Formerly Yes is a minimalist retail space located in Los Angeles, California. A store for people who wants to buy less but better. Sometimes there is more joy to be found owning less, by fully appreciating the things you have, than can be found pursuing more. Learn more about Brad and Jenna Holdgrafer, owners and designers of the space, on the interview below (in collaboration with Ello).

Brand and Jenna Holdgrafer


What were you and Jenna doing before launching Formerly Yes. Why a retail store?

Before Formerly Yes, we were kinda all over the place. Jenna had been managing retail for nearly ten years. Her last experience was opening the Shinola Store in Silverlake. I have always been involved in art direction and design in some way or form, I’m currently designing ads for Apple with Media Arts Lab as well as holding down Formerly Yes.

We dig the idea of good design, all aspects of it: web, architecture, conceptual, product, etc. The focus of Formerly Yes has never really been about selling products, but instead selling the idea of good design as a lifestyle. Formerly Yes is a canvas that allows us to appreciate the history of design and celebrate the future of it.


formerly yes

You curate some awesome minimal products. Describe your process for creating this beautiful collection?

Thank you! This is really secretly one of the best parts of having a retail store. We get to feel responsible when buying all the things we’ve always wanted to own. The process is pretty simple. We try and ignore trends (which is difficult when minimalism starts becomes a trend), we try and choose the product based on the story, the functionality, and lastly, it’s aesthetics. It’s the combination of minimalism and soul.



Have you and Jenna ever thought about designing objects to sell in the store? Any examples?

Everyday. No examples I want to held accountable to just yet!




What are your top 5 favourite products available at Formerly Yes? Do you have a best seller?

Hmm, personally I love everything by Sori Yanagi. His idea of good design is something we very much try and align with.

Top 5

1. Sori Yanagi’s Tea Kettle

2. Sori Yanagi’s Sake Glasses

3. Sori Yanagi’s Tea Spoon

4. Sori Yanagi’s Tong

5. Sori Yanagi’s Ladle

Our best seller (or at least most asked for) is  definitely little Ernest 😉



Your customers love engaging with you on social media. What do you like about Ello?

Ello is beautiful! It allows beautiful art, beautiful design, beautiful photography and beautiful stories to be told in a beautiful way without all the unbeautiful blah blah.

Photo credit: Stefan Junir


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