Got time to explore San Francisco? If you like exploring secondhand stores or unique boutiques when traveling, it’s a wonderful opportunity to find unique pieces. Anytime you’re away from your regular shopping spots, take advantage of it. Some of my favorite items have come from thrift stores while traveling because the variety and brands are different than where I’m based. Here are the places I visited and recommend. In two days I had to explore, these are the stores I visited and what I learned.
Day 2 – BetaBrand and the Balm (Valencia Street area). I took the BART to 16th St and Valencia and headed south on Valencia St. I also visited Weston, a San Francisco boutique that had been open for over 30 years but closed its Valencia location in 2017.
Day 1 – San Francisco
To start I went to Amour Vert (Green Love in French). They have a lovely boutique with styles that appeal to my aesthetic and their sustainable principles are solid. Their tagline: Amour Vert means GREEN LOVE in french but it also means American Jobs, non toxic dyes, sensuous fabrics and innovative techniques and above all enduring style.
While on Hayes street, I was able to very quickly go to Alternative and Convert (which has since closed since I visited in 2016). Alternative was a fun store with an eclectic offering and offers women’s and men’s clothes. Alternative focuses on responsible sourcing for fabrics and fair trade practices for their workers.
A total sidetrack was into Lush, a beauty and skin care boutique based in England. The first thing you notice, is the lack of packaging which is not accidental. They are very focused on reducing waste and the waste that comes from packaging.
Last but not least, was Eileen Fisher located on Fillmore. The staff are so knowledgeable about their mission and what they do. I was so inspired in there and thoroughly enjoyed talking with Liz the store leader. It was also really nice to be able to see the clothing in person. Their website has a “behind the label section” and they are all about full disclosure. Learn more here. I also love this quote from Eileen: “We don’t want sustainability to be our edge. We want it to be universal.” I could not agree more.
Day 2 – San Francisco
If you have ever heard of or seen the “dress pant yoga pant,” then you be familiar with Betabrand. They are the “brand” behind the dress yoga pants. However, Betabrand is a unique- they are a store for crowdfunded clothing. Betabrand receives designs, puts them out for a vote, if the design is selected (gets the most votes) it is then put out for funding. If the design generates enough funding, Betabrand produces and sells it. The cool thing about the store in San Francisco is that there are seamstresses there working up the concepts. They make the items for production off site in San Francisco.
Beauty and Skincare
The Balm is on Valencia, and it instantly drew me in due to the fragrance, bubble machine and beautifully decorated store. Makeup from the the Balm is not tested on animals and does not contain talc or parabens. I also really like that they allow you to create your own eye shadow palette. Rather than waste colors you don’t use, you can customize it to suit you.
Most of the stores I’ve shared have an online presence so if you do not live in San Francisco, do not despair. For those that do, enjoy and be glad that you have an abundance of these stores in your city! Happy Shopping!!
Note: Please know that I am not working with any of these companies or stores and was not asked to endorse or mention any of the products in this post. All opinions here are my own.