Spa Report

Big Bang: Confessions of a Real-Life Treasure Hunter

Paula Avellaneda founded her Big Bang boutique as a repository of treasures from her global travels. From New Delhi to Patagonia, Botswana to Uzbekistan and everywhere in between, her Miami shop celebrates the way objects transmit culture from hand to hand. Big Bang has officially popped up at The Standard Spa, Miami Beach, and we caught up with Paula to talk sustainability, bay days (with her adorable pups) and what makes Miami so eclectic.
Your curated pieces at Big Bang capture the feeling of global travel, but still feel right at home in Miami Beach. What is it about Miami that encourages the eclectic?

Miami has such a great mix of people that have moved here from all over the world, and I feel there is so much acceptance and appreciation in individual styles because of this. People come to enjoy and have fun and that really shows through the way they dress. I have to admit, I never wore a single print before moving to Miami, and definitely did not dress as colorful when I lived in Buenos Aires.

Of all the places you’ve traveled (in search of adventure, treasures or both) which place do you find the most underrated? The most overrated?

The most underrated I would say is Shenzhen. If you think of China, exquisite hand made one-of-a kind designs is not the first thing that comes to mind. I was completely thrown at how amazing the underground fashion designers are there. Their work is out of this world and I had no idea until I actually went to meet a few young brands in person. The most overrated would be any place that is super touristy and commercial, where it’s really hard to find anyone that actually lives and works there year-round. So many markets all have the same things. One that is maybe a little over rated is the weekly street market of Rio de Janeiro...but even there I found a jewelry designer that does these strange handmade pressed metal bracelets with fire opals pushed inside that was so amazing I had to keep them for myself. 

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

I would say a pendant I was gifted by my grandmother that I always saw her wearing as I grew up. It’s a little clown with arms and legs that can move. I love it because it’s so simple and complex at the same time, and also because I have never come across anything similar again. It also reminds me of my family and gives me a feeling of home when I wear it.

Many of the stories behind Big Bang products connect to sustainability. Tell us what that mission means to you.

Most if not all of the pieces we carry are hand finished, made in small quantities and have a person behind that is dreaming them up and bringing their vision to life. They are out there to express themselves and connect with others through their work. Each designer has their own stance on sustainability and it’s great to see how each one approaches it. I learn from that every day. In general, I steer away from brands that are mass produced of course, but also, we pay a lot of attention to the materials used. We carry mostly collections made in natural fibers, or recycled synthetics for swim which are great. 

Retail is a notoriously tough space for young brands to break out, especially opening a shop. What advice would you give to someone just starting out? 

There are so many ways to go about retail, other than having your own store which is an immense commitment. The baby steps start out with having a good product that you believe in, and then really finding the perfect space for that where you become visible to the community you are trying to reach. 

Describe the perfect day at The Standard Spa, Miami Beach.

My perfect day at the standard is hanging out with friends by the pool on a weekend. We love to take out the paddle boards and go for a ride with our dogs in the bay.


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