Home Away From Home
Phyllis Steinberg reopens of her Soto Lifestyle stores after being shut down due to the coronavirus.
“It’s like coming home!” That’s how Phyllis Steinberg describes the reopening of her Soto Lifestyle stores after being shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic for more than two months. And “home” is exactly the atmos-phere Phyllis and the store’s other co-owners, Pamela Frank and Jodi Perlman, want to share with their customers at Soto Lifestyle and Soto boutiques.
The trio has designed their stores—located in Woodland Hills, Westlake Village and Studio City—to be so cozy, clients will feel like they are inside their own closet when they walk through the doors. Adding to the cheerful ambience is the attentive staff who love their jobs and love helping customers find just the right gift or wardrobe addition.
“We are known for our customer service,” says Pamela. “You are treated like family the minute you put your foot in the door.”
The women’s friendship began nearly three decades ago, and Jodi and Pamela opened the first Soto—which stands for “South on Topanga”—in Woodland Hills in 2006. The clothing and accessories store was so popular, they added the two other Valley locations.
Then in 2010 Phyllis asked Pamela and Jodi if they would like to add gifts to their brand. And Soto Lifestyle was born. “Phyllis previously owned a gift shop and has impeccable taste and a unique eye for design,” shares Jodi. “So the union was flawless. An empire had begun!”
Soto Lifestyle has a stand-alone store in Studio City and sits next door to Soto stores in Woodland Hills and Westlake. The stores focus on unique gifts for the home, accessories and lifestyle clothing—from kimonos to cookbooks to candles.
In addition to offering special items for sale, the owners try to make visiting the stores “an experience” for customers. “What is unique about our business is that we know the lost art of retail!” Pamela says. “It’s all about customer service. We do it old-school, and we have been for the past 10 years!”
Jodi agrees. “It’s so much more than selling items,” she says. “We are the true definition of community, and what everyone missed most during this shutdown was being together. Being connected is so much more than people realize. We have been in contact with many of our customers throughout this entire ordeal.”
Whether you’re seeking books, bracelets or a Buddha statue, Phyllis will stop at nothing to find that special item just for you at an affordable price. “We always shop the trends coming from Europe and stay ahead of what’s new and innovative,” she says. “Our customers like comfort—whether it be our incredible candles that enhance your home with a variety of scents or our informative books that can adorn your coffee table or guide you with inspiring thoughts and information from around the globe.”
Another specialty service offered at Soto Lifestyle is gift wrapping. “We have always felt that wrapping is as important as the actual gift itself,” Phyllis shares. “It’s a wonderful service, as most stores today do not even have a gift box or a nice bag available.”
The owners of these community stores have always given back to the community they love. At the end of each season, they donate merchandise to organizations that need women’s clothing and gifts, such as Casa Pacifica, Inner Circle Foster Care and Beit T’Shuva treatment center. They also support The Change Reaction, an organization that helps small businesses with interest-free loans.
What do Pamela, Jodi and Phyllis have planned for Soto and Soto Lifestyle in the upcoming months? “We are going to keep doing what we do best,” says Jodi, “offering service with a huge smile and a hug … even if it has to be an air hug! We love our Soto and Soto Lifestyle community, and we’re so grateful for your support.”
20929 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills | 2895 Agoura Rd., Westlake Village | 12262 Ventura Blvd., Studio City
818-992-3340 | @sotolifestyle
The food is only part of the charm.