Unique LA started in 2008 and quickly became the largest buy-local shopping event in the country. Attendees got the rare chance to meet and shop directly from hundreds of carefully selected designers and artists all in one space. Community leader and head designer Sonja Rasula pushed forward with the local-made design and art idea to support the small businesses and the Made in the USA movement.
What stood out to Rasula was that this community of brilliant artists and designers didn't necessarily have any background in social media, accounting or website-building to make it in the industry on their own—and that this issue could be fixed if Unique had a home base.
A year ago, Rasula decided it was time to drop the anchor and find a space to host and house as many of these entrepreneurial artists as possible. She found the perfect home in LA's Artist District, an area with a rich cultural history for young artists. With the growth of big business in the LA area, it became especially important to Rasula to keep the arts culture there alive. She's taken a huge step in the ongoing development of the community by taking on this abandoned warehouse. "Art and creativity can inspire, start conversation and create change," Rasula explains. "Making sure LA maintains an area for artists to create and grow in is crucial for the city's creative economy."
The space will house about 100 artists and designers with 15 private offices leased to artists on a yearly basis and large co-work space for designers who don't need the privacy, but are looking for a productive environment. It'll also have a kitchen and dining room along with a rooftop patio for all kinds of events. Rasula explains, "I hope it will be the spot in the city for holding book launches, workshops, fashion line launch parties, etc. We want to support the growth of creativity. My goal is to create thousands and thousands of ripples over the next 10 years. The possibilities are endless."
Because the charming warehouse space and future home of Unique is almost 100 years old, it needs some help to it bring up to speed. So Raula started a crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter for the The Unique Space. For Unique trade-show dates across the country check out Unique USA.
Images courtesy of Sonja Rasula