Saturday, November 24, 2012

Small Business Saturday: Five of My Favorite Bay Area Boutiques

I have always had trouble getting behind the idea of Black Friday - the lines, the chaos, and the "sales". Don't get me wrong, I love a good sale but "Black Friday Sales" usually are just discounts that the mass retailers are likely to give later in the month, through their loyalty programs or after Christmas. The idea of corporations herding us like sheep into the malls and department stores to buy something mass-produced and completely unoriginal, makes me cringe at the thought.

One Christmas season shopping day I do support is Small Business Saturday.  Small Business Saturday is  an American shopping holiday held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving during one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.  The holiday was conceived by the credit card company American Express, and  was first celebrated on November 27, 2010. Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local and it is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Small Businesses are incredibly important to me as both of my parents are owners of their own small businesses and one day I hope to follow in their footsteps. Small businesses are also integral to improving the economy, creating a strong middle class, and giving communities identities.

Here are a few places I like to shop small in Marin and San Francisco:

1. Seams Boutique (Cow Hollow) 1640 Union Street (Between Gough and Franklin), San Francisco CA 94123. Phone: (415) 567-1779.  

So I might be a little biased because I happen to work here on the weekends and do a little of their social media but Seams Boutique is a gem. Owners Stephanie Stokes and Claire Holt have decorated their little corner of Union Street with whimsical antiques, fresh smelling candles and plenty of clothes any San Francisco girl wants to get their hands on.  While they have a large selection of JBrand and Hudson denim that will fit almost any size and shape, my favorite items are probably the cozy sweaters they seem to get in every fall. Seams is best known for their unique jewelry and their one of a kind pieces that you can't get anywhere else. This Small Business Saturday they are offering a 25% off discount so make sure you hop inside and grab gifts for you and your entire family.

2. Showroom (Mill Valley) 108 Throckmorton Avenue,  Mill Valley CA 94123 Phone: (415) 381-8108.

Developed by owners Janet Ryvin and Denise Carletta, Showroom opened its doors to Mill Valley residents in March of 2009.  When I first stepped into the store that spring, I knew this store had something different to offer its customers. For the first time in Marin's history,  we finally had a really cool store.  Now Marin until this time had not been a very fashion forward place, I was once quoted in the local magazine has describing it's style as well "non-existant". I fail to recognize that yoga pants, tevas, and polar fleece a worthwhile wardrobe. But then came Showroom... Showroom has the feeling of the boutiques you find in West Hollywood and Malibu, that are really hard to find anywhere else. Completely fashion forward, this kind of boutique makes trends not follows them.  Walk into their store right now and you'll find affordable furs that you only dreamed of "pinning" on Pinterest.  Today Showroom is offering 25% off!

3. Chloe Rose (Cow Hollow) 1824 Union Street (, San Francisco CA 94123 Phone: (415) 932-6089 

Chloe Rose, a Union Street staple, is owned and operated by Marissa Olsen.  Chloe Rose which opened in September 2010 has become very popular with the Marina Girl circuit.  Marissa, who once was an assistant buyer for Nordstrom, creates an atmosphere that feels like the finds of department store's "contemporary departments" but in small brick and mortar shop right at your fingertips. The looks at Chloe Rose are well-curated, trendy and they have some great accessories from Rebecca Minkoff.  Chloe Rose also has some great fans who are popular in the blogosphere, including Taylor Sterling of Sterling Style + Glitter Guide and Julie Engel of Gal Meets Glam.  The gals at Chloe Rose utilize social media, have awesomely inspiring lookbooks and a great pinterest page.

4. Green Apples (Sausalito) 110 Caledonia Steet, Sausalito CA 94965 Phone: (415) 331-8227.

Here in the small town of Sausalito we don't have too many places to go, we have one movie theater, one supermarket, one hardware store and one totally awesome retail boutique. Green Apples isn't your average small town boutique, they have incredible fashion forward looks from DVF, Nanette Lepore, Milly and Tracy Reece. Tucked down where the locals shop on Caledonia Street, I've been going to Green Apples since they first opened when I was in middle school. Green Apples is not only favorite store in town, but it is also Maisy, my golden retriever's favorite store.  Oftentimes, my father has been dragged into the all-womens store by our dog who has a pension for their fashionable clothes and treats behind the register.  If out in Sausalito or if your looking for a reason to visit our quaint little down, be sure to visit Green Apples. 

5. Viva Diva (Mill Valley) 1327 Fourth Street (Between C & D Streets), San Rafael CA 94901 Phone: (415) 256-8380

Viva Diva opened its doors on San Rafael's Fourth Street in 1997, and it was the original fashionable boutique in Marin. Viva Diva has been around as long as I can remember, they were the first boutique I began shopping when I was in 5th grade and couldn't even fit in most petite sizes.  Viva Diva is a boutique that truly has a special place in my heart. It was where I got my first pair of designer jeans, the place I purchased my Junior Prom dress and the boutique whose clothes I wore my senior year in our school fashion show.  When I first got to college in San Diego, I realized I had to step up my designer clothing to class game, and they were where I went to get clothes no one else in Southern California could. Today, Viva Diva is as fashionable as ever, and they have great dresses for any occasion (They even take your name and event down when you buy a dress, so no one shows up at your event wearing the same one). Shop Viva Diva today and tomorrow and get 10% off! 

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