For many new business owners, the pandemic represented a chance to do something they had long wanted to do, or turn a hobby into a full-fledged operation.
But for Lindsey Drahos, the pandemic led to the desire to lend a hand toe small retailersfacing challenges.
She opened Hosful Collective on Parsons Avenue in Olde Towne East in August, 2020, right when other businesses were shutting down. It was an unsure time, but it became an opportunity for Drahos to provide an accessible pathway for small businesses to make it into a storefront.
“We created a space to give other entrepreneurs a chance to have a brick and mortar and a storefront, without the overhead of a storefront,” said Drahos. “So that when all these stores may have been closing, they were able to take their brand and put it into a space without having to pay the full rent.”
Most of the vendors at Hosful Collective are Black-owned, women-owned and minority-owned. They include clothing and jewelry brands, artists and artisans, and creative vendors.
“The whole idea was to basically come together and give other people the opportunity to be entrepreneurs,” Drahos said, adding that Hosful is always accepting new vendors.
Drahos has long had an affection for fashion. She has a background in high-end fashion and retail at Saks Fifth Avenue, working for the retailer in style building and personal shopping. She’s currently a by-appointment style advisor for the company.
The motivation to stock small businesses at her boutique, she said, is partly motivated by her feeling there should be a middle ground between production and getting stocked by high-end retailers.
The shop hosts a weekly Wind Down Wednesday and in February, the shop partnered with art and lifestyle director Bobby Couch to feature local Black businesses and talent, including the brands By the People, Love Savage, and the Short North vintage clothing store Tact Luxe.
For March, the boutique did something similar for Women’s History Month, featuring women-owned businesses and women making a difference in the community.
In addition to the weekly event, which gives designers and vendors the opportunity to mingle with customers, the boutique’s business model also allows vendors stocked in the boutique to work inside the store as a way to get to meet customers.
One of those vendors is Intaglio Home, owned by Leyla Inceoglu. Inceoglu, who moved to Columbus from Manhattan three years ago, sells vintage, globe-trotting items in the boutique.
Inceoglu has a retail background herself, and she helps manage the store. What attracted her to sell her items in Hosful, however, was the community being fostered there.
“My stuff is very global, collected from around the world, and very unique and different,” she said. “I’m just happy that it’s in a shop that people are loving it and appreciating it and supporting it.”
Drahos said it’s not easy starting a business,
but the shop has been blessed to have received so much support from the local creative community, which she says has “become a family.”
“Without the people that are there on a day-to-day basis, without the vendors and the talent that’s in the community, there wouldn’t be a Hosful,” she said.