My Cart

Close

I HEART COSTA MESA | Anthill and Chill

I HEART COSTA MESA | Anthill and Chill
Posted on

Ahhh, February. Le mois de l’amour. One of our most favorite months of the year. And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the city is dripping with hearts!

Here, at I Heart Costa Mesa, we’re feeling right at home. After all, love is our jam. But as we move into the fullness of February, the clock is ticking on procuring that special something for our own Valentine.

No worries, though – we got this! That’s because we share a city with the most unique, creative and well-appointed gift shop we have ever seen.

Allow us to introduce you to Anthill Fashion Market and its creator, Elvira Kud. Anthill makes Valentine shopping, birthday shopping, shower shopping – literally all the shopping – fun, easy and always in-fashion.

So this V-Day? Just Anthill… and chill!

I Heart Costa Mesa: Kiss / lips purse at Anthill Fashion Market in Eastside Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)
I Heart Costa Mesa: Rainbow on the rack at Anthill Fashion Market in Eastside Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)
I Heart Costa Mesa: Elvira Kud, creator and owner of Anthill Fashion Market in Eastside Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)
ELVIRA KUD, CREATOR AND OWNER OF ANTHILL FASHION MARKET, IN EASTSIDE COSTA MESA, CALIFORNIA.
I Heart Costa Mesa: Neon lady astronaut at Anthill Fashion Market in Eastside Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)
I Heart Costa Mesa: "Be a cactus" at Anthill Fashion Market in Eastside Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)

Photos: Brandy Young

Taking up 7,000 square feet across two full floors – inside a bright-orange building right on the corner of Newport Boulevard and East 18th Street – Anthill is unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

But then again, Elvira Kud is unlike anyone we’ve ever met.

Originally from Switzerland, Kud started out as a jewelry designer and residential interior-designer. She first landed in Los Angeles, but by the time she made her way down to Orange County, she wanted to take her creativity in a new direction, beyond design work.

“When we got here, I’d had my third baby, and was ready for a new challenge,” said Kud, perched gracefully at the edge of an in-store settee, amongst a pile of pillows. “I’d always had it in my head to do a playful, concept store with something for everyone. I wanted it to be a full experience, with merchandise for the women, the men – but lots for the kids, too.”

Playfulness is part of the package at Anthill Fashion Market in Eastside Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)

Photo: Brandy Young

The store would be unique, one-of-a-kind and – as a busy mom – Kud knew it had to be close-to-home, too.

That’s when she happened upon the building at the corner of Newport + East 18th. Eat Chow restaurant was already thriving in a portion of the shared, downstairs space. And the synergy made sense to Kud – diners could become shoppers, and hungry shoppers could dine.

“I had heard the baby store that used to be here was closing down,” said Kud. “So I came to look at the space and it clicked. I approached the landlord, who is a wonderful woman, actually a children’s book author! I submitted my concept to her and she loved it.”

Kud signed the lease and got to work, stocking her shelves with distinctive items that expressed her colorful, creative style.

I Heart Costa Mesa: Gold toilet with pretend poop at Anthill Fashion Market in Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)
I Heart Costa Mesa: Sparkly girls glitter shoes at Anthill Fashion Market in Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)
FAMILY-FRIENDLY FUN AND FASHION ON THE CORNER OF NEWPORT BLVD. AND EAST 18TH IN COSTA MESA.
I Heart Costa Mesa: Bjork-inspired kids' swan dress at Anthill Fashion Market in Eastside Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)
I Heart Costa Mesa: A rack with funny, novelty socks at Anthill Fashion Market in Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)
I Heart Costa Mesa: A wall of colorful tote bags and purses at Anthill Fashion Market in Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)

Photos: Brandy Young

The vibe at Anthill walks an interesting line. It’s a juxtaposition that’s silly, yet stylish… playful, yet posh… frivolous, yet fashionable.

The name ‘Anthill’ comes from the idea that ants are both hardworking and all about the family.

“Costa Mesa is an eclectic city and we get an eclectic crowd,” said Kud. “I wanted everything about the store to reflect that. I get these wonderful grandmothers, these stylish young moms, some days the edgy customers, some days the sophisticated ones – all kinds of people shop here. I love it.”

Kud’s greatest joy is seeing her customers really engaged in the experience of the store.

“If I can make someone smile, that’s everything to me,” said Kud. “Adults these days need more playfulness in their lives, they’re too serious. If I hear people laughing to themselves in the store – if they see something funny and it makes the chuckle – that makes me so happy.

“It means I’ve succeeded in bringing a little bit of fun back into their life. That’s the best feeling!”

Silly Side: Elvira Kud at Anthill Fashion Market in Eastside Costa Mesa. (photo: Brandy Young)
I Heart Costa Mesa: Gift wrap at Anthill Fashion Market in Eastside Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)
SHOWING OFF HER SILLY SIDE: ELVIRA KUD AT ANTHILL FASHION MARKET IN EASTSIDE COSTA MESA.
I Heart Costa Mesa: "Take a selfie, fake a life" at Anthill Fashion Market in Eastside Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)
I Heart Costa Mesa: Funny, novelty bathroom air freshener spray at Anthill Fashion Market in Eastside Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)
I Heart Costa Mesa: Great gifts, novelties and apparel at Anthill Fashion Market in Eastside Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)

Photos: Brandy Young

While novelty gifts, funny cards and toys make a strong showing at Anthill, Kud is quick to point out that she’s not strictly for kids.

“People sometimes drive by and, at first glace, think we’re a toy store,” said Kud. “Nothing could be further from the truth! We’re a concept store for everyone. We’re a place you can enjoy a glass of champagne, relax and shop with your girlfriends. A place to get a beautiful birthday gift for your wife.

That’s the message I really want to get across to our customers – and our future customers, too. Yes, we have beautiful items for children. But we are so much more than that. Anthill is meant for people who don’t even have children, or grandkids, too!”

While the first floor at Anthill is geared towards kids and funnyboned gift-givers – the second story is fashion-focused and tastefully curated with adult shoppers in mind.

She even has an entire section of vintage clothing.

“I have vintage pieces from 1920s and 30s and going all the way up to 70s,” said Kud. “Most have been only worn maybe once or twice – some have never been worn. Also, you’ll find street fashion, there, as well as designer pieces.”

I Heart Costa Mesa: Step on up to the second floor boutique at Anthill Fashion Market in Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)
I Heart Costa Mesa: Step on up to the second floor at Anthill Fashion Market in Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)
A WHOLE OTHER WORLD AWAITS ON THE SECOND FLOOR AT ANTHILL FASHION MARKET, COSTA MESA.
I Heart Costa Mesa: Step on up to the second floor boutique at Anthill Fashion Market in Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)
I Heart Costa Mesa: Step on up to the second floor boutique at Anthill Fashion Market in Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)
I Heart Costa Mesa: Cute sneakers selection at Anthill Fashion Market in Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)
I Heart Costa Mesa: Bumblebee apothecary jar at Anthill Fashion Market in Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)
I Heart Costa Mesa: Beveled drinking glasses at Anthill Fashion Market in Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)
I Heart Costa Mesa: Luxurious scarves and apparel at Anthill Fashion Market in Costa Mesa, California. (photo: Brandy Young)

Photos: Brandy Young

Kud hopes that by offering something for everyone, Anthill will inspire more families to get out and shop local, here in Costa Mesa.

“We shouldn’t be closed off, in front of our computers, all day, shopping online,” emphasized Kud. “Your neighbors are right outside your door, small businesses waiting for you to come in. In Europe, shopping is an inviting, outdoorsy thing. People get out, go shopping, walk around. I want to bring a little of that experience to Orange County.”

Thank you, Elvira Kud, and Anthill Fashion Market, for sharing your story with I Heart Costa Mesa!

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, take your cue from Elvira Kud and shop Costa-Mesa local, this year! And if your sweetie has a great sense of humor – sense of style – or both, Anthill would be a most-excellent place to start. ♥

Source:  I HEART COSTA MESA - Published February 2019

Welcome to Anthill shopNplay!

Join our mailing list