MĀVVEN Mercantile, Combines Curation and Community

Mavven owners Lisa Waters (left) and Michelle Villemaire welcome you to their store.


In the ever-changing world of retail, where more people are abandoning brick and mortar storefronts to shop on-line, it takes a unique space like MĀVVEN Mercantile at 15326 Antioch, to welcome customers through the door, again and again.

MĀVVEN Mercantile, a wellness outpost and creative space that combines curated, fair-trade, and sustainable home goods with community events and workshops, is the vision of lifelong friends, Michelle Villemaire and Lisa Waters.

The two women met when Villemaire’s dad, a rocket scientist, moved her family from Saudi Arabia to the small town of Merritt Island, home of NASA’s Space Center.

Instant best friends, they both graduated from Boston University and launched successful careers. Waters began a 25-year PR career in medical sales right out of college and Villemaire, became an Interior designer, DIY expert, television personality, and activist.  Eventually, both women moved to Pacific Palisades where they started families of their own.

The stores name, MĀVVEN is a combination of Waters’ daughter Mabel and Villemaire’s daughter Vivian and speaks to the definition of “maven” – one who is an expert in a field.

“We include Pearl by selling pearls in the shop.” Villemaire said, about her other daughter who will work as a shop girl some days after school.

“It’s important that we show our daughters they can achieve whatever they put their minds to.” Waters said.

“Playfulness and friendship are also important elements of MĀVVEN.” Said Villemaire.

“When my daughter’s friends say this feels like home or I wish this was my home—it is the biggest compliment.”

The women get excited about the idea to have events for teens where everyone leaves their cell phones in a basket at the door.

“We want you to feel enveloped with love and comfort,” Villemaire said. “Think of it as a place where you come and go setting intentions.”

The store, the former site of Collections Antiques and Books, has calming music, cozy furniture, tangible textiles, colorful ceramics made by local artist, Stephanie Morton, tea service and a long open table with a curious bowl of crafts on it.

“We discovered even the paint color we chose for the front door, Aubergine, represents “belonging” on a branding color wheel.” Villemaire said. “Everything you see in here is for sale and can be custom made to order.” This includes the large table in the store which Villemaire made using hand tools with her dad.

“The table was a big deal for us,” said Waters, who initially went out and bought a table that was returned when they realized it had to be much bigger. “It not only represents the craftsmanship and design for sale in our space but also a literal space for community to gather.”

Placed on felt pads, the table can be moved in the center to host DIY workshops or cleared away leaving a wide-open space for classes with movement.

“MĀVVEN Mercantile is about creating things that are beautiful and resourceful,” Villemaire said, who points to the table left behind from the former antique store that she repurposed with samples of paint, and the extra tiles on the signature MĀVVEN wall, from Waters’ kitchen remodel.

“We want this entire process to be organic, down to the events we host and the products we sell. We will listen to the community and see what they want,” said Waters, whose favorite part of working in PR was team building. “By hosting events here, we can help other mavens build their following and brands.”

Workshop events and special classes are held at Mavven.

Some of the experiences you can expect at MĀVVEN are guided meditations, breathwork and mindfulness workshops, eco art, tea and tincture ceremonies and sound baths. If you have never been to a mindfulness workshop or sound bath, picture a spa treatment for your mind, body and soul. Imagine a perfect day on the beach, reclined in a comfortable position, where you are relaxed by calming words and soothing sounds.

MAVVEN Mercantile also offers weekly yoga classes, starting with a gentle flow yoga class every Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. with instructor Kim Harrington, a Palisades resident. And beginning April 27, resident Matty Whitmore will be offering more advanced yoga classes at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. To learn more about the upcoming events  click here.

Whether one wants to buy a journal, commission a piece of furniture, take a yoga class or sign up for a full moon ceremony, MĀVVEN is here to satisfy your, mind, body and “shopping” spirit.

Stop by and shop, chat and sign up for special events at Mavven with store owners Lisa Waters (eft) and Michelle Villemaire.

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