Los Angeles is known for many things—movie stars, beaches, traffic jams—but rarely for its arresting store windows. “L.A. shop owners don’t think they need to put much effort into windows because it’s not a pedestrian town,” says Danielle Wilmore, whose mid-city jewelry store, Pyrrha, is bucking that trend and catching the eye of Angelenos who park along boutique-lined W. 3rd St. Drawn by colorfully felted birds and petrified branches, passersby then notice the one-of-a-kind talismans Wilmore and her husband, Wade Papin, handcraft from reclaimed sterling silver and bronze based on their collection of 19th-century wax seals. “People keep the same window for years, but I think if only four people walk by your store in a day, you want to make all four stop and look.”
Never Felt So Good
“We drove down the coast in September,” recalls the Vancouver-based designer, who picked up many of the display items along the way. “We drove through Portland, which is very crafty. There were felted mushrooms, felted birds, felted lambs, and little felted sheep. It’s like this crazy felt town.”
“We liked the idea of birds carrying jewelry in their mouths, all bringing it to a central bird, the king of the birds,” she says of the peacock at the center of the display she and Papin created. It started with the birds and the couple riffed from there. “We started playing with it and thinking about how we work jewelry into this. Obviously, it’s a jewelry store, so it’s kind of nice to have some jewelry in there.”
“You can see people standing outside wondering what kind of store this is,” says Wilmore, who has had people ask her if it’s a crafts store or a gallery. “?‘Oh, you have jewelry in here!’?” she recounts. “I like it because it makes them think a little creatively.”
Welcome to the Dollhouse
“People love to peer in the windows of the dollhouse,” Wilmore says of the roughly 100-year-old wooden structure, which she found at an auction. “There are things that fall off it from time to time. We have to find them on the floor and stick them back on with little finishing nails. It’s humbling.” Customers often ask to buy it, but Wilmore’s not selling. “It’s kind of our mascot. People think of it as the store with the dollhouse.”
“When people come into the store in L.A., it feels like they’re on a mission,” explains Wilmore, who opened the one-and-only Pyrrha shop far from the couple’s Canada base for a simple reason. “Being accessible to stylists and costumers and, obviously, the celebrity element, is key to our business.” Their necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earrings, also sold at select stores internationally, appeal to both genders—evidenced by the celebs who wear them: pop stars Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus and actors Jeremy Renner (Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol) and Michael C. Hall (Dexter).
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