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LA's retail power couples pair work with love

These five power couples fill us in on what it's like working together behind the scenes at some of the city's top shops


What makes an LA power couple? We talk to the stylish set behind some of the must-visit shops in Los Angeles to see how they met, what it's like working together, and their choice Valentine's Day gift ideas—since they collectively own some of the best gift shops in the city. These significant others share just how they're blurring the lines between work and play.

RECOMMENDED: Meet the power couples of Los Angeles

Meet these stylish power couples

Power couple Angie Myung and Ted Vadakan of Poketo

Angie Myung and Ted Vadakan

Years together: 13
Occupation: Owners and designers at Poketo

Time Out: What is the best part about being married and working together?
Angie Myung:
We've always worked together so we don't know any other way. We're really different so we jive really well together. Ted is more focused on big ideas and I'm more about executing it.
Ted Vadakan:
I think we seem to balance each other out in a lot of ways, which is great. My favorite thing about working with Angie is that it's something fun that we're building together, which is really incredible.

Time Out: What was your wedding like?
TV: We got married in 2008, here in LA, in Downtown.
AM: That was a funny story. We were working out of Downtown for a long time. In 2007 we moved our operation from our house to Downtown to the Barker Block [lofts] when it had just opened. It's a beautiful space upstairs so we're like, why don't we just get married here? Not many people had moved in, so we were like, let's just go up there and get married.
TV: We planned our wedding in like less than a month. We didn't want to do a year-long planning. As long as our close friends and family were there. And we had our favorite taco truck [Taco Zone] cater the wedding.
AM: It was a really casual and fun wedding.

Time Out: What would you say is the most challenging part of working together, if there is any?
TV: Separating work from your personal life sometimes.
AM: At work you can't really talk to each other about some things, so we bring that home and then we can talk more openly, but then we have work at home.

Time Out: Any plans for Valentine's Day this year?
AM: We don't really do anything. I hate going out on Valentine's Day. It's the worst. You're paying for bad service and it's always crowded.
TV: We're very spontaneous and last minute. Sometimes, if anything, we will try to do something either before or after, but not on Valentine's Day.

Time Out: You have a store filled with gifts. Do you give each other gifts?
AM: Not really. I actually really don't like owning things, because this is what I do. I own so much! I really don't like little gifts, I like experiences. If Ted wants to give me a gift, then it's travel. That's what we do on our birthdays, we take a trip somewhere—we go for a drive, we go to Big Sur or Joshua Tree. That's what I want, I don't want things.
TV: I like gifts just for the thought. If Angie were to give me something, I would think that's very sweet because I know that she is not the type to do that, so to be able to take the time to do that, it would mean something to me. But I also feel the same way—if we could travel and go somewhere, that's my favorite.

Power couple Andy Griffith and Rose Apodaca of A+R
Photograph: Ramona Rosales

Rose Apodaca and Andy Griffith

Years together: 10
Occupation: Owners at A+R

Time Out: What’s the best part about working together?
RA: We don’t get to travel as much now as we did back in the early days, because we have so many more responsibilities now, but that was great. I think just getting excited about stuff together.
AG: I think it’s still exciting to buy new things. I think that thrill that I used to have doing a mail order for some t-shirt when I was 12 years old, getting the package and opening—you still get that thrill even if it’s a big piece of furniture. And we get to see each other a lot.

Time Out: Describe your ideal date night.
I think what we did last night—last night we had a date night. We drop Nina [their daughter] off early and we go back to the house, and then we go out to eat.
AG: We 'dot dot dot' and then we go out to eat. The important thing is the 'dot dot dot' before the eating and after the dropping off. You have to get the timing right because if you eat first, then forget it.

Time Out: What (if anything) do you typically do for Valentine’s Day?
Well, we do our Valentine’s card.
RA: We are always too exhausted during the holidays to do our holiday dinner and to send out Christmas cards. When Nina was born we did a Valentine’s card, which also served as an announcement card. We did a portrait with Ramona Rosales, who also photographs a lot of our stuff here [in the store]. It’s a family portrait but there’s always a concept behind it. We always try to do something heart-related.

Time Out: What’s the most challenging part of working together?
Pink or red.
RA: He says that because we have this seating [piece] that we’re getting for the store and he asked me to pick a color and I said I like the pink, red, or green one.
AG: I think the worst thing is the best thing. The best thing is seeing a lot of each other and sometimes that could be the worst thing because you just want a minute to yourself. The other thing is learning to turn off sometimes.

Time Out: What’s one thing about love that you want to teach your daughter?
It’s a little cliché, I guess, but—that love is unconditional.
AG: I would like to teach Nina that love is timeless so that when I’m gone that love will still be there, even when I’m not there.
RA: I do also think of that cliché, ‘blood is thicker than water.’ I’ve never been a proponent of [it] but I have even stronger feelings about it now. I think that love is beyond blood—it transcends blood ties.

Power couple Peter Graham and Sophie Esteban of Broome St. General Store
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Sophie Esteban and Peter Graham

Years together: 6
Occupation: Owners at Broome Street General Store

Time Out: How did you meet?
Sophie Esteban:
We met at a barbeque in Silver Lake and we were both getting set up with other people. He was getting set up with my friend and so I didn't really have an impression of him. He knows—I thought he was kind of an asshole.
Peter Graham:
My impression of her was the most dynamic personality that I'd seen. I was stuck to her, like, 'who is this person?'
Oh, now I feel bad.

Time Out: Were your first impressions accurate?
100 percent.
SE: (laughing) 100 percent.

Time Out: What happened after the first time you met?
From that day on we pretty much have spent everyday together.
We actually tried to impose days and times to not see each other.
Thinking like this is unhealthy. We don't want to burn out. Let's respect this process or something like that. Yeah, we tried to do that and it didn't work, with the exception of a few out-of-town solo trips.

Time Out: What's the best part about working together?
That we get to be together. We're best friends.
When you're an entrepreneur we can never turn it off, we're always, always working. To be able to do it with your lover and your best friends, it's the best thing. It also could be the worst thing, too, because we can't turn it off.
That's the hard part: turning it off for the sake of our kids and for our own sanity.
And for the sake of our own marriage, too, because neither of us is a perfect husband or wife and neither of us is a perfect business partner. When you have two really big relationships like that, both with each other, if you mess up with the business or with the marriage, everything is so intertwined.

Time Out: What are your plans for Valentine's Day this year?
Valentine's Day is a big day for us because we're in retail. Everybody always waits until the last minute. I really have fun helping people on Valentine's Day. 
All of the holidays, but Valentine's Day is the best one. We have a lot of couples that come every morning together, and the days leading up to or the day of Valentine's Day, both will come in separately.
It's like a secret registry situation, like, 'tell my wife I want this,' or 'tell my husband I want this...'
I keep notes!
SE: Valentine's Day is much more high-stakes than Christmas. There is something on the line for Valentine's Day! It's like, 'am I going to get laid tonight or not?' It's hysterical. That's why Valentine's Day is one of my favorites, because you see the guys coming in here and it's like, this is the make-it-or-break-it.

Time Out: When did you get married?
We did the Hollywood thing, so we had a baby first. We got married in 2013.
We eloped in Provence and we did a second [wedding] for our friends and family in LA about 6-8 months after.
SE: I never wanted to get married, I should say.

Time Out: What changed?
Peter really wanted to, and he really asked. I think that was a big part of it. At a certain point, when you have a family with somebody, it becomes not just about this is what I want and I have political or moral beliefs, it's like I'm giving myself to this person because we have a family together. There was something also really significant to me about all of us having the same name. I know that that's maybe old fashioned, but... that's what changed.

Power couple Michael “Frosti” Zernow and Dina Epstein of Clark & Madison

Dina Epstein and Michael “Frosti” Zernow

Years together: 4.5
Occupation: Owners at Clark & Madison

Time Out: What was your first impression of each other?
Dina Epstein: I was pissed because [my friends] were trying to hook me up with Frosti, who was hanging out with this other girl, so I was like 'what the hell?' So, my first impression was skewed. But then, he took off his shirt and I was like 'hmm...impression changed!'
Frosti Zernow: (jokingly) I thought her sister was hot.
DE: Yeah, well, we’re identical twins.

Time Out: What’s the best part about working together?
FZ: I think the best part is probably also the hardest part, which is that there is very little separation between our work life and our personal life. So that means that we get to spend a ton of time together and I don’t necessarily think about work as working, which is really nice. That’s my ideal situation, but it also does mean that we end up working really late and crazy early sometimes, too.
DE: It’s also nice because we can work over a drink at happy hour sometimes. That’s my favorite time to work.

Time Out: What do you want for Valentine’s Day this year?
FZ: Time with the woman I love! I think almost all my presents to Dina are a night at a hotel or a spa or a bed and breakfast.
DE: For my birthday we went to the Ace Hotel and it was really nice because we did a staycation and our production studio is downtown. We had breakfast in bed, I walked to production and he was on his laptop working, and it was amazing. I would love a staycation for Valentine’s Day!

Time Out: Do you want a staycation, too?
FZ: I want what she wants.
DE: Good answer!

Time Out: What is the sexiest gift you have ever given to each other?
FZ: I gave her a topless photo of myself.
DE: For Valentine’s Day last year! He said, 'I’m giving you three things for Valentine’s Day: I’m giving you something sweet, something sexy...' and I can’t remember the other thing. The something sexy was a picture of him posing with this shirt off and I immediately took the picture and framed it, because if he was going to do something ridiculous like that he has to look at it every day. And then he did a striptease for me. It was really funny.
FZ: One time she got new lingerie and I felt like it was for me. That’s the kind of gift that I want to get on Valentine’s Day!
DE: One of the sweetest things that he’s ever gotten me is that he sent me a list of reasons why he loves me, when we were in a long distance relationship. He would text me in the morning like '#95 how you always sleep in the morning.'
FZ: And I put them all in a box when I proposed. I wrote them out by hand and put them in a box with the ring.

Power couple Lindsay Parton and Raan Parton of Alchemy Works

Lindsay Parton and Raan Parton

Years together: 11
Occupation: Owners at Alchemy Works

Time Out: What made you open Alchemy Works?
Lindsay Parton: Raan and his brother own Apolis and we've always wanted to do something together that was a little more of a full complete lifestyle picture of a place where we would want to shop ourselves. We do a lot of the buying together but I do a lot of the day-to-day, while Raan does both [Alchemy Works] and Apolis.

Time Out: What would you say is the best part of working together?
Raan Parton: I think the best part is that a lot of relationships and couples are not necessarily on the same page on the day-to-day and at the end of the day it's like, 'what did you do today?' and guys rarely want to discuss what they dealt with their entire day. I think it's one benefit that we're always on the same page.
LP: It's fun because we now get a better excuse to travel together. We always had the mindset of working while traveling. For this store we do a lot of vintage buying when we're on the road. It's a way for us to feel like we're adding to the store in all of our travels.

Time Out: What would you say is the most challenging part of working together?
Always trying to look for that extra outside inspiration. It's something we're doing but we're always together so we're not really seeing things from a different perspective, separately. We also take work home [with us] sometimes and that's something that's hard to turn off.

Time Out: How did you first meet and what was your first impression of each other?
He was definitely not my style. I met him and thought that he's absolutely not my type. He had long blonde hair, very much on the surf team.
RP: I was a surfer bro.
LP: It was definitely not my style but he was so friendly and became friends with all my friends and all of them were like, 'he's hilarious, why are you resisting?' It was a long courting process.
RP: I met her two days before I moved to Europe for a year. I was impressed by her but two of my friends were interested in her at the same time and I was like there's a lot of drama [right there]. I moved and came back and that problem had sorted itself out, so I asked her out.

Time Out: So were your first impression accurate?
I think it was our truest selves. I mean, he bought his first polo shirt when he came to meet my parents for the first time in Colorado and now he makes polo shirts, so it's come full circle.

Time Out: What is your ideal date night?
Probably like an eighth grade date, like California Pizza Kitchen... no I'm just kidding. My dates are like terrifying and amazing. I remember one of our first dates here was this amazing mariscos truck in deep East LA. Things aren't just good because they're expensive—an experience is finding those [hidden] places.
LP: We like that high-low. Our Cheers bars are R+D Kitchen and Farmshop in Santa Monica.