To say that Tricia Benitez Beanum is making waves in the design industry would be an understatement. If you ask the Pop Up Home family, incredible design spans further than the industry it exists within. It tells a story much greater than the individual, one that can’t necessarily be perfectly planned out—a sentiment that has been at the core of Beanum’s movements. “Nostalgia should promote innovation, not mass production of the same,” she explains. “We live in a very disposable world right now.”
Known for her remarkable estate sale shopping skills, Beanum began making a name for herself as the one to tap for the best finds in 2005. “I went through so many years of being ignored,” she recalls of her early days in the industry. “I literally sold these amazing pieces out of my car, there was nothing glamorous about me…. But I’m a fire starter.” It’s a quality that she specifically credits to her Puerto Rican mother. “That was always my mother’s messaging, do whatever you want, but be the best at it,” she laughs. It’s that same inner hustle, fueled by a refusal to be disregarded and coupled with undeniable taste and talent, that has led Beanum’s showroom to be the spot for designers and tastemakers around the world.
It’s through this work that Beanum speaks to the investment value of durable, well-made vintage pieces and urges consumers to think more about the metamorphosis of design rather than simply duplicating more of the same. Pop Up Home has become a place where people can expect to find one-of-a-kind conversation pieces organically curated throughout the eye-catching new space.
Sitting comfortably in a coveted spot in Melrose Hill, a neighborhood in Los Angeles boasting several new retailers and galleries like Zwirner, the Pop Up Home showroom takes its rightful spot among a collective of changemakers—7,000 square-feet to be exact. But it wasn’t always this way, Beanum reminds us. “Even designers that come into my space today used to look at me like a bottom feeder.” What started out as a love for vintage furniture hunting turned into renting a warehouse (with no signage, by the way) that was open only once a month—hence the company’s name: Pop Up Home. Nearly two decades after it all began, it’s now nestled in a two-story oasis helping to bring a much needed voice to a rapidly changing area; Beanum’s evolution is not one to be overlooked.
“The bigger dream was just to be around creatives all of the time,” quips the creative of her organic transition to founder. “I’ve always loved being around extraordinary people doing extraordinary things…. People want a plan, but I say figure out what lights up your soul first.” You’d be hard-pressed to find a conversation centering Beanum and not hear countless tales of the ever-expanding community she’s garnered, particularly for people of color.
“We met so many collectors of color that didn’t feel comfortable buying in a traditional gallery or design showroom,” she recounts of the institutional racism ingrained within these models. “Now, we, women of color, just so happen to be on the hottest block, [showcasing] our perspectives. I fight the system by being successful and sharing my process.”
Beanum’s rolodex is stacked with double-take-worthy celebrities, designers, curators, and collectors for a reason. “I’ve been underestimated a lot,” she says, regarding the box she refuses to put herself and her community in. “We have high expectations for [them],” says Sarah Mantilla Griffin, cofounder of Unrepd, an art gallery living within Pop Up Home. “A lot of our collectors can all of a sudden see themselves belonging in the art world, belonging in the design world, because they’ve found a perspective that they can relate to. They feel comfortable here and that only happens when we have a wide range of diversity of experience that’s being represented.”
Beanum, Griffin, and their team introduce something often lacking from the design world itself—a sense of ease-filled inclusion. Ironic for an industry catered to crafting a person’s most intimate space. “When people come in here, they relax,” Beanum adds. “People at the top of their game walk in and you see them start to act a little differently…. They lay out on a sofa and that’s just not something high-end design really promotes.” Quality, vision, emotion, and storytelling lie at the heart of Pop Up Home. “We just want to push artists and creatives to be great,” Griffin adds. Most importantly, it’s a place that facilitates nourishment and joy. Beanum concludes, “If that’s my only job in this world, I’ll take it.”