Meet Melissa Akkaway from Beckley Boutique
Beckley There are certain fashionable women in Los Angeles who have a specific relaxed, urban sophisticate air to them. This is mostly afforded to them thanks to their clothes, wares that look neither familiar nor drab but are exciting in their clever designs. These women appear to be wearing one-of-a-kind clothing made for them. They have to shop somewhere! But where? They likely shop at Beckley Boutique.
The West 3rd Street store is one of Mid-City Los Angeles’ most understated fashionable spots. It’s neon orange sign welcomes you into a tall, industrial but luxurious space that is lined with colorful, powerful clothing for women. The selection features bright patterned tops and dainty cocktail dresses. There are sleek pants and sexy swimwear items. It’s easy to mix genres of style and find something one-of-a-kind: everything in Beckley is made for that specific Los Angeles woman. The styles carried in Beckley are very much representative of the store’s owner and brand founder, Melissa Akkaway. She’s a sharply dressed woman who executes her own personal style with ease. Like her shopper, she is fashionable yet personable. This is obviously on purpose: that is the Beckley Experience.
“I felt there was a void in the market,”Melissa says. “There needed to be something that focused on customer service and getting to know your clients in a deep way, trying to service them and be in touch with in personal way. This can be telling them about new pieces available or checking in on them, asking them how their vacation was and if they enjoyed wearing that dress they purchased here. We want a really relaxed environment with knowledgeable sales people who have a passion for fashion. I have that passion and I really channel that here.” “We call it the Beckley Experience,”she adds. “We’re here for everyone who comes in. If you want to chat for an hour or shop for an hour or want to have a coffee, we’re here. We want the environment to be a place where you can shop and have a relaxing, enjoyable time. We focus on having no judgement here. You never know who anyone is.”
Melissa finds herself in fashion by way of the restaurant business. She attended business school and always had a love for shopping: she wanted to create something that she felt the retail world needed. “I transitioned to retail about seven years ago,”she says. “I love retail because I love helping people. I’m not only the owner but the buyer as well: I buy every piece here. I chose every single piece here. I try to find pieces that I love that are also sellable and unique, including well known as well as emerging brands, whose styles I think are great.”
Beckley moved to West 3rd Street a year and a half ago from Melrose and Huntley, near the Pacific Design Center. The move was to get to a part of town that was a little more exciting—and the area definitely was that. “West 3rd Street reminds me of New York,”she explains. “It’s a part of town where people actually stroll and walk around. People will go to Joan’s On Third and then walk down the street and stumble upon a bunch of stores. That’s what I was interested in finding. I wanted a place that still had small boutiques and wasn’t infiltrated by big box stores. This area has an energy, specifically this part of the street because we have our store and Satine and Doughboys and Little Door. Right here, we have four or five synergistic, energetic stores and restaurants that are open morning, noon, and night. It’s a neighborhood family—and I think that’s great. We may sell similar things but it’s still very different and complimentary. Someone can shop here and then ten other places on West 3rd and be good.”
“I hope that Beckley is a destination for people visiting Los Angeles,”she adds. “And, if you live in Los Angeles, we obviously want to work with you. I hope to be on the street for years to come. I want West 3rd Street to be our home and I feel like we have made if feel that way in the past year and a half.”
DEFINING WEST THIRD STREET I feel like West 3rd Street is an eclectic mix of retail and restaurants and bakeries and hair salons: it’s not your everyday street. It doesn’t have huge name brands—and that’s enticing to people. They want to shop local. They want to shop where they live. They want to have that community. That’s what West 3rd Street is.
WHERE THEY SHOP I’m obsessed with Joan’s On Third. It’s so good. I go to Fonuts quite a bit too. For shopping, I go to to Satine a lot and Wittmore, if I’m looking for men’s stuff. That’s probably it: I don’t really get out! I’m usually stuck here.