From 200-year-old Japanese cypress to non-petroleum-based cellulose acetate materials, The Good Liver in the Arts District is a safe haven for classic beauty and long-lasting function. The Good Liver DTLA
The one-year-old shop has everything the home can ever want and need. The shop’s outdoor signage reads: household goods, kitchenware, apothecary, bath products, stationery, books, cleaning supplies and outdoor tools. The unisex beauty products include: Corn Liquor Muscle Tonic, Oak Bath Oil, Elderflower Shower Gel and Wheat Beer Shampoo from Austria, which are bottled in limited batches through traditional and artisanal techniques. Familiar favorites like Stanley Vacuum Bottle and Flasks go from $30-56. There’s also the flashlight-cum-baton Maglite. Instruments include the finest whistles and the Seven Key Marimba, which originated from Sweden in 1978. The Hinoki Cutting Board, made of the 200-year-old Japanese cypress, gives the board a natural antibacterial characteristic. The Carpet Beater, seen in parts of Sweden and Indonesia, is made from rattan.
They don’t make them like they used to can be left at the apothecary-like shop’s door, owned and curated by Bert Youn. The experience can be compared to a visit to MUJI, but the products come with a brand, history and durability. A visit to the store is nostalgic to a brisk walk through the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, in which onlookers can peruse more than 600 household specimens and home decor relics on oak shelves or under glass with historical and material information. From The Good Liver’s artifacts, we can learn to live a lifestyle that goes against the consumerist wear and tear philosophy of the modern world.When I first visited the shop during a lunch break, I left with a French net bag and Swiss Rex vegetable peeler. Both cost less than $30.
Here’s what the owner Bert has to say about his shop.
Katrina Guevara: When you’re not running and curating The Good Liver, what do you do?
Bert Youn: I’ve also been working in the animation industry as a story artist and writer, also doing some freelance design work on the side.
KG: How do you use your extensive knowledge on finding these solid items at TGL?
BY: I’ve always been a nerd about well-made goods. I’ve been collecting and finding out about them mostly from traveling. Also, through researching online and magazines.
KG: Do you recall the first item you chose to sell at your store?
BY: There were quite a few items that made me interested in starting the store. Japanese drinking glasses, German knives and utensils, British gardening tools and Italian staplers are a few of them.
KG: What was your main objective in opening up the shop?
BY: Not only do we focus on the quality and functionality of the products, but we also try to emphasize the story and history of each item. We believe that delivering interesting facts makes customers care more about their purchase, and it also gives them a memorable retail experience.
KG: Do you have duplicates of some items at your shop at your home? If so, which items?
BY: Yes. I’m slowly working on swapping out our home stuff to TGL products. I like ending the day with a beer, so I started off with the Usuhari beer glasses. The diatomite soap dish, amenity tray, toothbrush holder and bath mat are perfect for keeping our bathroom organized and clean. Also, little things like the vegetable peelers, bottle opener, enamelware and trugs. We use a lot of body care products we sell, like toothpastes, soaps and shampoos.
KG: Since TGL opened, how has the surrounding Arts District changed? How did the shop change with the neighborhood?
BY: Fortunately, the south end of the Arts District was still sort of undiscovered and cheaper than the main area. We were lucky enough to sign the lease for our space, along with some other established businesses that were looking into the area. It’s been a year since we opened, and yes, the change and the uproar of this side of town has been out of control. Mast Brothers just opened a few months ago next to Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Kinfolk from New York, and the infamous SoHo House are soon opening their doors. The new Ford Building, which is a block away from us, is rapidly being renovated for ground-level retail and office spaces above. We constantly get visits and inquiries from entrepreneurs looking into opening up their businesses nearby. It’s exciting to see the change.
KG: Do you have any commentary on 3D printer produced home decor?
BY: There’s a lot being achieved with this technique, but I haven’t seen a good example for home decor that caught my eyes quite yet. To me, traditional stuff is more attractive.
KG: If you can help curate a public figure’s home or establishment, who or which would it be?
BY: Jeff Goldblum. He seems to be interested in a lot of things that I’m interested in, and he looks like a fun guy to hang out with.
KG: Are there any design philosophies or architectural movements you live by?
BY: “Less is more.” When you’re able to do so much, it becomes so difficult to know when and how to pull back. True skills show when you’re able to communicate with yourself with less. “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” There are so many occasions where rules are broken when clearly the rules weren’t fully understood. I believe Bauhaus was possible because artists and designers learned about the rules to break them.
The Good Liver can be found at: 705 Mateo St, Los Angeles, CA 90021. For more info., visit: https://good-liver.com/.