For many new entrepreneurs, the pandemic represented an opportunity to do something they have long wanted or turn a hobby into a full-fledged operation.
But for Lindsey Drahos, the pandemic has led to a desire to lend a hand to small retailers facing challenges.
Hosful Collective opened on Parsons Avenue in Olde Towne East in August 2020, just as other businesses were closing. It was an uncertain time, but it became an opportunity for Drahos to provide an accessible path for small businesses to turn it into a showcase.
“We created a space to give other entrepreneurs the ability to have a brick and mortar shop and window display, without the overhead of a window,” said Drahos. “So that when all of these stores could close, they were able to take their brand and put it in one space without having to pay the full rent.”
Most of Hosful Collective’s suppliers are owned by blacks, women and minorities. They include clothing and jewelry brands, artists and artisans, and creative vendors.
“The idea was basically to come together and give other people the opportunity to be entrepreneurs,” said Drahos, adding that Hosful is always accepting new suppliers.
Drahos has long had a passion for fashion. He has a background in high-end fashion and retail at Saks Fifth Avenue, working for the retailer in style building and personal shopping. He is currently a style consultant by appointment for the company.
The motivation to stock small businesses in his boutique, he said, is partly motivated by his sense that there should be a middle ground between manufacturing and being stocked by high-end retailers.
The store hosts a weekly Wind Down Wednesday, and in February the store partnered with art and lifestyle director Bobby Couch to showcase local black businesses and talent, including By the People, Love Savage brands and the vintage clothing store. Short North Tact Luxe.
For March, the boutique did something similar for Women’s History Month, with women-owned businesses making a difference in the community.
In addition to the weekly event, which gives designers and sellers the opportunity to mingle with customers, the boutique’s business model also allows sellers stored in the boutique to work within the store to meet customers.
One such supplier is Intaglio Home, owned by Leyla Inceoglu. Inceoglu, who moved to Columbus from Manhattan three years ago, sells vintage and globetrotting items in the boutique.
Inceoglu herself has a retail background and helps run the store. What attracted her to selling her belongings to Hosful, however, was the community being promoted there.
“My stuff is very global, collected from all over the world and very unique and different,” he said. “I’m just happy that it’s in a store that people love, appreciate and support it.”
Drahos said it is not easy to start a business,
but the store has been fortunate to have received so much support from the local creative community that it has “become a family” in her opinion.
“Without the people who are there every day, without the salespeople and the talent that is in the community, there would be no Hosful,” he said.