Category Archives: New Businesses

Day Spa Coming to Hill Street

DTLA Hill Street location 1st expansion for Sunlight Day Spa?
DTLA Hill Street location 1st expansion for Sunlight Day Spa?

A new retail  location on Hill Street between 8th & 9th is going to be a day spa. It’s part of the complex created by LEVEL, the luxury extended stay concept that houses SoulCycle on the ground floor at the corner of 9th and Olive.   Parking above ground is designated for LEVEL guests which, hopefully, will also be available to those spa-goers not within walking distance.

Behind those papered windows are cubicles with individual dry saunas partnered with marble showers. One might guess the rest of the space will include treatment rooms for massages, facials and other well-being services.  A similar concept is based in Overland Park, Kansas by the name of Sunlight Day Spa , with a parent company, Sunlighten , that manufactures saunas using an infrared technology that claims to have added wellness benefits to the basic sauna experience.  Perhaps this DTLA  location is the first expansion of Sunlight Day Spa’s concept?  If so, another kudos to  DTLA in attracting new businesses that see our downtown boom as the place to grow.

LEVEL's pool deck and basketball court sit on top of parking structure with new DTLA day spa on street level.
LEVEL’s pool deck and basketball court sit on top of parking structure with new DTLA day spa on street level.

We won’t know for sure until the sign goes up, but regardless of what company is behind this innovative, and much welcomed destination for residents and visitors, it’s exciting! We could all use a calming escape as we continue to endure the cranes, blocked sidewalks and promises of better bike routes.   And if it IS Sunlight Day Spa out of Kansas, they also support the American Heart Association…any business with a cause is always close to my heart.

The Future of Urban Retail



The definitive report on the current status of retail in DTLA and the excitement of what's to come.
The definitive report on the current status of retail in DTLA and the excitement of what’s to come.

I recently had the privilege of working with the DTLA Downtown Center Business Improvement District  to write a special report on the Future of Urban Retail.  If you haven’t noticed it yet, DTLA is quickly becoming  THE place to go for restaurants, entertainment… AND NOW…SHOPPING!  The report takes an in-depth look at  DTLA’s 8 key districts and profiles what’s hot in DTLA retail right now along with what’s going to define the personality and excitement of these districts in the months to come. Stay tuned…the story just keeps getting better!

Winging Towards New Ventures

Taking flight in new directions
Taking flight in new directions

On November 15, 1996 the movie “Space Jam,” starring Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny, opened in theaters.  Nick turned 3 years-old the following week so we took him to see the movie at Grauman’s Chinese Theater.  “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly was on the soundtrack and it was one of those songs that stuck.   For months after seeing the movie, we’d pop the CD in every morning on our way to Wagon Wheel preschool and sing together at the top of our lungs.  For years after that, whenever the song came on the radio and we were in the car together, we’d go right back into our full-throttle voices.

That song came to mind again this week as my new theme song.   This Monday marks the first day of the launch of my own firm, The Fagnano Effect, and the end of a 27-year career as the West Coast Sales Director for Lebhar-Friedman Publishing, the wonderful company where I experienced all the twists and turns in the world of publishing as we transitioned from a print to a digital media company.

Today, I’ve jumped out of the nest.  I wouldn’t have been able to do it if I didn’t believe that all the experience I’ve gained over the years is what’s given me my wings.  I now seek new heights, the most beaconing of which will be seeing the Thrive in Joy Nick Fagnano Foundation reach its full potential in making a difference in the lives of others by encouraging and rewarding character through education and recreation.

So today, as the lyrics of the song go:

There are miracles in life I must achieve                                                                But first I know it starts inside of me, oh….                                                                   I believe I can fly

And the timing, as with so many things in my life, is directly connected to Nick.  “You can do it, Mom,” I heard him say, “It’s my Mother’s Day present to you.”

So thanks to our good friend Steve Kowalski and his associate Lucinda Yang, I’m excited to debut the official logo for our foundation:

Thrive in Joy Nick Fagnano Foundation

And thanks to my good friend John Klein, the creative director of Klein Mickaelian Partners Advertising and his associate, Kathye Hicks, I’m excited to share my new contact information:

Mary Fagnano Contact Info
Mary Fagnano Contact Info

Nick has his wings.  Now he’s helped me find mine.  Just let me know if I can fly over your way to hatch any new ideas that involve writing, marketing, branding, event planning or technology solutions.

DTLA Nordic Design Showroom

Nordic Design & Innovation Studio

 If you wandered past 9th & Hill on Saturday night this is what you would have seen: people working late unpacking boxes–one labeled “bicycle,” others of mysterious sizes scattered across the concrete floor.   There was a single, white, wooden chair on a plywood pedestal and, in the background, a brand new white Volvo SUV.Nordic Design & Innovation on 9th & Hill 5/3/2014

 If you walked past the same location on Sunday afternoon, a team was deep in conference at a long table with two small black dogs at their feet.  Most of the boxes were unpacked and the windows were dressed with an even more random, yet increasingly intriguing, assortment of items.

There were children’s tailored shirts and a men’s shirt winking from a craft-brown box with “Schnayderman’s” scripted as the label.  Really? A shirt in it’s very own box?

Nordic Design & Innovation Showroom 5/4/2014

And what about those snow white chairs and the orange-handled branch pruners laying on display? Is it a prop shop? Is it a museum?

Nordic Design & Innovation Showroom 9th & Hill 5/3/2014

Apparently it’s the latest iteration from  Carlström & Company|C&CO, described on their website as a growth consultancy and business incubator headquartered in New York. The website describes C&CO’s services as “Bridging the gap between a management consultancy and an advertising agency.”  Clients listed include Absolut Vodka, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Estee’ Lauder and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) as well as advertising agencies.

What they appear to be doing in this space is fulfilling their plans of establishing a Nordic design and innovation showroom in Downtown Los Angeles.  I love these guys!

In C&CO’s other role, as stated on their website, they function as an incubator and invest time and/or capital in new ventures, of which Schnayderman’s Shirtmakers is one–having brought the brand from Scandinavia to the U.S. in the fall of 2013.

According to C&CO’s website, the company’s founder, Fredrik Carlström, is a marketing veteran with almost two decades of experience advising companies including IKEA, H&M, Electrolux, and L’Oréal, to name a few.  Carlström was the CEO & Executive Creative Director of the U.S. operations for the digital agency, Great Works, which was named by AdWeek as the 2010 Agency of the Year.

Looks like this creative space is C&CO’s new base for helping Scandinavian companies get established and grow their presence in the U.S.  Hence the orange-handled reminder of what the Swedes have made a household requirement:  If it’s a scissors (or rose pruner…when I had roses to prune) it’s got to be Fiskars!

With Stockholm-based Acne Studios and il Caffé just a block away, and  H & M soon to open at Fig & 7th, we might call it the Swedish Awakening in L.A.  And just think about it, not only is DTLA one of the most creative emerging urban locales, we also get 8-9 hours of nighttime 365 days a year… and no snow! Now there’s another good reason to choose our city as the perfect place to innovate and incubate!    And since I’m pretty sure Camilla and Anna, our Swedish au pairs whom we haven’t seen in nearly 19 and 18 years respectively, are probably reading this–it’s  time for you both to come back for a visit– you can actually have a really great time in downtown now!