Spruce Lane Shops: The Indie Shelf

Neighborhood: Graduate Hospital, Philadelphia
Vibe: Feminine, Clean, Fresh, Curated, Niche
Good For: Beauty buffs, wellness and apothecary goods for him & her

Calling all beauty enthusiasts - a brand new cosmetics shop has landed in Philadelphia’s Graduate Hospital neighborhood and it’s called The Indie Shelf. Founded by Sabeen Zia about a month ago, The Indie Shelf offers unique, innovative, and effective beauty brands from around the world. Its name “Indie” pays homage to the numerous small-batch brands featured in the shop - peep the impressive roster here.

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Aside from it’s incredibly beautiful and feminine aesthetic, The Indie Shelf is special because it truly owns the beauty and wellness retail “space” in Philadelphia. In other words, I haven’t really seen a shop like this throughout my time blogging about local boutiques in the area. Sure, there are many lovely apothecary sections in other shops but never a store that is purely dedicated to the cause. I love the concept and highly respect Sabeen for translating her past experience and vast knowledge of the industry into her own business; a tall task that she has successfully executed.

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I am no beauty whiz by any means. In fact if we are going to get really transparent I haven’t really shopped for cosmetics beyond the cold aisles of my local drug store, but the Indie Shelf makes me want to learn more about this fascinating (and fast-growing) industry. Therefore, I reached out to Sabeen to pick her brain about becoming an independent business owner and to also get some true insider knowledge on beauty in general. Read on to learn more about Sabeen’s inspiring story and what you can expect to find at The Indie Shelf!

Q: What inspired you to open your own store? 
A:
I launched my own cosmetic brand online last year. I know the journey of building a small brand the obstacles of getting into retail stores. I wanted to create a space for unique brands creating effective products and support them. I also wanted to bring these great brands to the Philadelphia community - who are so loyal to neighborhood businesses and support small businesses. I would travel to different states (and countries!) and find these unique shops with products you could never touch, smell, or play with because they're not easily available or online only. I wanted our neighbors to come in and see these brands themselves! 

Q: How did you execute your creative vision? The decor is amazing.
A:
Pinterest and Instagram is a deep hole that inspires you and makes you believe you can do anything, haha! I love my color palette - I always loved it on clothes, furniture, and even dinnerware! I knew I wanted to learn towards that palette when I started to work on it. Many similar stores in other states are beautiful! Most of them have a clean white look, which you can't go wrong on. But I wanted to add some color and make indie beauty look fun too! The color block was a great touch. Melissa Alam, who did my branding for The Indie Shelf (she's aaaamazing!), helped with creating the color block in addition to the setup. It was fun - we were just randomly taping different angles and hoped that it'd work out! The wallpaper was something I found online, crossed my fingers that it'd look great and just went with it! I'm so glad people love it. 

Q: Tell us a bit about your career path. What attracted you to the cosmetics industry?
A: I've been so lucky to have the opportunities that I've had in the past. I had recently graduated with a B.S in Toxicology and moved to Houston with my family. I found a job at a peptide lab. The schedule was 6 am to 3 pm and since I didn't know many people, I took a part time job at Sephora. I knew I wanted to go to graduate school but just didn't know what I wanted to do my masters in. I LOVED working at Sephora. I was laid off at the peptide lab (blessing in disguise!) and moved to full time at Sephora. I didn't want to waste my bachelor's degree so I started to search for majors that would link beauty to science. And there it was - Cosmetic Science at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ. I applied and was accepted, so I left Sephora and worked for L'Oreal as a haircare chemist full time while going to graduate school full time. L’Oreal was a great place to start because you learn about the formulation process of products. Then, I moved back to Houston and found a job in the manufacturing department with a mineral makeup company called Colorescience. After that, I went to another small brand haircare lab and worked in manufacturing and the lab for a bit. They acquired a NY brand called Blowpro and that's when they gave me the opportunity to be in product development and marketing. I was lucky to have all these opportunities because it gave me the chance to learn about the process - from product development to formulations to market. Some employers would put that against me saying I'm not experienced in one area, rather just all over the place. I take it as a blessing because it allowed me to not only launch a brand but now also a shop. I'm still learning though, and have a lot to learn! 

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Q: What is one of the biggest beauty myths you can bust?
A: Not all synthetic ingredients are harmful. And not all natural ingredient are good for you. 

Q: What is a beauty trend that is really worth following?
A: Clean your brushes! OR Masking 

Q: Tell us more about what we can get at The Indie Shelf - what's one of your favorite products at the moment?
A: Everything! and if I missed something, let me know and I'll find it. The Indie Shelf carries skincare, haircare, fragrance, cosmetics, tools and accessories, candles, dental care, baby care, men's care, pet care! My favorite? Oh, this is a hard question. I brought in everything I loved to the shop so.. all of it?  

Q: Anything exciting in the pipeline at the shop? I.e. events, makeup tutorials, etc that we can look out for?
A:
Yes!! I've got events planned but just need to catch up on a few things and then I'll confirm them soon. There will be small RSVP ticketed events/classes that will teach about caring for your skin, how to do a cat eye, what brush to use, etc. Got some cool stuff on the agenda - just bear with me! 

On behalf of all Philadelphians I want to thank Sabeen immensely for taking the leap and opening up this amazing shop that we desperately needed. Like I said, it’s really pretty to look at, has an amazing assortment of products and also has something special that you won’t find in many other small boutiques: a bonafide beauty expert that truly wants to help you with whatever you need. New York City might have Glossier HQ but we have The Indie Shelf now, so watch out world! :)

Till next time,
Laura

Spruce Lane Shops: Miller Lane Mercantile

Neighborhood: Berkeley, Denver
Vibe: Cozy, Well Curated, Refined
Good for: Kitchenware, Home Decor, Women’s Accessories

Calling all Denverites or friends who are soon going to be visiting the Mile High City! Meet Miller Lane Mercantile, an incredibly chic home goods and women’s accessories boutique that just opened a few weeks ago in the Berkeley neighborhood. Miller Lane was brought to my attention through a close friend that I went to summer camp with in Pennsylvania all the way back in the 5th grade (hint: I’m getting old because that was a quite a while ago). She told me that our mutual camp friend’s sister just opened her own shop in Denver and that I should check it out. Well, of course this piqued my interest so I decided to do some research on the shop’s beautiful Instagram page and instantly fell in love! Similar to many of the indie boutiques here in Philly, Miller Lane features thoughtfully curated goods from local artists and brands throughout the US. You can shop from an amazing assortment of handmade ceramics, candles, jewelry, coffees, kitchenware and more. The owner, Calli Nicoletti, has a very understated and elegant aesthetic. She truly embodies the motto “less is more”, which I love.

Image credit: Mimi McCormick / @meemscakes

Image credit: Mimi McCormick / @meemscakes

It has been fun to see Calli’s evolution of opening the store through her Instagram page. If you scroll back to the beginning, you will see her blank space slowly start to fill with unique hand selected items from her favorite vendors. She shares glimpses into her personal life which began in East Hampton, NY and reflects on how her east coast roots inspire much of what she puts into her Denver-based boutique. You can also get a sense for Calli’s innate optimism and excitement towards starting this new venture. Let’s face it, launching a new business is definitely a daunting concept, but Calli seems to approach it with honesty, humbleness and integrity, which I think will only work to her advantage as she continues to expand.

So, after doing this research and getting utterly excited about the opening of Miller Lane Mercantile, I decided to reach out to Calli directly to do a Q&A with her. I wanted to know from the source herself what it really was like to open up a business from the ground up and what inspired her to transform her blank canvas into such a beautiful work of art. Plus, Denver has become one of my favorite cities to visit, so I also wanted to pick her brain on what the shopping scene is like there in general. Read below to see more of Calli and Miller Lane Mercantile’s story - you will find yourself feeling enlightened and inspired!

Image credit: Mimi McCormick / @meemscakes

Image credit: Mimi McCormick / @meemscakes

Q: What inspired you to open Miller Lane Mercantile? What was your career path leading up to becoming an independent business owner?

A: My passion for brick and mortar business goes back to my very first work experience – when I turned 14 and was finally old enough to hold a job, I started working at a independent surf shop in my hometown of East Hampton, NY. I came to really love the community that’s built around a shop, from the customers, to the employees, and the other shop workers in the neighborhood. The store was also located in a beautiful old wooden house with a sunny backyard and we played UB40 all day – what’s better than that? Fast forward through high school and college, and I had continued to work in boutiques part-time throughout all of my schooling.

In 2012 I graduated from The College of Charleston with a BA in media studies and started working in marketing, which is the industry I’ve been in until I opened Miller Lane Mercantile. I always worked for startups, first in New York City and then in Denver, and became what you could call a real small business enthusiast. I loved being able to work directly with founders and learn about business from the ground up. Throughout those 6+ years, I wore a ton of hats and held roles that covered aspects of marketing including events and tradeshows, social media writing, photo curation, copywriting, product marketing, content writing, and even a little bit of sales. I used to get frustrated that my skill set was so wide-ranging rather than refined in a particular expertise, but it all makes sense now. Being a business owner requires the most wide-ranging skill set of all!

Q: What is the most important lesson you've learned during the process of opening your store? How did you ultimately decide to take that leap and make the commitment?

A: You’ll always find a reason not to do it, so just start somewhere, keep moving, and try not to doubt yourself too much. If you have an idea for a business, those thoughts didn’t pop into your head by accident. I think the world has its way of opening up to people, and it’s ultimately up to each of us to listen to that call and trust in the process. I had decided I was going to open a shop about 2 ½ years before I actually opened the doors. I started a savings account specifically for my future store, and little by little I started planning. I’ve built this massive spreadsheet and each time I come across an interesting brand or product, I add it to the list. By the time I signed my lease on the space I’m now in, I had hundreds of brands and makers and just started reaching out to people about their wholesale programs. If you’re someone who’s thinking of opening a shop, I think those two steps are great starting points. Creating a savings account specifically for your business makes saving so much more meaningful, and you’ll know that your cuts on spending are going directly towards your dream. Had I not had that spreadsheet of products at my fingertips when I finally found my space, I think it would have been overwhelming to start the buying process from scratch.

Another important lesson I’ve learned is that it’s okay to admit what you don’t know. Throughout my career I always wanted to be taken seriously, but there will always be unknowns and it’s so much more efficient to ask the right questions rather than to pretend to know what you don’t. Whether it’s a business concept or something as mundane as understanding how the electrical works in my shop, I’ve started asking more questions and as it comes from a place of genuinely wanting to learn and grow, there’s absolutely no shame in that.

Image credit: Mimi McCormick / @meemscakes

Image credit: Mimi McCormick / @meemscakes

Q: Tell us a little bit more about Miller Lane, what are some must-haves in the shop right now?

A: Miller Lane Mercantile was born out of the idea of celebrating simple goods for slow living. To me, “slow living” is about creating space for pause, finding an appreciation for what you have, and paying more attention to the little things in life. Ever since I was young I’ve been enamored with things like greeting cards and product packaging at the grocery store. These little oddities have brought me so much happiness and I think making conscious choices about the things we surround ourselves with makes the days endlessly more enjoyable.  

At Miller Lane, we carry a wide range of homewares including kitchenware, gourmet pantry items, ceramics, pillows and throws, stationery, bath and body products, and women’s accessories. We’ve brought in a really incredible candle line called The Floral Society whose taper candles come in the most beautiful shades and really add something special to a dinner party or night in. Our jewelry case is stocked with wares from Uni out of Portland – the designer Kiersten has an amazing vision for her brand and each piece has a really organic, understated quality about it. Lastly, Samantha of Settle Ceramics in Austin is creating beautiful yet practical pieces for the kitchen that customers have really been gravitating towards.

Image credit: Mimi McCormick / @meemscakes

Image credit: Mimi McCormick / @meemscakes

Q: Describe your personal style in three words. How is this reflected in your shop?

A: I’d describe my style as being casual, refined, and timeless. If you looked in my closet you’d find a sea of white, grey, cream, burnt orange, and navy. I pretty much live inside this cozy little color palette, hah! When it comes to clothing, accessories, and even home decor, I purchase pieces that are well-made and classic, rather than follow a current trend. I think my style has naturally oozed out into the shop through the decorative choices I’ve made as well as the simple fact that Miller Lane is filled with products I either own myself or wish I had in my own home. I constantly have customers asking me where I’m originally from because I think the store aesthetic reads more New England than Colorado, which is something that happened organically as an expression of my personal taste. I love western and desert vibes, but that’s not the feel you’ll get coming into Miller Lane and I’m glad I’ve been able to bring some of the northeast to this city.

Q: What's the retail/boutique scene in Denver like? Any cool local brands or artists to shout out?

A: There are so many incredible makers here in Denver, from jewelry designers, to ceramicists, to folks making the most delicious gourmet pantry items. If you ever have a chance to visit the city during one of our Denver Fleas, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a great way to learn about the creative scene here and discover some really special products. In terms of brick and mortar businesses, the retail scene has expanded a ton even in the few years I’ve lived in Denver. Miller Lane is part of the Tennyson Street business district and within our little community there are a bunch of women-owned businesses which I think is so rad. My neighbors, Blush and Dona Forta are women’s boutiques that are each bringing something really unique to women’s clothing in Denver – I feel super lucky to have them next door! Lady Jones is just a few blocks away and offers a really fun shopping experience with brands you won’t find elsewhere in Denver. Aside from Tennyson Street shops, Fig + Yarrow Apothecary is a must-see in my book – anytime I have friends in town, a visit there is on the list. They’ve created such an inviting, peaceful space and you can see how much care goes into each of their products. Lastly, Sacred Thistle and Meek Vintage – they’re just around the corner from each other so you can hit them both up in one trip. Sacred Thistle is an insanely cool florist-meets-home shop, and Meek has been a pioneer in the Denver community when it comes to well curated vintage clothing and homewares.

Image credit: Mimi McCormick / @meemscakes

Image credit: Mimi McCormick / @meemscakes

Pretty awesome, right? If you do happen to live in Denver or get a chance to see the shop while visiting, please DM me or email me letting me know about your experience! This of course is on my list of places to see the next time I’m out there (maybe in fall or winter of 2019?) so I will keep you all posted on my visit too :) In the meantime, Calli is also working on developing the shop’s website and wants to have an e-commerce component to the business too. For now, if you are remote like me and see anything on her Instagram account that you’d like to purchase, just DM her and she will be able to ship to you directly for the time being. Easy as that!

Keep on chasing your dreams, everyone! Magical things can happen, like Miller Lane Mercantile.

-Laura

Spruce Lane Shops: Voloshin

Voloshin
Neighborhood: Kensington, PA
Vibe: Bohemian, natural, chic, feminine
Good for: Womenswear, easy dressing, fun prints, natural textiles

Discover Voloshin, a luxury womenswear brand based in Philadelphia’s Kensington Neighborhood that is known for its effortlessly chic aesthetic and high quality apparel. The interior photos also might look somewhat familiar, because their studio is based in the same building as Plume and Thread, another fantastic local brand that I covered a few months back this spring. Prior to my visit, Voloshin had been on my radar as the brand is carried in many of my favorite local shops; a few to name include Kin, Vagabond, Vestige, Moon & Arrow, and Harvey Oak Mercantile. Pretty impressive lineup, if I don’t say so myself!

The brand's founder, Amy Voloshin, is one very talented lady. Her early career began in design at Urban Outfitters and Free People, which was followed by the development of her highly successful print design business, Printfresh Studio. With an innate love for creativity as well as an entrepreneurial spirit, Amy took the plunge and simultaneously launched two more brands, printfresh (the label) and Voloshin in 2017. Printfresh is a stationery brand known for playing with fun textiles and prints to form durable notebooks, desk pads, and other small items. As Amy describes it, it reads more "fashion" than it does paper. And I LOVE that! Because really, no one else has seemed to successfully find her unique balance of style, whimsy and sophistication when it comes to paper products. I have a copper metallic tablet in my house and love it's simple elegance. In terms of inspiration, Amy said she hadn’t come across a notebook she truly loved, so she wanted to create one for herself. It was that simple. With the will, skill, and determination, you can leverage those creative juices and make something for yourself, and that’s exactly what Amy has done with both of her brands.

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As I toured the studios, which are actually managed in tandem with her husband Leo, I learned more about Amy’s business evolution. Downstairs is home to Printfresh Studio, and what I would describe as a creative’s labyrinth. Seen here are multiple desk stations where artists ideate new prints, as well as racks on racks on racks of prints and vintage pieces that inspire fashion designers from the likes of New York, Los Angeles, and more.

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We walked upstairs (past Amy and Leo’s gorgeous office space - I'll get to that later) to Voloshin’s showroom where I was able to peek at the brand’s latest collection: Pre Fall 2018. The collection was gorgeous and demonstrated Voloshin's simple sophistication to a tee. Wrap dresses with chalky reds, olive greens, and navy prints were intertwined with striped tanks and trousers that all paired perfectly! I couldn’t help but remark at how much I loved the colors and patterns and Amy replied stating, “there is an art in finding the balance of designing a cohesive collection that doesn't feel too matchy-matchy”. Well, she definitely hit the head on the nail with this one!

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The inspiration behind the collection comes from the idea of a young woman with an affinity for Chinoiserie and Japanese Textiles. It draws from Victorian fabrics and details, mixed with touches of Japanese antiques and ephemera. The fabrics are unique and natural, including cotton-linen blends, a cotton double gauze, and the use of special block printing techniques to add flair to simpler and more modest materials.

I obviously loved the show-stopper Kazuko Linen Wrap Dress, but other more subtle pieces caught my eye as well, including the Setsuko Maxi Slip Dress, the Jovita Dress, and the Kyouko Paper Bag Palazzo Pant. They serve as perfect staple pieces for those transitional months from summer into fall.

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As my visit was wrapping up, I asked Amy if it was OK to photograph her and Leo’s office, mainly because it was what I like to call "interior design GOALS". The space could not be more stylish and is a nice reflection of the creative pair that they are. The textured carpet, touches of plant life, statement light fixtures, and sprawling desks all added up to a perfect professional (yet creative) setting. If only I could trade my office desk for a setup like that! I must say that the studio as a whole (that encompasses both Voloshin and Printfresh) is very impressive. The exposed brick coupled with the modern lighting, vintage textiles and upholstery, and sweeping views of the city were all a real treat. 

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Prior to leaving, I observed the shipping area and briefly inquired about Voloshin’s manufacturing process. Amy proudly explained how everything is ethically made in India, emphasizing how every stigma and assumption she once carried about overseas production was shattered after witnessing her factory's positive environment. I'd say that really was the cherry on top to learning about this fantastic brand and all it has to offer. 

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To conclude, I find myself reflecting about how one of my main objectives of Spruce Lane is to become a credible platform of discovery for local brands, purveyors and artisans. Voloshin couldn't be a better example of that and I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to get an insider's tour of Amy's incredible talent! 

As I mentioned, you can shop Voloshin in many different ways. Shop locally here in Philadelphia or at other top stockists across the country! You also can find say hello to them at numerous local pop up shops, flea markets and design festivals, or to make it easy on yourself, simply visit their website and give them a follow on Instagram at @voloshin

Keep on shoppin'!

Spruce Lane Shops: Millay

Millay
Neighborhood: Manayunk, PA
Vibe: Feminine, natural, serene, posh
Good for: Vintage finds, jewelry, accessories, gifts, apothecary, home

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Take a step inside Millay, the beautifully curated vintage shop in located in Philadelphia’s Manayunk neighborhood. This shop has been on my list of places to visit quite some time now due to its impressive vintage assortment and amazing Instagram content. With its light and airy motifs, complete with the perfect touches of natural greenery, the interiors alone set this boutique apart from many others. The creative and artistic vision of owner, Mary Spears, is very apparent throughout the space.

Featuring a 1960's Floral Mod Maxi Shirtdress With Pockets & Belt; $75

Featuring a 1960's Floral Mod Maxi Shirtdress With Pockets & Belt; $75

Millay specializes in mixing vintage and modern clothing, and contextualizing them both to have a timeless appeal. Vintage ranging from the early 1900's-1990's comprises about 60% of the shop's inventory while modern ethical* designers make up the other 40%. On each vintage item, the hang tag details what era the piece is from and helps translate sizing to today’s standards, which was an interesting tidbit to learn. I didn’t even consider that the sizing scales have shifted over the years. Overall, regardless of the era or being modern vs. vintage, everything here feels wearable which is great.

*Ethical meaning the designers do not use polyester or other synthetics when producing their garments. 

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Aside from the beautiful clothing, you can also shop gifts, home goods, apothecary, jewelry and accessories here. All items are made by emerging female artisans from the US and abroad, which I love. Girl power! I noticed a few of my own favorite local brands gracing Millay’s shelves, including candles and apothecary from Zoet Bathlatier and jewelry from Whim.

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As I’m sure you know by now, I love to learn how the shops that I visit develop into what they are today. They all tend to include similar components of very hard work, some raw talent, and sometimes, a pinch of luck. The scenario is no different here. The name Millay takes inspiration from Mary’s favorite poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, the first female Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry in the 1910s. She told me that Millay really started as a hobby of collecting vintage goods from local flea markets, antique shows, or auctions for her home that previously was in Boston. When her stock started to pile up, she decided to sell some goods on Etsy to make some extra money while in graduate school. After using Etsy for some time, Mary grew tired of selling through a 3rd party and wanted to evolve Millay into something of its own. This is when she learned how to code and launched her online business - talk about some serious motivation and brainpower! The site quickly garnered some press attention, as Millay was one of the first shops to successfully curate vintage in a modernized way, launching Mary and her brand into the spotlight.

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Three years ago, Mary and her husband relocated from Boston to Philadelphia. While her husband attended medical school here, Mary continued to grow Millay and opened the Manayunk storefront, which was previously owned by another fantastic vintage shop called Meadowsweet Mercantile (another one on my "to feature list”!). Meadowsweet is now in Old City, but I love the synergy between these small business owners and how everything feels connected and supportive. 

Featuring a 1940's Vibrant Embroidered Peasant Blouse With Pockets; $105 (I'm obsessed with this!)

Featuring a 1940's Vibrant Embroidered Peasant Blouse With Pockets; $105 (I'm obsessed with this!)

Fast forward to today, and here we are! Millay is about to undergo another big transformation. On May 13th, the doors will bittersweetly (I'm not entirely sure if that’s a real word but it feels like the best one to use) close in Manayunk, but for good reason. Mary and her husband are going back to their roots in Boston, and she is taking Millay with her! Luckily for us Philadelphians, the online shop still exists so we still have access to many of these incredible items. But, with that being said, since time is limited I highly encourage all of you to get over to Manayunk to check out Millay and shop many of its one-of-a-kind items. Personally, I haven’t spent much time in Manayunk up until this point, but Millay's street is super charming and has tons of action around it. You could totally make a day out of your visit, grabbing lunch or dinner nearby.

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All in all, Millay totally lived up to my dreamy Instagram expectations. The store itself is beyond beautiful and there were numerous vintage pieces I would love to buy and wear this summer. I’ve never really shopped vintage clothing before, so Millay has done a great job of opening my eyes and mind to this sector. Lastly, Mary is super talented, knowledgeable, and a great person to chat with if you’re simply interested in fashion, entrepreneurship, art history, and things of that nature. Stop by Millay during its final weeks in Manayunk to celebrate and experience this awesome boutique! Wishing Mary, Millay, and her hilarious dog “General Gazpacho” (who makes guest appearances on Millay’s Instagram account) the best of luck in their new and exciting chapter!

Shop on,
Spruce Lane

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Spruce Lane Shops: Plume and Thread

Spruce Lane Shops: Plume and Thread
Neighborhood: Kensington, Philadelphia
Vibe: Free spirited, feminine, quality comfort and leisure
Good for: Women’s wear, leisure wear, sun dresses, fun prints, jogger pants

Meet Plume and Thread, the womenswear apparel brand based near Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood. For this post, I’m slightly veering off my usual circuit of local retail, but for good reason – to give you an insider’s view of Plume and Thread’s industrial-chic studio as well as its unique brand philosophy that distinguishes itself from others.

To give you some context on the brand, Plume and Thread (P+T) was created by Jodi Schaff in a somewhat out of the ordinary manner. Jodi comes from a background in landscape design, but always had a natural sense of creativity and valued excellent craftsmanship, which ultimately brought her into the fashion world. Little by little Jodi began to experiment with producing her own clothing, and eventually was noticed by a local store owner who took interest in one of her pieces. The store owner asked Jodi to bring more of her samples of her work to the store, and the rest is history. Years later, here we are in Plume and Thread’s studio discussing her clothing line that is sold in over 300 stores in the country.*

In terms of product assortment, I previewed P+T’s spring line so I was able to peruse a number of beautiful printed maxi dresses, nautical striped shirts, feminine wrap dresses, the most comfortable jogger pants I’ve ever felt, and much, much more. The pieces are very versatile and can be worn on many occasions by a wide audience of both younger and older women. I also must say that the clothes were really a treat for my senses. Visually, the detailed prints and vibrant color palettes kept my eye bouncing from one item to the next, while texturally every piece felt soft and delicate to the touch. It was a unique combination that often gets lost or forgotten about in today’s world of fast fashion and trendy looks. These characteristics are no accident though, as the Plume and Thread brand pride itself on being USA-made, particularly with much of the production taking place within a 5-mile radius from their studio.

Photo courtesy of Plume and Thread

Photo courtesy of Plume and Thread

Some of the print making takes place in California, but the cutting, sewing and final touches happen in here in good old Philadelphia. Jodi could have easily outsourced this work overseas, like many brands do, but then she wouldn’t have the quality control or level of involvement in her designs that she currently has. She drew an interesting parallel that I had never considered before when she posed the question, “why do people prefer buying produce from their local farmer’s market, and why do people gravitate towards a local flower shop over the supermarket?”. It’s the same reason she goes local with her manufacturers – because she knows them on a personal basis which builds an unparalleled level of rapport and trust. There is no cutting corners with this brand, which I love. Everything is done with thought and intention, hence their motto, “Mindful, Alive, Considerate”.

Photo courtesy of Plume and Thread

Photo courtesy of Plume and Thread

During my visit, we spent some additional time chatting about the industry as a whole, particularly the importance of integrity in the fashion world and how P+T’s mission is to make women feel strong and their best selves when wearing these clothes. It was uplifting to talk with such like-minded individuals who have similar passions: a love for all things local, an appreciation for high quality design, and a “pay it forward” mentality, since at the end of the day we all care about fashion and want to help each other grow and succeed.

The Plume and Thread ladies were kind enough to send me home with a print maxi dress that I’ve already worn during my trip to Florida. It is perfect for the beach due to its relaxed feel (I’m not kidding, it’s so soft) yet feminine design. Each time I wear it, I’ll be able to reflect upon my visit to P+T’s Kensington studio and all of the interesting things I learned about this awesome brand. I’ll understand the amount of thought, work, and love that went into this dress and smile because it was made right here in the City of Brotherly Love.  

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Plume and Thread is sold at local retailers throughout the US and Canada (the full list can be found here), and also is developing their e-commerce business. You can follow their Instagram account @plumeandthread for updates on fun product giveaways, the brand’s involvement in the local community, and also visit their site’s blog to read more about Jodi’s unique and inspiring philosophy.

*To read the full article on Jodi’s background and the development of Plume and Thread, visit http://www.philly.com/philly/home/Plume-Thread-Jodi-Schaff-meet-your-maker.html

Spruce Lane Shops: Elan

Elan
Neighborhood: Newtown Square, PA
Vibe: Chic, feminine, contemporary, posh
Good for: Women’s apparel, accessories, jewelry, handbags

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How many times have you found yourself making the rounds internet shopping for a special occasion but are never able to land on something that’s the right price, size or style? I was in the midst of planning my sister’s baby shower and wanted something extra feminine and fashion forward to sport for the party. March is always a tough time of year for occasion-wear though, so it made my search particularly challenging. Do I go with sleeves, and if so, short or long? Open or close toed shoes? Dark or light colors? I found a dress on sale at Shopbop that was pretty basic but was the right shade of pink and had a nice silhouette. I held off from buying for a day or two to continue to look around, and of course when I checked back, the dress was no longer on sale and was way out of my price range! Ah, the woes of online shopping.

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Thankfully, Elan came to the rescue and posted the perfect spring dress on their Instagram for a baby shower, bridal shower, or really any sort of spring/summer occasion. After already being disappointed once on my “dress quest” (did I just coin a new fashion term..?), I quickly slid up into their DM’s and told them I needed that dress and would be in to shop the next weekend. One of their stylists then kindly offered to put the dress aside for me, it was easy as that! 

Here we are for my sister's baby shower! I am on the left wearing a floral dress from Elan.

Here we are for my sister's baby shower! I am on the left wearing a floral dress from Elan.

Elan means “distinctive and stylish elegance; impulsive, confident energy”. Although I’d like to give myself credit for coming up with something as posh that, I didn’t just pull it out of thin air. The definition is written in beautiful block letters behind the store’s cashier. To explain things a bit further, Elan is a new and trendy boutique located in the suburban town of Newtown Square, PA and is the sister shop to Per Lei, a veteran high-end womenswear store in Media, PA. While Per Lei is amazing in its own right, Elan is special because it sells elevated apparel and accessories at more accessible price points, usually near or below $100. This is great for me and my millennial starter-salary that hasn’t spiked (yet).

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While browsing the racks and accessories, I got that feverish feeling of excitement I get when I feel like I’ve found a hidden gem of a shop that speaks to my style and taste perfectly. I recall experiencing a similar feeling at Cash and Clive in Cape May, NJ but that’s another story for another time. Anyway, my baby shower dress fit so I knew I was investing my dollars towards that, but I also was simultaneously formulating a list of needs for my next visit to Elan because everything was so great. They have the most adorable mini bucket bags that come in soft spring shades of pink, blue, and light grey and are paired with chic distressed jeans and pastel knit sweaters. The bucket bags are under $100 and looked and felt of very high quality, which was amazing. Elan also boasts a great jewelry selection that ranges from subtle gold chain necklaces to bold statement rings and earrings so there’s really something for everyone in their selection. You also can shop hats, scarves, candles and more, aside from the amazing clothes.

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What I also really appreciated about this store was its layout. It’s very clean and simple which can help more than you realize when shopping for apparel. To me, it had the right amount of stock available; just enough for me to easily browse through the racks and accessory displays without feeling lost or overwhelmed by too much product jammed into one space.

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I learned this lesson during my days of working in PR at a high end private showroom in New York City. We would often be criticized if we displayed too much product, prompting the higher ups to scoff and say, “what is this some sort of bazaar?” I have to say although I’m not as extreme, the rule has stuck with me going forward. Philly is known for its vintage shops which all are very cool and have lots of personality, but I never can actually shop in them because my eye can barely land on one thing. At Elan, I was able to view everything and fall in love with items very quickly! Which is what you want when you’re running a store, right?

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Elan recently opened this past August, and with such high caliber clothing and accessories, I am sure it will be around for many more years to come. I’m thrilled to have found this awesome suburban outpost and I hope that if you’re in the area looking for an upscale yet surprisingly affordable place to shop, you take a peek inside too. And Elan stylists, if you are reading, I will be coming back for a bucket bag if they’re still there! :)

Keep calm and shop on!

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Spruce Lane Shops: Petit Jardin en Ville

Petit Jardin en Ville
Neighborhood: Old City, Philadelphia
Vibe: Refined, Classical, European, Parisian, Elegant, Composed

Good for: Floral and Gardening Services, Gifts, Fresh Flowers

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Welcome to Petit Jardin en Ville, a beautiful flower studio located in the heart of Philadelphia's Old City Neighborhood. Petit Jardin en Ville draws its inspiration from Paris, if you couldn't tell already from its French name that translates to "small garden in town". The studio quite literally fits this description, except I would add a few more adjectives such as exquisite and elegant as well. 

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When I visited the studio, I had the pleasure of meeting Claudia and Vincent, who are husband and wife and also co-owners of the business. Claudia is originally from the Greater Philadelphia Area, but spent years abroad in living in France studying floral design under a prominent local florist. Her husband Vincent is from France and specializes in garden design from his many years of working on his family's orchard. Together, the pair decided to join their creative forces and relocate to Old City, Philadelphia to pursue their dreams of opening a local floral and gardening business. So here we are today. 

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Petit Jardin en Ville's elaborate exterior is what initially drew my attention to the store. Through my past years in New York and now Philadelphia too, I haven't seen anything quite like it. Claudia mentioned they've experimented with different exterior designs that have proven to be successful with attracting new clients and customers. This taught me to never underestimate the power of a strong exterior and/or window display.

The inside, however, is just as beautiful as the outside. You really can pick up on Claudia and Vincent's classical aesthetics through the colorful arrangements of roses, lavender, and greenery sprinkled in here and there. They also display an impressive set of vintage pieces they've collected during their frequent trips to Paris for inspiration. Between the beautiful florals and quintessentially French design, you really will feel as if you've been transported to Europe when visiting the studio. Aside from flowers, gifts, candles, and vases are also for sale. 

In addition to being a retail space, Petit Jardin en Ville offers a number of private services for floral designweddings and events, corporate services, as well as garden design and maintenance. I was able to also take a peek into their outdoor living showroom located just around the corner. Here, clients can view beautiful garden and patio spaces that can serve as inspiration for custom designs. For now, this showroom is by-appointment only but Vincent is hoping to convert it to a retail space similar to the flower studio soon. 

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I asked Vincent if he missed living in France, given how vastly different it seems from Philadelphia. He cheerfully proved me wrong, saying that Old City very much feels like a European city, with its quaint sidewalks dotted with many small local shops and historical charm. When you look at it that way, he's right. I'm really excited to see where things go with Petit Jardin en Ville. Between the development of its outdoor living showroom, veteran flower shop, and participation in Philadelphia's local Design District, this independent business has a lot of promise for a bright future.

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Speaking of bright, the next time you simply want to brighten up your day or stop and smell the flowers, I encourage you to visit Petit Jardin en Ville. You won't regret it. 

For all updates on PJEV, follow them on Instagram at @petitjardinenville

Au Revoir! 

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Spruce Lane Shops: Weekend

Weekend
Neighborhood: Graduate Hospital, Philadelphia
Vibe: Artistic, gallery-like, minimalism, community-based, refined
Good for: Home goods, gifts, accessories, artwork, plants

Spruce Lane is proud to break its first piece of news to the Philadelphia shopping community! We want to extend a very warm welcome to Weekend, a new home, gifts, and lifestyle shop that opened a few weeks ago in Philadelphia's Graduate Hospital neighborhood. You may however already be familiar with the store owner, Ethan Nguyen, because his sister shop, M Concept is conveniently located across the street. 

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Both M Concept and Weekend pride themselves on putting the spotlight on made local goods by independent designers and brands. The main difference though are the scopes. M Concept is Ethan's fashion-centric outlet, selling apparel, jewelry, and handbags made by emerging designers. Conversely, Weekend is a curated space for the home, offering beautiful pieces of artwork, candles, linens, coasters and more, exclusively made by Philadelphia-based artisans. 

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I was curious about how Nguyen goes about scouting new vendors to feature in his stores and he explained it really boils down to relationships and networking. He knows many of his designers on a personal level and often commissions special pieces to be made, adding to the exclusivity factor of his spaces. 

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I must say that the sense of community in Philadelphia is very apparent after having spent some time bouncing around many local businesses in the area, and especially after chatting with Nguyen. It makes me believe that there really is truth behind the age-old saying of Philadelphia being the City of Brotherly Love. I can't help but compare my experiences here to my time previously spent in New York City and can conclude that New York's sense of community and camaraderie gets lost in translation due to its grandiosity. The energy of New York City certainly is unparalleled, but there's something also to be said about slowing down and admiring things that are made or stores that are run on a smaller, more intimate level. 

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It felt incredibly refreshing stepping inside Weekend and observing the hard work that goes into not only curating such a beautiful store, but also on behalf of all of the local artisans who produce such wonderful products and designs. Some call-outs include beautiful embroidered linens by Alyssa Brieanne Design, sumptuous candles by Zuzuglow, amazingly intricate aerials by Stitch Prism, and handcrafted ceramics by Miki Palchik of Clay Studio Designs. I also enjoyed the gallery-feel the shop had, as each assortment was complimented by a small informational card that detailed the artisan and his or her line of work. 

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As we made our way out to continue on with the rest of our day, we chatted with Nguyen a bit more about the shop's immediate neighborhood, local bloggers, et cetera and true to his nature, he was an encyclopedia of Philly insider knowledge. He listed a few suggestions of accounts for me to follow, blogger groups to become involved with, and gave us a great nearby lunch recommendation (@milestable). This "pay it forward" mentality is something that I truly appreciate and believe Spruce Lane and Weekend have in common; a passion for promoting and supporting local talent.

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As we all know, Philly sometimes gets a bad rep with many outsiders calling us cold, mean and aggressive, but step inside Weekend and that all changes. Weekend shows that we're creative, artistic, hard working, and so much more. With that being said, enjoy the rest of your weekend and visit the shop located at 1533 South St. You can also stay up to date with all of M Concept and Weekend's latest developments by following @mconcept_and_weekend on Instagram. 

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Spruce Lane Shops: Art in the Age

Art in the Age
Neighborhood: Old City, Philadelphia
Vibe: Artistic, rustic, community-focused, niche, creative, upscale
Good for: Anything and everything bar-related: books, glassware, decanters, flasks, mixers PLUS gifts, accessories and more

Art in the Age

Art in the Age

When I first dove into Spruce Lane and started to do my research for places to see, I knew Art in the Age in Old City was a key player, but wasn’t exactly sure what it entailed as it’s so different (in a good way) from most traditional boutiques. “Is it a store, or a bar? What kind of things can you buy there?” were some of the questions I asked myself. With an Instagram following of 20K+ users, this place had to be something special. Once I was able to finally visit Art in the Age myself, everything seemed to click and I understood why it has such a great reputation and high level of respect from the local community. 

Art in the Age

Art in the Age

Art in the Age (AITA for short) is a home bar supply store and tasting room. That’s right, two concepts in one shop which makes it a very cool place to experience. Through their Instagram account, I saw that they were hosting a release party for a new spirit and decided to buy tickets for the event with my boyfriend. It was the debut of their Fortunato’s Fate whiskey in partnership with local distillery, New Liberty, and also was part of The Rosenbach’s super fun Bibliococktails Series. Again, we weren’t really sure what to expect but we figured it’d be a fun way to see AITA for the first time while also grabbing a drink after work. When we walked in, we were very pleasantly surprised. Not only because the store was strikingly beautiful, but also because it was full of people and we were right on time for the event! Having coordinated these types of events in previous jobs of mine, I knew this turnout was impressive. When we beat the crowd to the bar (that is inside of the store), we ordered two specialty Fortunato's Fate cocktails that were both very tasty and went down smoothly. We also really enjoyed hearing from “The Philly Poe Guy” who humorously spoke at length about the historical context of the whiskey’s name, as it was inspired from Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, The Cask of Amontillado.

Art in the Age

Art in the Age

This overarching theme of showing an appreciation for local history while adding a modern twist became very prevalent after attending the event and later touring the rest of the AITA shop. The store's name is actually derived from Walter Benjamin’s 1935 essay, Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, paying homage to Benjamin's affinity for American craftsmanship and heritage which is clearly reflected within the store and overall brand.

Art in the Age

Art in the Age

For us shoppers who are dying to know more about what you can buy here, the list of bar-related items is extensive, so I’ll shout out a few things that stood out to me.

  1. Books - If you want to educate yourself on the makings of a specific cocktail or the anatomy of your favorite spirit, then you are in luck. There is a heap of really cool, creative cocktail recipe books here. The colorful Bloody Mary book cover jumped out at me. I'd love to display this in a bright, sunny kitchen or on a coffee table at home. 

  2. Glassware - There is a specific area dedicated purely to beautiful decanters, tumblers, shakers, stirrers, you name it. This is definitely the place to go if you want to impress your significant other, or anyone really, with a very nice piece to add to their barware collection. AITA also has a unique collection of vintage items too for the more serious collectors. 

  3. Spirits + Mixers - Well, obviously you will find a wide variety here considering that Art in the Age is a cordial brand itself and converted into an 'artists' collective' retail space ten years ago. You can shop from their line of products that have incredibly creative tastes (Sierra Fig and Black Trumpet Blueberry, anyone?), as well as spirits from the aforementioned New Liberty Distillery along with syrups, bitters, mixers, and more. Oh yes, and they also have booze-flavored lollipops if that's up your alley. The margarita flavor was pretty intriguing.

  4. Home, Gifts, Apparel - To top it all off, you can shop from a variety of unique gifts and AITA branded apparel here too. Shop herbal teas from local vendor, Terra Luna, as well as small batch soaps, cute stationery, and pantry items. The AITA logo is very cool, so I'm definitely contemplating buying myself a t-shirt to rock around the streets of Philadelphia. 

Art in the Age

Art in the Age

After the event, my boyfriend and I came back to AITA on a Saturday morning to do this shoot and learn a little more about the store and brand. Upon taking another tour, we left feeling humbled by the level of expertise each staff member had about the retail space, spirits industry, and brand heritage. What a great and unique post to have in the Philadelphia community, we thought. I plan to come back to experience the tasting room during happy hour and hopefully attend another workshop or event. To keep an eye on all things AITA and see what's next on their ever-evolving schedule, follow them on Instagram at @artintheage.

Till next time!

Art in the Age

Art in the Age

Spruce Lane Shops: The Geisha House

The Geisha House
Neighborhood: Old City, Philadelphia
Vibe: Chic, feminine, bohemian, contemporary, free-spirited
Good for: Women’s apparel, resort wear, denim, accessories, dresses, dresses, and more dresses

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This past Thursday evening I paid a highly anticipated visit to The Geisha House in Old City and loved every second of it. I initially stumbled upon this store a few months back on a beautiful October day during the Philly Free Streets event, where the Mayor shut down the streets in Old City making them 100% pedestrian and cyclist friendly.

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Before I get into the details of The Geisha House, I want to firstly gush over the block it’s located on (aka one of my dream neighborhoods to live in). To me, this block feels like the equivalent of being in SoHo in New York City, which is one of the top shopping neighborhoods in all of Manhattan. I used to work in SoHo for a period of time, so anything reminiscent of it touches a special place in my heart! I love how quaint this area is, but also how it is so full of creative energy, entrepreneurial spirit, and style.

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I stopped in The Geisha House around 6pm and the store was buzzing with shoppers, which again is the sign of a healthy and thriving small business. I met the owner, Cortney, and her mother who both were a great pleasure to chat with. I asked Cortney how long she had been in business for and she said proudly, “six years!”. I could tell she was a veteran based not only on the beautiful assortment of apparel and accessories she housed, but also by the fun and friendly way she interacted with each of her customers. They all seemed to know her on some personal level which made the store feel even more intimate and part of this special Philadelphia-based fashion community.

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The clothes were fun and extremely stylish. Resort wear was out in the front of the store, so I spent some time perusing the many beautiful sundresses, tops, and denim pieces that would all be perfect for a long weekend getaway down south, or of course for the upcoming spring and summer seasons. Notable styles included a pale yellow gingham dress by Faithfull The Brand, a Pistola brando cropped denim jacket adorned with stars, and a Spell and the Gypsy strappy dress that seems so fun to twirl around in. I couldn’t help but try on a white, short-sleeved button down linen dress from Moon River that caught my eye. Its a-line silhouette and tortoise shell buttons looked so timeless that I knew it would be a worthy piece to add to my spring wardrobe. After putting it on and envisioning a warm summer breeze blowing through my hair, I was sold and made my way to the register where Cortney’s adorable golden retriever was peacefully resting nearby.

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As I checked out, I inquired about Cortney’s career path leading up to the opening of The Geisha House. The more I develop Spruce Lane, the more I fantasize about opening up my own shop one day, so I love to hear stories about how these special small businesses came to fruition. To my surprise, Cortney had a nursing background with little to no professional experience in retail buying, which I thought had to be a prerequisite to opening your own boutique! She said her family (while nodding towards her mother who was organizing the racks) had already been in small business and that she had a natural interest in fashion. Combine the two notions, and you have a boutique! She emphasized that she spent a considerable amount of time business planning during the early years of her career, which had to have been challenging. I found this to be very interesting and inspiring. Running an extremely successful shop for 6+ years in the nation’s 6th largest city is no easy feat. You can very much tell that a lot of love goes into The Geisha House when you step inside the store (I mean, just look at the photos), which is probably one of the many reasons why it remains a top local shopping destination in Philadelphia today.

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For constant updates on new releases, promotions, and more, follow The Geisha House on Instagram @thegeishahouse if you don’t already! It’s one of my favorite accounts.

On a closing note, cheers to Cortney and The Geisha House for being so awesome! I can say with confidence that I’ll be back to shop again soon and hopefully after reading this post, you will take a peek inside too!

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Spruce Lane Shops: Ritual Ritual

Ritual Ritual
Neighborhood: Northern Liberties, Philadelphia
Vibe: Artistic, edgy, bohemian, spiritual, eclectic, whimsical
Good for: Jewelry, Watches, Vintage, Gifts, Apothecary, Stationery, Little Bit of Everything

Ritual Ritual in Northern Liberties. Where do I start? This place is sooo cool (sorry about the fangirling but I can’t help it). I really love stores that effortlessly put you in their setting. What I mean is that when you step inside, you’re entering into their special, beautifully crafted world that has this unique ambiance where everything makes sense. Woah, that was kind of deep, but that is how I felt when I discovered Ritual Ritual.

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Ritual Ritual has been around for about three years now and has definitely made a strong name for itself within Philly’s boutique scene. I’ve read about the store in several prominent titles including Racked and Philly Mag, and also have followed the Founder and Owner, Angela Monaco’s, evolution a bit as well. Angela is an entrepreneur, jewelry designer, and metalsmith (pretty cool, I know). She first started out by launching her own jewelry line called Concrete Polish in 2009, that eventually developed into a jewelry studio and showroom to showcase her beautiful work. After achieving some success, her Concrete Polish studio expanded into a shop called Ritual Ritual, which serves as a creative collective to host numerous independent designers and brands alike, in addition to her own. This is actually a common theme I am finding as I explore these PA-based boutiques. I appreciate how these store owners are giving back to their communities, by lending their boutiques as a platform for other local artists, designers, vendors, etc. to become discovered. This is obviously a topic I am really passionate about, hence the entire concept behind Spruce Lane.

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Sorry, got off on a bit of a tangent there. To make a long story short, Angela most recently reincarnated again by rebranding Concrete Polished into a namesake, fine jewelry brand called Angela Monaco Jewelry. Concrete still exists, but is now categorized as fashion and at a more entry price point. You can find her beautiful designs, along with jewelry from other local designers all at Ritual Ritual.

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Aside from the jewels, which again is kind of the bread and butter of this place, you can also find an extensive line of amazing apothecary goods, candles, plants, stationary, and vintage clothing at this store. There’s a little bit of everything here, but what remains consistent is the quirky, eclectic vibe that each piece embodies. There are tarot cards, a mix of funny pins and patches, different symbolic crystals, and a full blown healing room! The store was hosting tarot readings the afternoon I came in, but you also can get a massage there. What other store blends healing, spirituality, design, and retail so seamlessly?

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Although the store itself was absolutely delightful, my favorite part was exploring Angela’s creative station. She kindly gave me free rein of the back portion of her store and I felt really inspired seeing her countless design tools sprawled out amid an adjacent mood board mounted on the wall. I could really see her talent and passion through observing her workshop. It’s unique, and a testament to the success she’s achieved as a designer and entrepreneur in Philadelphia.

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So, with that being said if you find yourself in the Northern Liberties neighborhood any time soon, you should most definitely pay Ritual Ritual a visit. It’s a veteran shop and I can assure you, you will find yourself lost in time taking in all of the beautiful baubles this special place has to offer.

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Spruce Lane Shops: TROVE General Store

TROVE General Store
Neighborhood: Paoli, PA
Vibe: Farmhouse Chic, American Heritage, Classic, Sophisticated
Good for: Men’s + Women’s apparel, accessories, gifts, home goods

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TROVE General Store is quite literally home to a trove of many different treasures, unassumingly located in a small shopping center in Paoli, PA. Keeping in line with the “treasure” theme, this store is certainly a hidden gem of the Main Line, only if you haven’t heard of it yet, of course!

I’ve been a huge supporter of this family-owned business since its inception a few years back simply because the quality of product, atmosphere, and curation is pretty much unparalleled in this part of town. The store primarily spotlights American-made, high quality products, with an extra love and appreciation specifically for local PA-based vendors. You can shop an outstanding portfolio of brands including Woolrich, Levi’s, Filson, Barbour, Dubarry of Ireland, and more, along with rustic-chic housewares, toiletry items for both him and her, and an extensive coffee table book selection that all pertain to the very prevalent American Heritage Lifestyle theme of the store. Lately, some contemporary brands such as BlankNYC have been finding their way into the mix, which is a pleasant and warmly welcomed surprise.

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My family and I visit Trove for almost every birthday, special occasion, you name it, and never leave empty-handed. The beauty of this store is that there really is something for everyone, from my Dad, to my sister, to my boyfriend’s parents, I can always find a gift at this shop that does not disappoint! And I’m really not just saying that, I mean it!

Talk about a one-stop (AMAZING) shop!

Trove does not have an online platform (yet!), so check them out in person at:
19 Paoli Shopping Center
Paoli, PA 19301
484-320-8626


And follow them on instagram @trovegeneralstore. Happy shopping!

Image courtesy of @trovegeneralstore

Image courtesy of @trovegeneralstore

Spruce Lane Shops: Cash and Clive

Cash and Clive
Neighborhood: Cape May, NJ
Vibe: West Coast contemporary style; cool, calm, sophisticated
Good for: Women’s wear, upscale denim

Image courtesy of @cashandclive

Image courtesy of @cashandclive

Last weekend I traveled to my family’s beloved beach vacation spot, Cape May, NJ, for a weekend of retail therapy and relaxation with my boyfriend, mother, great aunt, and her close friend. Many people turned their heads sideways in confusion when I explained I was going to the beach in the middle of December, but that didn’t discourage me from hopping in the car and making the trip south for a quick getaway. To our surprise, that weekend also happened to bring the first snow of the winter season! A beautiful and festive sight to be seen, but it made getting around and perusing the Cape May shopping mall a bit harder, and colder, than usual.

Also (somewhat) to our surprise, Cape May is a major destination during the holiday season! You absolutely needed a dinner reservation for Saturday night, and parking was limited the entire weekend. Quite impressive for a beach town during the winter! Before we stopped for dinner at The Mad Batter, we spent our evening popping in and out each of the specialty shops down the strip mall, taking in the usual atmospheres of beach knick-knacks and small holiday gifts all blended together. While this was mildly entertaining, I was not enticed to grab my wallet and make any purchases, although I definitely was hoping to.

Image courtesy of @cashandclive

Image courtesy of @cashandclive

Fast forward to Sunday morning after grabbing a delicious brunch at the incredibly festive Blue Pig Tavern, when we stumbled upon the newly opened boutique called Cash and Clive and my despondent shopping mood was lifted thanks to this breath of fresh air! Located right across the street from Congress Hall, Cash and Clive is home to a treasure trove of upscale denim, stylish tops and sweaters, and chic accessories to compliment your brand new outfit that you will feel compelled to purchase before exiting this dream store. The store feels upscale, yet contemporary as it features hip brands such as Re/Done, J Brand, Splendid, and more. The silhouettes were varied, showcasing clean and classic styles as well as some edgier pieces, namely in the shoe category. I literally felt dizzy with excitement to have discovered such a gem in a beach town that I have loved for so many years, but not necessarily for its shopping scene. So a warm welcome and huge thank you to Cash and Clive for bringing stylish fashion to Cape May!

To make matters even better, C&C has an e-commerce platform and holiday gift guide that you need to check out! Shop their site now! Some of my favorite picks below:

Splendid Drape Trench Coat, $178 

Splendid Drape Trench Coat, $178 

Cupcakes & Cashmere Ashling Vest, $160

Cupcakes & Cashmere Ashling Vest, $160

Mother Denim HW Looker Ankle Fray, $238

Mother Denim HW Looker Ankle Fray, $238

Mother Denim Hustler 2-Step Ankle Fray, $228

Mother Denim Hustler 2-Step Ankle Fray, $228

Clare V. Flat Clutch, $215

Clare V. Flat Clutch, $215

Kaanas Puebla Bootie, $189

Kaanas Puebla Bootie, $189