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.
|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.