Known as the preeminent spot to find the finest, most distinctive lamps and custom lighting creations in Los Angeles, Fantasy Lighting, located just west of La Brea on Melrose Avenue, has been lighting up the Golden State for over 50 years. Want to turn a vintage Italian vase into a lamp or repair your beloved Fontana Arte floor lamp or have a custom-sized, striped, linen drum shade created? Look no further than Fantasy. This shop does 75 to 100 custom lampshades every week!
A mainstay for interior designers, set decorators, and production designers, Fantasy Lighting has long been one of our favorite shops and its proprietor, Marc Trabulus, has become one of our trusted go-to guys for all things amazing in the world of lighting. In fact, we just custom-ordered 16 sconces from Marc for a clients’ home in the Palisades.
For the past couple years, Trabulus has been curating a second shop called Buster Store, an outdoorsy, eclectic, and interesting collection of manly bibelots like ships inside of glass bottles and original vintage plein air paintings. Fantasy has shifted into another part of the Melrose Ave showroom, sharing its space with Buster Store as it evolves.
Here, we’ve asked Fantasy/Buster Store owner Marc a few quickie Q’s to his A’s:
KH: How do Fantasy Lighting and Buster Store intersect and/or complement one another?
Marc: Sometimes there’s a nice, surprising splash-over between the two; mainly displaying a Fantasy light in the midst of a Buster set-up– shows customers how a light can be used in a more organic setting–not too much new about that style of retailing. But if it’s done right, it’s surprising and cool!
KH: What inspired you to start Buster Store?
Marc: Buster origin is that I lost my old denim chore-coat, company stopped making them, so I thought I’d make my own. I looked to buy samples, and decided might as well go wholesale, buy extras (American-made only)—and sell in store (what store)? One thing led to another and started section of its own-saw old busted up truck on street called store The Buster Store. Never made my own jacket…
3 – After so many years in the lighting and design business, what would be a couple of tried-and-true lessons you’ve gleaned and would be able to share? On retailing: buy stuff to sell you really like: it’ll come through when you talk about it to customers, not just what you think will sell. If you love it, it comes through! Love it. Most of my Buster stuff I don’t really want to sell. Be genuine. Any change of order 3 times or more will never turn out right! If a customer tells you it’s really simple, and they’d do it themselves but just don’t have the time, it won’t be simple! And won’t be cheap! The customer is not always right! Measure 2,3,4 times to cut once! If you have great product , it should sell itself. Don’t make someone buy something they’re on the fence about, it’ll just be returned.. And on and on..
4 – The most fun part of your job is? Great fun working with designers and decorators who know what they’re doing– making contributions that work out great. Being thanked for your ideas. Starting on the ground floor on a new hotel, or restaurant and seeing it through til opening
5 – The most challenging part of your job is? Least fun– ridiculous amount of paperwork to run a retail store.