Shopping for a home has so much in common with the quest for the perfect outfit or the hunt for a great gift. As a buyer, you want something unique, beautiful and timeless. You want to work with a skilled expert who loves what they do. Buyer’s often find themselves veering from their Pinterest vision boards and falling in love with the unexpected when working with a truly involved and educated sales professional.
The gifted salesperson understands it’s not about the sale, but the relationship- not about the transaction but about the experience- something that is immediately felt when stepping in Phoenix’s newest boutique Now or Never. Jason Shelby and Wade Parkins, owners and creators, have carefully curated fashion, home, and beauty, into an industrial-lux space in Phoenix’s vibrant Roosevelt Row. The couple focuses on unique and emerging brands and carries a variety of price points- emphasizing their shop is for all to find something they love.
Spending an early morning with the creative couple in their newly opened space we learned more about their move to Phoenix and how their shop came to be.
N: Where are you from?
J: I was born and raised in Tucson but moved to Los Angeles at 21. Wade grew up in Omaha, moved to Atlanta for college and then to Los Angeles.
N: What is your professional background?
W: Jason spent his career in fashion buying, trend forecasting and creative direction for major brands and retailers. I have and still work as a marketing consultant for fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands.
N: How and when did you meet?
J: We met in 2009 at Akbar in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles and have been together ever since.
N: What made you take the plunge from working for other brands to owning your own business?
W: In 2015 we realized that we both wanted to make a career change and also wanted to leave Los Angeles. Without knowing exactly what we wanted to do next, we decided that moving back to Tucson was an easy move. Jason continued consulting for fashion brands and would travel to LA and New York as needed.
J: Wade simultaneously started his own digital agency with a former coworker specializing in fashion and beauty. While living in Tucson, we didn’t see a store that carried the things that we were into and looking for. We saw a void. So we decided to create a modern lifestyle boutique that we would want to shop in. After a year of preparation, we opened Now or Never in 2018.
N: How did you come up with the name for the shop?
W: When we were still in Los Angeles trying to figure out if we were really going to walk away from our established careers, we kept saying, “If we don’t do this now, we’re never going to do it.” That stuck with us and when it came time to name the store, we decided on Now or Never.
N: After LA and Tucson, Why the move to Phoenix? Why did you select downtown for the shop?
J: Soon after we opened Tucson, we noticed that customers from Phoenix were driving down to shop with us. We think this was because we were the only store in Arizona that sold brands like Comme des Garçons and Maison Margiela. We came up to Phoenix multiple times and couldn’t find a store like ours, so we decided to move the shop up here. We started asking our Phoenix customers where we should open. All of them said downtown.
N: Who did you work with to design your space? What was the process like?
W: We designed the space with Tucson based Architects Kathy Hancox and Michael Kothke of HK Associates, who are also good friends of ours. They design amazing, award winning modern homes and also did our Tucson store. We gave them some general ideas, materials and concepts that we loved and they took that and ran with it. We have very similar aesthetics so the whole process was an amazing experience and the store design turned out even better than we imagined.
N: When you do your buying- do you have a muse in mind or inspiration?
J: When buying we don’t have a specific muse in mind as our customer base is so diverse. We just try to find the most compelling product that we can. Product that you can’t get anywhere else in Phoenix. We add new brands every season. In fact, we are constantly receiving new product, as we always want the store to feel fresh.
N: What are your biggest influences/inspo currently?
W: Our influences are wide and varied. Fashion brands that we are personally inspired by include Prada, Jil Sander, Sunnei, Y-3, Raf Simons and of course Comme des Garçons and Maison Margiela. We are inspired by stores like Dover Street Market, whom we are just starting to work with on some upcoming special projects! We are also still inspired by our 90’s formative years and goth/post-punk/rave music and fashion, and also Queer culture. Our home selection is heavily influenced by Japan and Mexico.
N: What are some of your favorite places to eat, drink?
J: We moved here 2 days before the lockdown, so unfortunately we have not been able to properly explore and experience our new home. Some of the places we like to get food/drink from include: Glai Baan, Futuro, Lux and Kaizen. We are looking forward to exploring many more restaurants once things are a bit more safe.
N: What has been the best/most unexpected thing you have found in Phoenix?
W: The diversity of people has been the most unexpected and wonderful thing for us. Our customers are so diverse in every way and they are also so knowledgeable about the brands that we carry, even the lesser known ones. Also the excitement, warmth and support that Phoenix has shown us immediately after opening our doors, blew us away. We were so grateful and humbled by that. We appreciate it so so much.
In the world of sales, whether fashion, homes or anything in between- the person in the client facing position makes the difference and it’s so true in this case. The shop, a beautiful space, full of gorgeous items, will beckon you back- the owner’s Jason and Wade, will make sure that you look forward to it!
Visit Now or Never, 1001 N Central Ave, Phoenix 85004
Written by: Misha Renteria
Photos by: Spenser Lee