I first met Mary at her store Chris + Mary in Santa Monica and loved her vibe right away. Not only does the store carry the most unique items and beautiful artisan goods, it was opened by two people who had the same dream of supporting the handmade movement.
When Mary Wiggins was 21, she moved to Costa Rica to “take a year off to surf/travel” after finishing her massage certification. She ended up starting her first business there, “In Good Hands,” offering in-home wellness services to expats and tourists. She ran it for 4 years before selling and moving to California to study more yoga.
Today, Mary owns and operates two small businesses. One is a mobile wellness business offering massage, private yoga and wellness counseling to the west side of LA. She also owns Chris + Mary, a shop in Santa Monica with her fiancé, Chris, featuring sweatshop-free and small batch clothing, gifts and jewelry.
Where are you from?
Charleston, South Carolina! You might here a “y’all” slip out every now and then. I love Charleston. The food, hospitality and the people there are amazing!
What brought you to LA?
I came for the yoga, but stayed for the topography. I mean, you can surf in the morning and snowboard in the afternoon! Beat that.
What’s your favorite thing about LA?
The weather. It’s cliché cause it’s true! There’s also something magical about this city and its diversity. It truly is a place where anything can happen and anything is possible. Ok, my cliché meter just hit “overload.”
What has been your favorite LA experience?
My favorite LA experience was being pulled out to dinner by a friend and unexpectedly meeting the love of my life.
Do you have any advice for people new to LA?
Get outside of your bubble! It’s so easy to stay confined to your neighborhood and slip into routine because of the traffic and the self-sustainability in each area.
What inspired you to open Chris + Mary?
We wanted to do something together, in our community, mixing what we love with what we do. We love beautiful, unique people making beautiful, unique things. They inspired us to create a place where their creations could be appreciated and sold to support their talents. Keeping the art of handmade alive and supporting sweatshop-free, mission-driven makers became our purpose.
What’s one tip you can give to someone who wants to open a brick and mortar store in LA?
Don’t be afraid to do something different. There are plenty of shops carrying the same goods with the same look. Make yours stand out!
What inspires you?
Getting outside and spending some time in nature on a hike or a beach walk really helps when I’m feeling stuck or uninspired.
What’s next for you?
Designing clothing! I’ll be working on a line for next Spring at the end of this year. We’re also beginning to scout for Chris + Mary #2. Stay tuned!