Tsering Lamou originally made a living in the United States caring for senior citizens with Alzheimer’s disease.
When she moved to Los Angeles to be close to her daughter, she couldn’t find a similar job that could pay her a high enough wage, so she decided to gamble on opening her own retail business.
Lamou opened a store selling jewelry and decorative products from her native Tibet. She named it Himalaya Style.
“Most stores that sell Tibetan products are actually imported from India,” Lamou said about the lack of Tibetan stores in the L.A. area. “As a Tibetan, I feel there is an opportunity for me to sell and promote authentic Tibetan culture and products.”
At her downtown Alhambra shop, Lamou sells everything from meditative singing bowls to handwoven bags and incense. Among the jewelry she sells are bracelets made from the Millettia dielsiana shrub.
According to eastern medicine, wearing this bracelet results in improved health for women and children, especially for those who suffer from menstrual cramps. “Some people believe that the ones with knots have stronger therapeutic effect, but I personally prefer the ones without knots,” said Lamou. “Because they look prettier.”
Himalaya Style opened a few months ago on a quieter stretch of Main Street. She’s giving herself a year to build a client base. “You need patience, you have to educate your clients, and curate their interest in your products,” she said.
Chinese style, next door
Her friend, Elsa Li, owns the clothing store next door, Yi Lian US Fashion. Similar to Lamou, when she moved to the United States from China, she couldn’t find a profession that suited her, so she decided to try her hand at business.
She opened a women’s fashion boutique due to her lifelong interest in fashion, especially as shown in the magazines and design books that she read.
The clothing that Li sells are mainly from South Korea and China. “A lot of factories in China are producing fashion these days,” she said. “So a lot of our products are directly from them.”
What she sells is perfect for those who favor ultra-feminine clothes with bows and strong patterns and want to look unique.