Inside Talulah & Hess gift shop in Lakewood. Photo by Renee Umsted.

Local shop Talulah & Hess is celebrating 20 years in business.

Owner Elizabeth Mast has lived in East Dallas for 30 years, and she currently resides on Swiss Avenue. She spent 27 years working for Fidelity Investments and left the company as senior vice president of institutional sales.

While she was still there, though, she made custom dog collars and sold them at Talulah, a shop in Lakewood Shopping Center. That’s how she got to know the owner, who one day just asked Mast if she wanted to buy the store. Without hesitation, she agreed.

She liquidated the inventory and changed the name to Talulah Belle.

“I wanted something, like a jewel box. And Talulah Belle sounded a little bit Southern, sounded feminine, sounded interesting,” Mast says. “And that’s how I buy. I’m looking for very interesting things.”

About a decade later, the space next door became available, and Mast began renting it, tearing down the wall inside that separated it. She left Fidelity, became a real estate agent and named the new home furnishings store Hess — which stands for home essentials simply stated. Hess is also Mast’s husband’s middle name and the name of his grandfather.

Inside Talulah & Hess. Photo by Renee Umsted.

Then about five years ago, facing an undesirable parking situation and increasing rent and wanting more space in a more visible location, Mast decided to move the store just down the street to its current 3,000-square-foot spot on Live Oak.

“That’s when I rebranded and we did Talulah & Hess, and we were truly a lifestyle boutique, because that’s what I wanted to be,” Mast says. “I wanted to be something that was totally inclusive, that anybody could come in, a very broad range of products so you could live your lifestyle.”

Shoppers will find cards, books, fresh flowers, candles, chocolates, home decor, baby clothes, art, soaps, lotions, drinkware and other gifts. On some days, they serve champagne and truffles.

Mast says there aren’t really any standout items that sell more than others in her store, but when she’s buying, she looks for local vendors, American-made items and products that convey positive, uplifting messages.

Inside Talulah & Hess. Photo by Renee Umsted.

During the pandemic, Mast’s husband delivered items to customers, and the store offered curbside pick-up, too. Its smaller size, at least compared to a department store, helped soothe some shoppers’ concerns, Mast says, and though it was difficult, the shop survived.

Mast, who was one of the founders of Light Up Lakewood, says she’s focused on serving the community. Talulah & Hess contributes to Lipscomb Elementary School, supports many local events and offers products and brands with give-back programs.

“When you walk in, I want it so smell good. I want it to sound good,” Mast says. “People come here multiple times a week, and it’s a place where it’s kind of like their sanctuary.”

Talulah & Hess is located at 5810 Live Oak St. and is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. The store’s holiday open house is scheduled for Nov. 17. 

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