Feliz Modern, which opened two years ago in Olmos Park and attracted a loyal following, is about to spin off a version of itself that looks like its hip, younger sister.
The colorful store featuring work from local artists, gifts and toys, party goods, and home decor will open a new concept store, Feliz Modern Pop, at the Pearl on Sept. 26, and owners Ginger and Mario Diaz say it will offer everything customers like about the first store, but with even more vibrancy.
“[We’ll] have soda, balloons, a mixture of vintage and new candy, custom chocolates, and toys and gifts [but] it’s not a kid store,” said Ginger Diaz. Compared to Feliz Modern, the new store, “will be like K-pop – more bright colors, you know, like more of a Hello Kitty and Andy Warhol kind of mixture.”
She and her husband opened Feliz Modern in 2017 in a West Olmos Drive building they bought to serve as a photography studio for her and design studio for him. They planned to renovate a bigger section of the space and lease it to a restaurant or other business, but that didn’t pan out, Diaz said.
“So we started thinking about this idea of having a shop to feature local art and where we would run it ourselves,” she said. “We had this space that we felt like we could do something really cool with. And I wanted to get into interior design. A friend had told me, ‘You know, if you have your own shop, you’re your own client and you can redesign that thing constantly and add your color and texture and your voice.’”
Convinced, Diaz began by stocking the store with the kinds of items she had bought for her own home, reaching out to local artists for other products. The name for the store came from a brainstorm of all the words that described what she hoped the store would look like: happy, bright, clean and modern, not fussy. Her husband designed the logo, as he does much of the store’s more popular items, including stickers and T-shirts.
Among the gifts and décor that range in price from a 25-cent plastic toy to a $2,500 original work of art, displays of candles, greeting cards, stickers, seasonal decor, party supplies, clothing, and more fill the store. Inventory changes regularly.
Feliz Modern also hosts pop-up shows where artists sell their work. A popular one is Danielle Madrigal and her line of wearable art, Fruity Poms.
“We’ve been really lucky to have artists that will create pieces that are affordable for people. And that shows you don’t have to be a millionaire to have inspiring work on your walls [or] on your ears,” Diaz said.
They’ve also gone from two employees in the early days to eight, mostly artists themselves. But owning a retail store was a new venture for the couple, who say their only retail experience was working as a cashier in a general store.
“The first year was really rough. If I had known what I know now, I would have delegated much sooner,” said Diaz, the mother of two boys. “So we started doing that more and it’s just been a game-changer. I have a life. I have days off now.”
The couple already had the idea brewing for Feliz Modern Pop and was searching for a place in Southtown when Pearl officials contacted Diaz. Space was opening up in a high-traffic part of the Pearl development formerly occupied by Melissa Guerra Latin Kitchen Market and the Vintage Bouquet Bar.
“They were looking to have us move Feliz Modern into the Pearl if we were interested,” Diaz said. “But we love our location now.” So she pitched what she said is one of her two spinoff ideas – the hip, younger sister to Feliz Modern.
Feliz Modern Pop will open in a 1,600-square-foot space next door to Dos Carolinas and across the street from Local Coffee. The store will have a second entrance facing the Pearl Stables, near the old locomotive.
Open daily starting at 10 a.m., except for Saturdays when it opens at 9 a.m., the store’s closing times will vary between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
While Feliz Modern Pop is planned as a permanent fixture at the Pearl, three pop-up stores are also coming to the Pearl’s Dielmann Building, the former location of Il Sogno Osteria, for a limited run this fall. They include boot maker Miron Crosby, the furnishings store Period Modern, and Guadalajara-based design shop Hello Diseño Mexico.