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Cleveland artist, event planner opens eclectic store in Detroit-Shoreway with pandemic mask-making money

Cleveland artist and event planner opens eclectic store in Detroit-Shoreway with pandemic mask-making money
Posted at 4:29 PM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 19:12:10-05

CLEVELAND — With just a few weeks left in 2021, Ohio’s already broken the state record for new business filings in a single year.

According to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose's office, 181,586 new businesses have been created in 2021, smashing the record of 171,073 set last year.

One of them is Cool World–the newest storefront in Cleveland's Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood.

Owner Haley Himiko used hard work and creativity to turn the space into her own little world.

Himiko opened the shop in October. It's a collection of art, furniture, clothing, and more made by Himiko herself and other independent designers.

“It's kind of a mixture of all these things I love. And curated in this eye of like 80s deco and 90s design, lots of color. And a lot of stuff that I missed from growing up, you know, of just bold and outlandish design everywhere,” said Himiko.

Before opening the store, Himiko dabbled in all kinds of creative art jobs, but event planning is her passion.

“I flocked to event planning because I just loved coming up with theme party ideas and decorating and creating like these environments and rooms,” said Himiko.

But events stopped happening during the pandemic and now that they’ve started back up again, she said she’s just not ready to get back into the swing of things.

“That was pretty much where I was when the pandemic hit. And I just feel like obviously, it's turning the world upside down for everyone. And this is just like a new timeline, a new reality we're living in and I just haven't felt comfortable with the idea of returning to what I loved, which was throwing these huge parties and events and going and working with art festivals,” said Himiko. “Because it's a line of work that really relies on people like coming in packs and filling a room and, I don't know, I am not ready for that.”

So she started making masks with eclectic fabrics to much success.

“It ended up exploding into, you know, my main gig for most of the year, and I couldn't make them fast enough so it was make-to-order, pretty much,” said Himiko. “And it also was fun. It was a fun hobby and it really helped me hone in my sewing skills.”

Then, the money from her mask sales helped her realize another dream–opening her own store. She heard about a vacant storefront in Detroit-Shoreway, put together a PowerPoint presentation and a business plan, and received a grant to help open Cool World.

“I thought that opening a store—which I thought about for a long time—would be a great way to design a space and bring these fun items that make people happy into a storefront that can serve a handful of people at a time. To me that feels comfortable for me right now,” said Himiko.

“I have a lifetime of notes and ideas and dreams and fantasies. I have paragraphs and essays written about wanting to open a notebook store in 2010,” said Himiko.

Now, while there is stationery, Himiko’s store has grown into much more.

“It's been great, you know, meeting a lot of new faces and neighborhood people and neighbors with other stores and just seeing people's faces when they're seeing it for the first time. Small Business Saturday went really well,” said Himiko.

It's becoming a new canvas to showcase her creativity, and a venue to show others just how cool their world can be.

“I have a lot of idealistic hopes for the storefront of things to do and engage in the community other than just a store. You know, I'd love to have little events in the shop and workshops and classes and kind of bring people in to experience how I make things,” said Himiko.

Jade Jarvis is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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