Wouldn’t it be nice to walk out of your DC office and escape to a breezy summer home in Greece?
Well, now you can (sort of). Laiik, the DC-based Greek sandal line run by local siblings, will host a summer-long pop-up in Dupont Circle that’s designed to look like a Mediterranean vacation escape. It soft opens April 20, but will officially be open for the summer come May 1.
Inside, expect to see high ceilings, a minimalist aesthetic, and lots of white, says Helene Theros, who cofounded Laiik with her brother and sister. “There’s this Greek minimalism that I think we all wanted to express,” she says of creating the space. “The simplicity of the design enhances the beauty of the materials and the raw ingredients [in our products]. We see that when we work on our shoes, but we also want to show it in our pop-ups.”
Customers can stop by to check out the brand’s sandals, which are handmade in Greece by third-generation artisans out of Italian vegetable-dyed leather. The Greek-American siblings grew up buying sandals on their trips to Greece, says Theros, so they knew they wanted to bring the same detailed craftsmanship and authenticity to their own shoes.
In addition to the sandals, there will also be a curated selection of handbags, art, ceramics, and swimwear by young, up-and-coming Greek designers.
“We want to build out the story of who we are and where our products come from and how they’re made,” says Theros. “Pop-ups are always a great experience because you’re able to meet your customers, get them involved in where the shoes came from, and connect the consumer with the people who are making them.”
And don’t forget to grab a freddo cappuccino on the house. “Greeks are obsessed with iced coffee,” says Theros of the cold espresso drink, a Greek classic that will be handed out to customers. “We take it very seriously.”
In addition to the Dupont Circle storefront, Laiik will host a shorter pop-up in Union Market from May 6 to 19. It’ll be a smaller version of the Dupont Circle site, with the same Mediterranean vacation vibes, but this location particularly hits home for Theros and her siblings. Their Greek grandfather owned a diner in the Union Market area from 1949 to 1957.
“It’s funny because we took my father down to Union Market a few months ago, and we went to Cotton & Reed,” says Theros. “He walks in, and he was like, ‘I think this is the same area where my dad’s restaurant was.'”
And the Laiik team wants to incorporate partnerships and collaborations that will turn the pop-up into a “mini Greek cultural event,” says Theros. She hopes to bring in local Greek baked goods or live music like the team did at their smaller Georgetown pop-up last summer.
After the store wraps up in August, the team will take the sandals on more pop-ups across the country. This fall and winter, they’re planning to hit Texas and Southern California. And more Laiik styles are in-the-works, as well, says Theros. Keep an eye out for an expansion into men’s footwear and more women’s styles, too.
Laiik; 1710 Connecticut Avenue