Artisans: Lemon Frog Shop: A Best-Kept Secret in Thrifting

In the all-too hipster neighborhood of Echo Park, there is no shortage of resale shops. Just east of the Sunset Junction you’ll find a vintage shop at almost every corner. It’s like trying to find a Starbucks in Beverly Hills. Just look up, and you’re there.

There’s one shop that most don’t know about. It’s a tiny, nondescript storefront off of Sunset Blvd. that most will stroll right by without even noticing. But inside, it’s one of the raddest, baddest vintage clothing shops in the area. And if you’re brave enough (and have pockets deep enough) to trek to the roped-off back section of the store, you’ll find some authentically rare items.

Hand-stitched leather bags from the pioneer days. Perfectly preserved felt and feather hats from the 1920s. An extensive collection (as in, hundreds) of imported leather platforms and boots from Italy and Spain. A shelf comprised solely of authentic Gucci handbags.

If you think you can handle the temptations, head on over to Lemon Frog Shop. I’ve been smitten with it ever since my first visit.

I recently caught up with Miki Curtiss, the owner of Lemon Frog Shop. I just had to get the skinny on what’s behind her fantastic little store.

Let’s start with the name of your store, Lemon Frog Shop. What’s the story there?
I wanted a name that was happy, colorful, and psychedelic sounding. I actually found it in an old Sears catalog…and when I saw it, I knew that was exactly what I was looking for! Plus, it has a fruit and an animal–two of my favorite things!

Your store is filled with not only the standard vintage wear, like leather cowboy boots and brass charm necklaces, but also true rarities like Native American handbags, Revolution-era laced leather boots, and handcrafted moccasins. How are you able to track down such authentic and priceless cultural heirlooms?
That is a common question! Of course I cannot give away my sources–but I do get things from many, many places!  A lot of older pieces are from estates. A lot of the jewelry that is new-old stock comes from a place in my hometown. This is my life so I am always on the lookout where ever I go!

How long has Lemon Frog Shop been around, and what was your career like before that?
I opened [Lemon Frog Shop] October 2007, so just over three years. I worked in several vintage stores to gain experience, ranging from cheap to high-end, giving me the experience to really know how much people are willing to pay for different items. If something is very hard to find, has great details I have never seen before, a great color, good condition, etc., I know there are people who will pay top dollar.

What’s the clientele like on any given day in Lemon Frog Shop?
The patrons of my store vary so greatly in Echo Park!  The extremes would be a girl on drugs with feces running down her leg…, young school girls who like to shoplift, some homeless. On the other end, very wealthy or famous clients who don’t even look at the sale side and spend a large sum in ten minutes. Most people, if they are really shopping, will find something in my shop. That is my motto: something for everyone, every color, every size, and every price–that is why there is so much stock! But I love to help you find what you are looking for!

Your store is located in the somewhat grimy, up-and-coming hipster neighborhood Echo Park. What are the perks of being in this location over any other more affluent or more established neighborhoods? Is the local clientele appreciative of your more valuable (and expensive) vintage wear in the back of the house?
I like being located in up and coming parts!  So many artists! I will see a person just walking down the street playing a guitar.  Most like my shop, I think!

What’s one thing you currently have in the store that you just adore?
I love the platforms!

Lemon Frog Shop
1202 N. Alvarado St. Los Angeles, CA 90026