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The duo behind Bows & Arrows is reinventing the business in a new space devoted to nurturing local artists.
In spring, artists Olivia Coelho and Trisha Rhomberg plan to open a new concept rooted in the vintage clothing store they've operated in Midtown for three years.
Coelho and Rhomberg, who are both clothing designers, will continue to sell vintage and repurposed clothing at the new space at 1815 19th St. But Bows & Arrows' new location will also be a place for the creative class to eat, drink, sell art and be exposed to other talent.
"We're the poorest philanthropists you'll ever meet," Coelho said.
Coelho's parents bought the building in June. Coelho and Rhomberg will lease it back. The business partners estimate they'll save $2,500 a month by moving out of their current space at 1712 L St.
They said they're spending every cent they've earned, inherited, borrowed or saved to gut and renovate the interior, which includes building a kitchen and adding skylights. The interior will feature earth tones, vintage furniture, colorful hanging lamps and Mason jar glasses. The vine-covered exterior will be repainted.
The women are as much into nature as clothing and art. If they're not combing through estate sales and flea markets, they're camping and hiking in the mountains or on the coast.
Their love of the environment helped inspire the clothes they make for their own clothing line, Miss Chief of California. They recycle vintage fabric or garments by altering hems, creating modern fits or designing new pieces. Rhomberg compared the process to remixing music.
"We're using what is already there and just putting creativity into making them different," Rhomberg said. "What's rad about them is every one is unique."
The store carries their clothing, jewelry and purses, as well as handmade fashion from other designers. But the clothes and jewelry will be pared down at the new location to make way for an art gallery, cafe and beer/wine bar that will occupy at least half of the 3,300-square-foot space, formerly home to Retrofit Recording Studios. Bows & Arrows will also feature a 1,600-square-foot back patio.
Coelho and Rhomberg, who both majored in fine arts in college, said they wanted to create a special place to showcase emerging artists and musicians of all kinds, while offering an atmosphere that's unpretentious.
"We feel there's a community of people who are under-served – our creative class," Coelho said. "But they are not pretentious, and they don't want to be served or talked to in a pretentious way."
The menu, which is still being developed, will emphasize pairings of food with wine and craft beer from California and Europe. Cheeses, meats, seasonal produce and local baked goods will take center stage. They're in negotiations to hire or partner with a chef.
"There are a lot of nice, high-end restaurants and bars here," she added. "But we end up migrating to the dive bars because we feel more comfortable there."
Rhomberg met Coelho at a fashion/art bazaar called Sellout Buyout in 2004. At that time, Coelho operated her first store, Olipom. Sellout Buyout gave Rhomberg, a Missouri native, her first opportunity to sell the clothes she was designing. Coelho also started carrying Rhomberg's clothes at the store. Rhomberg's line, Pretty Trashy, was later sold online and in 18 stores nationally and in London.
Olipom was destroyed in a fire in 2006. Coelho relocated but closed the store after they teamed up to open Bows & Arrows in 2007. But the 6,600-square-foot space they're currently renting is far too big.
The warehouse holds thousands and thousands of clothes the pair hopes to sell before the move. They plan to hold a huge sale Dec. 18 and won't be buying any more vintage clothing until after they relocate, Rhomberg said.
Sacramento has few galleries for emerging artists to show their work. The closure of their friend's gallery, Fools Foundation, a few years ago has left artists in their circle without enough representation, they said.
Coelho and Rhomberg hope to build a space that will push new artists to the forefront. Many of them are friends of Coelho and Romberg. The women are even partnering with a skater/musician, Sean Stout, to start a local recording label that will put out vinyl records and cassettes.
Hours at the new location will be 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. daily, but may expand to midnight on weekends.
They plan to host events, from fashion shows and bazaars to art receptions, tastings and video screenings – all with the goal of helping artists make a living from their art, the way Rhomberg and Coelho have.
"We want to help support the growth of this artistic community," Rhomberg said. "That can be inspiring to other people."
Photo of Trisha Rhomberg and Olivia Coelho celebrating in front of their new building provided by Bows & Arrows. Other photos by Suzanne Hurt, a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.