Best friends for 30 years, Reservoir co-founders Aliza Neidich and Alissa Jacob are a lot more like sisters. After unsuccessfully searching for fulfillment in other careers — Aliza in PR, and Alissa in real estate — the inseparable pair had the realization that they could create something game-changing by joining forces and merging skillsets. After quitting her job, Alissa left New York and joined her BFF out in Los Angeles. Putting their heads together, the duo came up with the idea to open a concept store, something they’d both noticed was conspicuously lacking in this city. It wasn’t long after signing their first lease in Silverlake that the duo got the first taste of entrepreneurship stress (and we’re pretty sure it hasn’t stopped yet).
“We found a space we loved, signed a lease and began construction. However, to make a long story short, we found out we were being lied to by the landlord and we had to get out of our lease while trying to recoup as much money as possible and figuring out what to do with the inventory that was trickling in from vendors,” explains Alissa. Forced to act quickly, the partners decided to open a pop-up shop on Roberston Blvd., where they’ve remained for the last year. “Through this, we learned that not everything will always go to plan, and you really have to be able to roll with the punches in order to be successful,” says Aliza. “Sometimes obstacles happen for a reason. It definitely tested our will, and I'm proud of how we resolved what could have been a disastrous situation,” adds Alissa.
Alissa is wearing Keds' Champion Originals.
Despite some early real estate woes, the Reservoir business has continued to grow. Alissa describes the passion, and, at times, depression, that comes with the territory of owning your own business. “You will never feel more invested in anything. Knowing that this business is a reflection of our work motivates me to make it the best it can be. It's exciting and stressful and rewarding all at the same time,” she says. “The concept of a career five years ago was so hazy to me. Even though I had a job, or jobs, I knew they wouldn't satisfy my own definition of 'career.'"
"I'm happy I was able to find something that regularly allows me feel both challenged and passionate,” echoes Aliza, of the transition from working for someone else to being in charge of your own destiny."
If working for yourself is difficult, you might wonder about what happens when your best friend becomes your business partner? Luckily, with the help of some sound advice from friends and a detailed partnership agreement, Alissa and Aliza haven’t let the dynamic come between them. “Sometimes, even though it's awkward, we need to talk business,” says Alissa. “Emotions are definitely still involved, but the partnership agreement allows us to separate work from friendship when we need to.”
So, what’s next for the business partners and besties behind LA’s coolest one-stop-shopping destination? The duo hopes to expand their online business and possibly add a few new locations. “On a grand scale, I'd love to have Reservoir be a go-to for online and in-store shoppers worldwide. On a smaller scale, I'd maybe die if Jessica Lange came in and shopped,” says Aliza. This November, Reservoir celebrated one year in LA. “The first year is so difficult, I'd like to get the business to a point where we are profitable and can consider possible expansion. Hopefully we have developed a unique brand with character that would be valued in different markets as well,” says Alissa.
One thing both ladies can agree they’ve learned from this last year? Everything happens for a reason. And, yes, that includes shady landlords.