Former CAA Assistant Launches L.A. Shopping App Offering Delivery in Two Hours

Courtesy of Curio
Christine Outram and former CAA assistant Lena Khouri (right), co-founders of Curio.

It also includes a gift-by-text service designed with entertainment industry assistants in mind.

Ever wish you could shop L.A. boutiques from your desk and have the goods delivered, Uber-style? There's a new app for that. 

Curio offers two-hour delivery of fashion and gifts from 13 L.A. boutiques, and a gift-by-text service designed with entertainment industry assistants in mind.

It was created by Lena Khouri, who worked in the talent recruitment division at CAA before moving to Deutsch marketing communications agency, where she worked with Christine Outram creating apps for brands such as Taco Bell, Volkswagen and Target. Last year, they ventured out on their own to co-found L.A.-focused fashion and gift shopping app Curio.

“We realized there was an opportunity to put local boutiques onto one platform for easy discoverability and to take the hassle out of shopping,” says Khouri, explaining her frustration when trying to use Google and Yelp to find local shops and products, only to have results prioritize big-brand partnerships. “Convenience shouldn’t just be from Amazon; you should be able to find things and get them conveniently from your local community, too.”

So far, the app has partnered with 13 L.A. boutiques to offer more than 5,000 items that can be searched by shop, or users can chat with a stylist for advice and recommendations. The focus is unique womenswear, menswear and accessories, plus giftables, that average $70 to $200. Partners include surf-oriented menswear stores Banks Journal at Row DTLA and Salt Surf in Culver City, former celeb fashion stylist Dechel Mckillian’s sustainable womenswear shop Galerie.LA at Row DTLA, Venice-based Coldsmoke Apparel’s menswear and gear for outdoor adventurers, upscale women’s boutique Reservoir in Culver City and artsy Atwater Village gift boutique Arora Boheme.

“We are high-style, not Rodeo Drive high fashion or fast fashion,” says Khouri. "Every neighborhood in L.A. has its own style and these quality boutiques bring that spirit to life, so more people should know about them.” Outram adds: “Celebrating the small businesses and creative makers in our community is something we’re really passionate about.”

A couple weeks ago, the company launched an invite-only, direct texting gift request service for entertainment industry assistants, starting with 12 assistants at CAA. “Thinking back to my days as an assistant at CAA, I remembered how your boss is always asking you to find gifts for clients, ” says Khouri. “So we launched this new service, where they have exclusive access to a phone number to text our in-house stylist Audrey what they’re looking for, so they can reach us in all channels to make their life easy. We’re also offering assistants an incentive of five percent cash back on each order; once they hit $50, we send them an AmEx gift card. And they earn ten dollars every time they refer someone and that person makes their first purchase.”

The first CAA gift order came from an assistant to a motion picture literary agent looking for a “moon rock,” a nod to the theme of a forthcoming film. “We said, ‘Do you mean weed or an actual rock from the moon?’ because it could mean either one,” says Khouri. “She told us she wanted an actual rock from the moon. We didn’t have one on our app, but we were working out of a coffee shop in Santa Monica and happened to find one directly across the street at World’s Best Nature Store. The owner had one left and told us he is one of two stores in the U.S. that carries them. It cost $120, came with a certificate of authenticity, and we delivered it under two hours.”

Another request recently rolled in for Bambo Nature eco-friendly baby diapers in size five that the Curio team found at a local kids boutique and dispatched pronto to CAA.

“We’re all about surprise and delight,” says Outram. “If we can find things people want or need at local shops, beyond our boutique partners, we’ll absolutely do it. Our goal is to be a personal shopper in your pocket.”

In the future, the duo hopes to expand the Curio app to include Orange County, San Diego and possibly San Francisco, Austin and New York.