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The Gjelina Touch

BY Sari Anne Tuschman | December 13, 2018 | Feature Features

Shelley Armistead's strong instincts have helped define L.A.'s relaxed yet refined aesthetic.

For the last five years, Cape Town, South Africa-born Shelley Armistead has been a partner and the chief operating officer of the Gjelina Group, comprised of the much-buzzed-about, much-loved Venice restaurants Gjelina, Gjusta, MTN, Gjelina Take Away and the store Gjusta Goods, which she launched in 2016. “Gjusta Goods came about as a desire to retail the ceramics lines we were making for our restaurants,” says Armistead, who serves as the buyer, creator and curator of the boutique, which opened pop-ups in Silver Lake and Malibu in the last year. “It is my baby.” (Her partners in the company are chef Travis Lett and Fran Camaj.)

The shop’s thoughtful edit of products speaks to Armistead’s dedication to it. “The store is a mix of the ceramics and linens we make for our restaurants, clothes we sew for our staff, vinyl and books I love, things I find on my travels and an ever-changing collection of vintage ceramics and clothing,” she says. Armistead, who resides in Malibu, works with family members of her staff in Oaxaca, Mexico, on some of the ceramics and textiles, something she says has brought her “the greatest joy.” The store’s offerings also include items ranging from gift boxes to jumpsuits and vintage skirts, which Armistead wears with a chic ease that epitomizes Southern California cool.

Armistead also hopes to continue to grow the connection between the Gjelina Group and the neighborhoods it feeds and serves. “My goal is to drive a deeper connection between the community and our restaurants, and our restaurants and the store,” she says. As for personal goals in the year ahead, they are pretty straightforward. “I have two wishes for myself every year,” she reveals. “The first is always to honor myself with two simple things that make me feel incredible: dancing and drinking water. The second is to learn something new or do something out of my comfort zone.”

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