“The feeling that the store gives is of a place of many different avenues and different artists, and we try to put them by themselves as much as we can so that every little available space is for that artist,” Carlos said. “And that’s how it started. We were very focused on allowing the artist to have their own space to do whatever they wanted.”
Space Montrose began 10 years ago when Carlos and Leila left their careers in hospice centers to focus on artistic creation. As Carlos put it, the store began with the question, “What could we do to stay away from the end of life and deal more with the creation and the spark and the beginning?”
The boutique began in a house on Dunlavy Street by Cafe Brasil and displayed the works of a handful of local artists that Carlos and Leila knew.
“It’s a place where we can have people host their own work and we can help sell their work for them, and at the same time have our own jobs,” Carlos said. “We had never run a business before, so we just started with a lot of passion and a lot of naiveté but we did it at the right time, in the right city, at the right place and with the right concept, and all those things came together beautifully.”
Of the 220 artists who have work displayed for sale at Space Montrose, half of them are Texans, and about half of those are Houstonians, Carlos said.
Among the merchandise available are custom-made neckties, jewelry, paintings and candles.
Space Montrose has a team of six, giving Leila and Carlos more time to spend with their two young boys and to create art for the store, such as Paper Vibes—Space Montrose’s line of greeting cards.
“By working at a store like this, you’re exposed to creativity and art, and it’s always coming in at every angle, so you just get inspired, and you want to create also,” Carlos said.
Along with designing a card line, Leila and Carlos also help create some of the store’s T-shirt, coffee mug and baby apparel designs.
“We jump into little pockets of creativity and sell them as part of the store,” Carlos said. “It’s part of our creative input to the store, and it’s been very rewarding in that sense, too.”
1706 Westheimer Road, Houston
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.