Rhonda Findley opened restaurants and worked as a food writer before entering retail as a vendor in the French Market, where she sold tin toys and T-shirts. Today, the Arkansas native co-owns Funrock'n and Pop City, two stores with four locations specializing in the "fun, funky and unexpected." Findley supports local vendors and manufacturers, designs clothing and jewelry, co-wrote a cookbook (Kevin Belton's Big Flavors of New Orleans) and is opening coffee shops in the French Market and Bywater. The common threads behind her creative endeavors are passion for New Orleans and a social conscience. "Our community is stronger if we all work together," she says.
What is inspiring you now?
My partner Carlos Leon just finished renovating Pop City Uptown using mostly reclaimed and repurposed materials. It's simply gorgeous, and he is a total inspiration. Carlos has really challenged us to become more focused on sustainability and fair trade, finding amazing crafts people locally and internationally. I want Funrock'n and Pop City to grow in that direction and with those principles in place in the next five years.
Favorite local brands?
Bywater Crafter's photography, Nurhan Gokturk's art, Naomi Celestin's ReStrung Jewelry, Donna Maloney's Sweet Spot, Holly Williams' Small Change Finery, Michael Teal's Absolutely SpaTacular, Jeanette Meyer's hats, Steve Winn's wooden postcards and coasters featuring vintage photographs of New Orleans, Dr. Bob's "Be Nice or Leave" items, ALG Style and their Warehouse Sale, NOLA Bunarchy.
Words of wisdom?
Start making it happen today.
Favorite style secret?
Funky glasses, ponytail holder, jeans and a T-shirt with equally funky shoes, and it's on!
Favorite place to hang out?
I love Magazine Street and the French Market, so it's a bonus that my shops are right in the heart of both. When I'm not at my stores, I'm at Fatoush on St. Claude Avenue. I wrote a book with chef Kevin Belton right at the front table. St. Claude is happening! I predict [it's] the next big shopping destination street. You watch!