Spruce Lane Shops: Threads The Shop

Threads The Shop
Neighborhood: Manayunk
Vibe: Feminine, Trendy, Contemporary, Upscale
Good for: Women’s apparel, denim, shoes, accessories, jewelry

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Located in the heart of Manayunk on Main Street, Threads The Shop is a haven for urban shoppers with a chic sense of style. The boutique, although somewhat small in size, packs a punch with its impressive assortment of merchandise. Shop from the likes of popular brands such as Michael Stars, DL 1961, Agolde, 525 America, Zadig + Voltaire and more! Threads is great because it is a one stop shop women’s apparel and accessories with varying price points. The store carries shoes, bags, jewelry, tops, bottoms, dresses, you name it. Invest in a high value leather jacket, or get a good deal on adorable earrings. You can do it all here.

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Some of my favorite standout pieces while perusing the boutique included straw crossbody bags that are perfect for the summer, a pair of tortoise hoop earrings, statement skinny jeans from AG and a white floral and lace-trimmed top from Michael Stars. If that grouping doesn’t get you excited to shop contemporary women’s fashion, then I don’t know what else does!

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I also was lucky enough to speak briefly with shop owner and buyer, Anna Purcell, to learn a bit more about her background and how she was able to launch Threads in 2016. To make an already small world even smaller, it turns out that Anna is from the same hometown as my brother in-law, which is located in the Finger Lakes of New York. She went to school locally at St. Joe's University and began her early career in fashion working in wholesale. She wasn’t crazy about her initial jobs and working a 9-5 schedule (something I can very much relate to), so when she heard that a storefront in Manayunk was opening up, she took the leap and bought the space. How AWESOME is that? Having previously worked in wholesale, Anna always aspired to be on the buying side of fashion. So with the launch of her own shop, she attained that and so much more!

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I always am baffled by the entrepreneurial spirit that many of these store owners have when I speak with them. To leave corporate life and open your own store is a major risk and no easy task, but Anna and many other boutique owners make it look pretty darn easy! She runs the shop in tandem with her husband, and when I asked if they had any prior experience with running a small business, they both chuckled and said that most of what they do is self-taught and a learning process. Each day brings something new and they do their best to take it all in stride and enjoy the ride. *I didn’t even mean to make that rhyme, so apologies if it sounds a bit cheesy!

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As for Threads and its future, the shop is currently migrating more and more to online sales in addition to its brick and mortar outpost. Anna seems to have a nice client base going in Manayunk and has been focusing on catering to customer needs by offering seasonal wardrobe curations and styling services. I can attest to her loyal following, as I know a few friends and acquaintances off the top of my head who are regular shoppers at the store. That’s pretty impressive when it comes to small business and good ol’ word of mouth marketing.

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You can shop Threads online via their e-commerce site here, and also follow them on Instagram at @threads.the.shop to see when the latest items come in and how to perfectly style them! Threads is located at 4353 Main St, Philadelphia, PA 19127, so if you live in Manayunk or are taking a day trip out there, definitely stop in for some retail therapy. You won’t be disappointed!

Xo

Spruce Lane Shops: Meadowsweet Mercantile

Meadowsweet Mercantile
Neighborhood: Old City, Philadelphia
Vibe: Eclectic, Urban-chic, Artistic, Natural, Free Spirited
Good for: Textiles, vintage denim, t-shirts, locally made accessories, women’s apparel

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Meet Meadowsweet Mercantile in Old City, a veteran shop within the Philly retail landscape that has been on my watch list since I started Spruce Lane back in December. So, what is Meadowsweet Mercantile and why is it so great? Well, we can begin with the “what” by explaining that Meadowsweet is a gorgeous, spacious storefront that serves up an incredible mix of vintage denim and tees, along with other amazing apparel and accessories from some of the area's best local vendors. Considering that 90’s fashion is very much "in" at the moment, this shop is a haven for denim aficionados looking to channel laid back, street style vibes. You can also find an eclectic mix of t-shirts and colorful tops to pair perfectly with your newfound denim. Some of my favorite picks included a rainbow Phish band tee as well as a Camden Catholic High School Football long-sleeved shirt. My mother went to Camden Catholic so I knew she would get a kick out of seeing that. I mean, where else can you find such hidden gems?

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In addition to the rad vintage selection, Meadowsweet features a nice assortment of women’s apparel from long-time vendors Lilian Jackson Textiles and Riverside Tool and Dye, amongst others. Organized by every hue of the rainbow, these colorful organic cotton pieces are perfect for keeping cool during the dog days of summer we have ahead of us. The shop also offers a mix of home goods, gifts and accessories that are utterly charming. I absolutely loved the ceramics section with locally made mugs, catch-all dishes, bowls and more. We ended up buying a speckled trinket dish to go in our living room that brightens my day every time I see it. Basically, if you purchase anything from here you can rest assured know you are taking something very cool home with you. 

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So, onto the “why” part of my initial question. If you couldn’t tell from my aforementioned description of Meadowsweet and all it has to offer, the place really is something special. To add to the excitement of visiting this boutique, It is linked up with an awesome textile shop called Cuttalossa. Cuttalossa sells handmade linens, towels, pillows, napkins, you name it! Both stores’ aesthetics compliment one another so nicely and the entire space feels very cohesive. I really appreciate seeing local shop owners collaborate together like these two do. If you follow Meadowsweet Mercantile on Instagram, you will be able to keep tabs on the many exciting events these shops coordinate each season. There was a wine and cheese tasting in the spring that I was dying to attend (totally would have if I weren't traveling for my FT job, sigh). Hopefully there will be another opportunity soon!

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I chatted with store owner, Stacy Jackson, a bit to hear about her career leading up to the shop and what she finds important about running a small business given the market's competitive nature with online shopping and big name brands. Stacy has been involved with small business since her teens, accruing a wealth of knowledge through the many different professional hats she wore leading up to the launch of Meadowsweet in 2011. A few of her experiences included working at a coffee shop, a doctor's office, and eventually at Anthropologie's Walnut St. location. Each experience helped shape her views on comparing the nuances of small vs. big businesses and what is required operationally to manage each type. Jackson emphasizes that merchandising and special events are other key components to staying fresh in the Philly boutique scene. Shopping online has become so convenient (and an obvious threat to small business owners), but a visually appealing space with one of a kind pieces and interactive elements such as DIY workshops or designer pop-ups is unrivaled in e-commerce. These are the tangible things that make Meadowsweet and many of Philly's other small boutiques so special and irreplaceable. 

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I really believe that shops like Meadowsweet Mercantile, and many of the others I've featured on this blog are a crucial part of the city; more than many people realize. Could you imagine if you walked down the streets of Old City and only could find big name stores like Kohl's, Target, Williams Sonoma, etc.? *No particular judgment on those companies, just the first that came to my mind. Life would be so boring and commercialized! Meadowsweet, and boutique shops in general represent a pillar of Philadelphia's tourism. They are just as important as the many superb restaurants and sights the city has to offer. 

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Experience the charm of Meadowsweet Mercantile for yourself by visiting the shop located at 47 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Heck, you may even see me there shopping for my next pair of denim shorts, because I'm just about done with my old pair of H&M ones. Their beautiful Instagram feed is another way to stay connected, so shoot them a follow at @meadowsweetmercantile.  

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Shop on.

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: 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: 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