast do you live?
TP: Very fast. But, it takes me a long time to get out the front door…ha!