Kendall Knox, Ben Knox and Laura Sotelo are the founders of Olive Ateliers, the disruptive new interiors shop that has all of L.A. spellbound with their weathered vintage ceramics, limestone troughs, and raw wood benches.
During the pandemic, the threesome began curating imported ‘objects with souls’ and dropping them during one-off events to their community. Before long, Olive Ateliers drops became a verifiable occasion for L.A. design enthusiasts and lines began wrapping around the block — and down the Instagram feed.
Celebrity fans of Olive Ateliers’ imported vintage objects from Turkey, India, Indonesia, Morocco and Greece include Kendall Jenner, Elsa Hosk, Kristen Bell and countless interior designers. Just last week, Kim Kardashian called OA her “favorite new store for home accessories” via Instagram stories.
Having just moved into a giant new atelier in DTLA, we finally reached out to Kendall, Ben and Laura to talk about their exciting business model, stunning studio and those olive jars…
In The Studio with the Founders of Olive Ateliers
Names: Kendall Knox, Ben Knox and Laura Sotelo of Olive Ateliers
Our brand in a nutshell: We are a home decor importer, experiential retailer, and lifestyle brand born from an adoration for found objects and one-off furnishings that conjure charisma and tranquility.
Our aesthetic: ‘Curious Living’. Curious living is a term we coined that represents what it means to curate your space using collected decor. Stoic, wise objects that have a story to tell, and that instinctually conjure meaningful conversation, curiosity and connection.
When and how we started: Olive Ateliers started in the summer of 2021 dropping small collections of curated, one-of-a-kind objects on Instagram. The following January, after receiving a massive demand and going viral on social media, we quickly opened our flagship in Culver City. This month we opened our brand new 22,000 sq ft flagship in the iconic Los Angeles Arts District.
In the day to day, you can usually find us… at the Atelier, styling.
One the best days, we are… traveling to the most curious corners of the globe, sourcing one-of-a-kind objects with old souls.
What to know to shop with us: We only open to the public when drops occur. Our drops are announced to our community via Instagram, email, and text messages and then take place in-person at our Atelier in the Arts District. Everything is non-refundable.
Our favorite few pieces of all time: The Olive Jar, a vintage object we source from Turkey, traditionally used to store olives and olive oil. Our raw, solid onyx side tables from Indonesia. We’re crushing over our vintage French confit jars too.Home trends we’re into now: “Newstalgia”, which is all about vintage and antique pieces getting a resurgence of chic, is on our radar. We obsess over the contrast of old against new — it’s why we adorn our current spaces with ‘Objects with Old Souls’.
We get the biggest thrill when… The biggest inspiration for us is seeing our objects re-homed by our community. There’s something so special about the journey these objects take to get here, and the way in which each individual interprets and styles their chosen objects in their space.
Favorite neighbors in our area: Maru Coffee for a caffeine fix, Soho Warehouse the ambiance, Bestia for that special culinary experience, Bread Lounge for unbeatable soups, salads, sandwiches in a hurry, Death & Co. for their incredible cocktails, The Row DTLA for retail therapy and The Proper Hotel for an inspiring, comfortable stay because, Kelly Wearstler.
Best celeb home spotting of A products you loved? Kendall Jenner recently featured our antique Indian Marble Tray and Greek 3-Handle Pot out on her back patio via her Instagram and it was all very *chefs kiss*.
Favorite source(s) for trees and foliage to fit the OA vessels? Dried flowers or branches from the Flower Market in downtown Los Angeles. We also love traditional olive trees and the highly sought after black olive or “shady lady” tree, both of which we retail at the Atelier from time to time.
Biggest business lesson learned: Generally speaking, if you want to start a business don’t wait until it’s perfect to launch. Sometimes that matters, but usually it doesn’t. Start getting feedback on your idea as soon as possible because then you can build your business and your brand around your community, not the other way around.
Best business advice we could give/have received: “Hope is not a strategy.” If you want to succeed, it is going to take a lot of thoughtful, hard work. You will always need to actively re-prioritize, adapt, and carefully consider your vision in each step you take toward success.
Best home styling tip: Prioritize natural fibers, organic materials and items of age, and with character. Our favorite way to style an object is: as is. Let the history and one-of-a-kind nature of the object do the talking.
What’s next for us this year that we’re excited about: Everything. We just moved into our new flagship and we’re excited to grow into the space, focus on improving our in-person experience, and investigate new ways to serve our community. Whether that be an online experience, additional locations, or expanding upon our lifestyle brand, we are excited about what the future holds.