Theodora, aka The Bug Girl, sat down to answer some questions from the "Local Stories" VoyageLA team which were posted on the Voyage site November 16, 2022. What transpired reads below...
Hi Theodora, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today.
Small business is in my blood. I grew up working with my mother and father in our family businesses, my memories of childhood filled with moments of creativity, beauty, and hard work in a multitude of different businesses they owned and that we operated together. Business for us has always been about family and living through art. In 2007, as I finished my BA in Anthropology at Occidental College, my folks and I finally started a business together, the business we still own and operate today, called Gold Bug. A lot has changed since then, but the guiding principals have always stayed the same.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
In the last 15 years, we have moved the store THREE times, as property owners changed around us, withstood recession, and survived a pandemic by pivoting to online sales…I think that small business is always a bit of a struggle. I don’t think that there is an end to that, it’s hard work that keeps on coming and constantly keeps you on your toes. I like to think of the bumps in the road not so much as struggles, rather as opportunities to grown, get stronger, and become even more resilient.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Gold Bug is perhaps most easily described as a Contemporary Cabinet of Curiosities, a collection of notable specimens of human artifact through art and other found objects of natural history presented in a museum atmosphere. We specialize in procuring unique art objects created by independent artists from around the world, considered to be masters at their craft, and inspired by nature. There are ever-changing displays of one-of-a-kind pieces mingled with hand-made jewelry, home decor pieces, and unique gifts. Gold Bug walks the line between “store” and “gallery”, offering art for everyday life. Over the years, Gold Bug has become a destination for international travelers looking for a unique experience here in Los Angeles, artists looking for gifts and inspiration for designers searching for statement pieces or conversation starters for the home, tv, or stage. We show only the things that truly inspire us, aspiring to create a space that celebrates authenticity and individuality. As retailers, I believe that we are quite unique in this.
What does success mean to you?
For me, success is doing something that you love, surrounded by people who fill your life with inspiration. In this regard, I couldn’t be more successful! Every day, because of the shop, I interact with people who are driven just as I, to live their days surrounded by art. We share ideas, inspirations and excitement about projects we are working on, books we are reading, and places we have traveled. That’s what I love most about what I do, interacting with the community. I feel honored and supremely grateful to meet so many amazing and talented people from all walks of life and to know that we are bound by our shared love of nature, science, and most of all, ART.
Read more inspiring stories from small business owners from around Los Angeles at http://voyagela.com