Monday, February 14, 2011

Once Upon a Time...

I had a store in San Francisco.  It seems like it was a hundred years ago.  Actually, it was less than ten years ago... in a past life.  I had been wanting a store for a long time.  I grew up in retail.  My parents had a store when I was a kid.  One of my sisters has had her gift shop, Company's Coming, for thirty years in Santa Maria, CA and another sister has had her surf shop in Dana Point, CA, Girl In The Curl, for over ten years.  I guess it's in my blood.

Her name was Flirt.  I wanted that name so badly and I couldn't wait to get to City Hall to make sure it was available.  She was born.  Red floor, two sky blue and one olive green walls (thanks, Billy, for painting them).  Old dress pattern packaging decoupaged down a column by the front window.  The window was a small stage for displays. 

 I loved walking by at night when the shop was closed.  I would stand across the street and look at the window.  Then look up at the red F leaning in one of the panel windows that ran across the top of the building.  She was my baby.  I filled her with fun things for girls.  Handbags, jewelry, slip dresses, make-up, bubble bath and so much more!  It was a lot of fun to buy treats for my store. 

I sold a lot of wares made by some of my friends and always enjoyed telling customers about the various merchandise that they crafted.  Of course I also sold my own wire creations from my wholesale business I partnered with my friend Lori... lorijane... but that is another life.

When I first opened we had quite a block.  Nomad Rugs, owned by my friend Christopher Wahlgren, was on the corner of the alley then Lemonade Home and Garden Antiques, belonged to my friend Marina Avila.  Next was Shear Delight hair salon with two stylists, Craig and Andrea.  Then us, me and my girl.  On Sunny days we would sit outside of our stores and chat with each other and our neighbors.  I had the idea of having block parties and sidewalk sales to drum up business.  

Soon after I opened, Nomad Rugs moved up to Noe Valley.  Then a very close friend of mine, Bradley Burch, decided to open his store Urban Mercantile.  We continued to work that block the best that we could.  The holidays were especially fun because we always had a big party with live music. 

Our neighborhood already wasn't conducive to a lot of shopper foot traffic and then the Dot Com bomb dropped.  Many times people would tell me that they would come back after they got a job.  Even so, we did all have our own clientele and friends that would frequent our stores. 

After a couple of years Lemonade closed.  Which prompted Bradley and I to start looking around at other locations.  I decided to close after my last Christmas, in 2002.  I was sad to close but tired of the struggle.  I didn't have the money to move into a bigger space.  I didn't have the energy to keep my little girl afloat.  I had been through a lot of loss over those years.  Both of my parents and one brothers' deaths.  A big break up.  My wholesale business was also slowing down, after seven strong years of business.  It was time to move on.  At that time I realized that I wasn't going to do the same thing forever.

I let her go.

I remember those days fondly.  Sitting outside on the bench with Bradley, hanging out in Marinas store (buying stuff), getting my haircut next door by Andrea, swing dancing in the shop with Linda, or eating a delicious lunch from the Liberties.  I also, made some strong and lasting friendships through that store.  I held court with friends while sitting at my desk.  I was always coming up with a new idea for decor or gift wrap.  That store was a huge part of my creative process. 

In a way, my life style hasn't changed,  I do a lot of that now but for photo shoots.  A new bird, I am, with the same old wings.

"Hello Flirt"

All I have are good ol' polaroids but here are some window displays

these are some choice shots of the inside

here are some of the people that made the days fun!
P.S. Bradley eventually moved to Cole Valley, where he is thriving and has also opened a second location.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Antiquing in Indy

There is this great antique mall in Indianapolis called Midland Arts and Antiques Market.  They have two other locations one in Carmel which is near Indianapolis and the other in New York.  The huge brick building was originally a lumber yard and then another factory. There are two floors of vendor stalls with a lot of crazy junk but also some beautiful collectibles. 

It's great to have the opportunity to shop in the Mid-west.  There are different types of artifacts and usually much cheaper than what I find in San Francisco and neighboring towns.  I always find something to bring home.  This trip I only bought a few small things that would be easy to ship but, was happy to get an old tin tray from Mexico and a couple of glass compotes. 

I also, like to just look... it's a museum of treasures from the past.  As you will see in these photos.  There is something for everyone. 

Go to Indiana if you dare but wait until Fall when the weather will be kinder. 


Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I woke up this morning thinking about how to write about this process I am in with my new project. 

I have been encouraged by various people, that I work with, to pursue bed styling.  I was apprehensive at first and even was looking for a full time job (yuck).  I just wanted some stability.  One thing that came to me is that there is NO stability.  Who knows what will happen next?! 

While working with my friend, Jeffrey Moss, he suggested that the next step for me is to do a test shoot.  I started to talk about it with people.  That is when, while driving to a photo shoot with Michael Bennett that  he and I decided to collaborate.  Now, I have a photographer.  Then at Christmas,  while driving to my sisters, my niece, Julie Elliott, offered her apartment.  Got a location! Funny how all this process is happening in cars.  Then I was talking to one of our Art Directors, Jim Dorsey, telling him about one of my ideas for the space which was very encouraging.  He then suggested that I do two different rooms in one space.

I sketched my two bedroom ideas.

This is how it starts... I have two rooms that I am planning to put together.

One room will be bright and kitchy with a little Indian flare.


The other room will be in greys, blues and whites with nature inspired elements

I have been going through magazines tearing out pages for inspiration.  I have bought props and have been drawing up my ideas. My friend, Debbie Sciales, is making me bedding.  I have another friend, Javier Serna, painting one of his beautiful lotus flowers for me. All is slowly coming together.  

These are some other inpirational tears.

 Michael and I went to Julies' apartment on Saturday and looked at the space, discussed our plan and he took photos.  Now we need to pick a date.

Yes, the walls are dark but there is a lot of light.  Bright colors will pop. Whites will be super graphic.

I still need a few key pieces... like a bedside table, a lamp and other small items...

Right now,  I am in Indianapolis visiting my boyfriend, Brian.  It is icy cold but I am going to drag him out to do some prop shopping.  I hope to find some cool stuff.

Here we go...