Hi there! My name is Miriam Chan, founder of The Lev, a pop up community bookstore in Los Angeles. I created The Lev to build a community for women around books, and to promote women and people of color writers. I need your help to make The Lev a long-term establishment!
Note: The Lev's crowdfund initially started on Indiegogo where we raised $3.5K. Given the mission of iFundWomen—empowering and creating a community around women entrepreneurs, it was no brainer for us to switch platforms.
Opened in February 2018, The Lev is a pop-up community bookstore for women and children located in Venice, Los Angeles. I founded The Lev for two main reasons:
- A community space for women: Without specifically intending to, most businesses are patriarchal. It is more important than ever that women have a community space for comfort and security.
- Promote women and people of color writers: Reading other peoples’ stories helps build empathy and understanding.
The Lev has brought together an amazing community of readers, connected online communities such as Girls at Library (GAL) and Mend by hosting over 20 author readings, talks, storytime & art hours, book swaps, workshops, monthly book clubs and other community events in only four months.
We’ve had the great pleasure of hosting artists, makers and writers such as Roda Ahmed, Mari Andrew, Trish Baden (Flores Lane), Katelynn Bartiromo, Danielle Birrittella (The Intuitive Voice), Zinzi Clemmons, Lisa Cole (Hungry Right Meow), Yrsa Daley-Ward, Magdalena Edwards, Erin Falconer, The Fullest, Amy Harrison (The Little Studio LA), Aishwarya Iyer (Brightland), Mira T. Lee, Shira Lenchewski, MariNaomi, Laura Rubin (AllSwell), Yumi Sakugawa, Emily Stroia, Dydine Umunyana, Ally Walsh & Casey Wojtalewicz (Canyon Coffee), Jen Wang, Shinay Watts (Ellie and Sass), Stephanie Waxman, Meredith Westgate, Maude White, Women's National Book Association Los Angeles, and Fran Yang (Incandescent Bloom).
See our upcoming events here!
To prepare for opening The Lev pop up, I spoke with many booksellers across the country and even flew to a bookstore in Oklahoma City, Commonplace Books, to shadow owner Ben Nockels (to whom I am incredibly grateful) to learn about the journey of a community-focused bookstore. Many thanks to American Booksellers Association, Books are Magic, Brazos Bookstore, The Dial Bookshop, Duende District, The Ripped Bodice, and Women & Children First for your generous advice ranging from the mundane to the magic of hosting our favorite writers.
The Lev has served 600+ customers and processed more than 800 transactions but without the support of you and our community, The Lev will not flourish. Here are three main challenges we’re facing:
- Real estate in LA is extremely expensive. To open, The Lev shared spaces with amazing brands (many thanks to Linus Bike and boy+girl for supporting The Lev). However, for The Lev to fulfill its mission of serving as a community bookstore, we need our own space. As such, we’re opening the search for a long term home to include all of LA. Our hope is to still stay in Venice or the surrounding area.
- Financial solvency. Since rent will be high, The Lev will have tight sales goals. With The Lev membership program, we hope that our community will be loyal customers. However, The Lev plans to invest in a strategic marketing plan.
- The unexpected. A part of the funds being raised is dedicated to having an operations reserve.
With your support, I am committed to making The Lev a long-term establishment. My goal is to open a new storefront by September. I already have author events planned for the fall.
“Without specifically intending to, most businesses are patriarchal, and as such, some bookstores are. For me, reading books is a comfort — I wanted to create a bookstore for women so that we have a place for comfort and security.” - Miriam Chan, Ideal Woman
Miriam Chan is the owner and founder of The Lev. She knows what it takes for a business to succeed. Prior to The Lev, Miriam helped grow operations at startup company Civis Analytics from 13 employees to 140+, and led western state operations on President Barack Obama's reelection campaign in 2012. Miriam’s love for books started at an early age. Her fondest memories are of her parents taking her to the county library and local bookstore as a child. Her absolute favorite writers are Maggie Nelson and Jean Rhys but is currently crushing on Elaine Castillo and Lisa Halliday. When not in the bookstore, visiting local bookstores or supporting local LA businesses, Miriam practices yoga and is a certified yoga instructor from her training at Venice's Love Yoga.
Our Venice pop up closed on Wednesday, June 27. As I campaign to raise funds, find The Lev at pop ups and markets around the city starting in July.
Thank you so much for checking out The Lev's crowdfunding page! Please support The Lev in building a community around women and books, and raising awareness of women and people of color writers helping them have a platform to educate and influence the younger generation in a powerful way!
If you have any questions, don't hestitate to email me [email protected]
With love and heart,