Underwire: March 2024 ‘A Tale of Two Cities’

“So where are you living now?” This is a question I get asked a lot. For those of y’all new to this newsletter, let me enumerate the bullet points of how I came to live in two cities at once.

  • We decided to expand Jenette Bras to Atlanta partly because this is the city where my mother’s family is from and partly for the food and film production.
  • We bought a small house with a large basement in Southwest Atlanta to use as a base for our Southern expansion. In the basement we staged all the elements of our Decatur build-out, including vintage factory windows, custom cabinetry and racks, mannequins, paper goods and boxes and boxes of inventory.
  • The plan was to open the store in Decatur, throw a fabulous opening party, do a few events, interviews, and, with everything in motion, rent the house out and take a two week vacation before heading back to LA.
  • The Atlanta store opened its doors for business on March 8, 2020. We had a good first week before COVID shut the whole country down.

Timing is everything, eh?

Needless to say, those other parts of the plan were slightly delayed. So here we were, locked down in this strange house, in a new city with only a suitcase of clothes and, thankfully, our car (we had driven across country), now operating five shuttered stores in two states. I won’t go into more detail of that time, lest I trigger some PTSD, but we decided to extend our stay in Atlanta.

Spring turned to Summer, then Fall, then Winter. The pandemic didn’t go away. I sat on my porch each morning, coffee in hand, looking out onto a wooded public golf course, girding myself for the onslaught of zoom meetings and brainstorming to figure out how to save the business. Sometimes to clear my head I walked for hours along the Beltline and the Lionel Hampton Trail, and down empty streets in the neighborhood. In the evening we’d sit on the porch with a glass of wine, listening to the thrumming of frogs in the creek, and watching the sun set. Jenette Bras survived and I fell in love with Atlanta.

I am also forever in love with LA. I’ve lived in the same 100 year old house for almost 37 years. I raised my three kids here and have a close circle of friends. In the mornings I sit on my porch drinking coffee and look onto the Hollywood Hills and San Gabriel Mountains, bougainvillea and palm trees. I take my walks in my little Eastside neighborhood and around a public park filled with kids playing baseball and soccer, families having dinner on a blanket on the grass or throwing huge birthday parties with balloons, tacos, cake, and licuados. Then in the evenings we’ll sit on the back porch and marvel at the sunset that only the Los Angeles winter sky can provide.

So, where am I living now? I don’t know. Let me look outside.

jenette goldstein