Opening Ceremony is the coolest, and by extension, its owners Humberto Leon and Carol Lim are the coolest. The LA natives met at Berkeley, and their close friendship helped conceive what is arguably our favorite store in the city (world?). Humberto explains what was going through their heads a decade ago: “What do we love? We love traveling, we love shopping, we love eating, we love magazines, we love music. So what can we do to incorporate all these loves into, you know, a business?”
They make an appearance in New York Magazine‘s entirely delightful “Who Runs New York?” power issue, and we’re here to break down what exactly makes them so awesome.
- They’re totally BFFs. They share an office with facing desks, live in the same apartment building, speak in unison and have never had a fight. But, no, they don’t make out. As Carol puts it: “He’s basically my best friend, brother, everything … except for lover.”
- They quit their jobs to start OC. Humberto was the head of Burberry’s visual merchandising team and Carol worked at Bally. Humberto had previously done visuals for Gap and Old Navy, while Carol was an investment banker. The pair would often complain about their jobs to one another, and decided to take a trip to Hong Kong together. That trip kickstarted the Opening Ceremony concept.
- They have amazing taste… in everything. This is pretty obvious. But just to prove it, OMG their next movie collaboration involves Tron!
- Their friends are fly. Yes, we too would like to hang with Spike Jonze, Chlöe Sevigny, the Proenza boys and/or the Rodarte girls. Says Jonze: “The amazing thing is they get bigger in a way that’s very controlled. They kind of remind me of Pixar. They’re really successful, but it’s not driven from a bottom line. It’s driven from having a small group of people with a real strong idea of what they’re interested in making.”
- Their influence trickles down in a big way. Did you know that Opening Ceremony was the first store to sell Havaianas outside of Brazil? Because we sure didn’t.
- They’re humble. They started off with a pro bono business adviser, $10K each and a matching loan. They didn’t think they would ever make $1 million dollars in sales. But then they did after just two years. And they took their entire staff to Jamaica.
Yeah, they’re the coolest.