I had no big expectations when my friend took me on a tour to Inner Richmond. I knew there would be many Asian stores and delicious Asian fast food; some people call it the “real” China Town of San Francisco. Therefore all the more I was pleasantly surprised how cool this neighborhood is. There are small cafés, some pretty good food spots, good selected plant nursery, an iconic book store and few very nice clothes stores. Our first stop was at the Seedstore. People say, the first impression matters, so it was the merit of Seedstore that shaped my vision of Inner Richmond. This San Francisco gem is owned by two sisters, Cynthia & Jennifer, whose background in fashion industry and their passion for pretty clothes led them to open their first store. Enjoying working together and creating community around their store the sisters duo cares about quality, carrying independent designers and having their customers feeling good when they leave the store. I was happy to talk to them how they got started, what they most love about their job and what they always have in their bags.
Hope you guys will enjoy our small chit chat. Have fun!
What led you guys to become a shop owner?
Cynthia: My sister and I both have backgrounds working in and around fashion and retail. Over dinner one night a few years ago, we were talking about life and I was mentioning how I still dreamt of opening a boutique one day. I had always wanted to have my own business since I was a child, so it wasn’t really anything new, but her reaction completely surprised me this time when she said, “Why don’t you just do it now? I’ll quit my job and we’ll do it together.” It was crazy since I had just had my second child 5 months earlier, but I said, “Ok, let’s do this.” Then, we just kept putting one foot in front of the other and now, we’ve had the business for almost 3 years.
Describe us the idea of your store? What is so unique about it?
We are a men’s and women’s clothing store in the Inner Richmond neighborhood of San Francisco.
We carry a mix of well established brands such as Pendleton, Penfield and Golden Bear, as well as smaller and independent lines by mostly North American designers.
We are rooted in our community and want the shop to be a comfortable and welcoming space to not only shop but to gather with neighbors and friends.
The pieces at Seedstore are very well selected. How do you find all the designers?
We travel, read blogs, talk to customers and luckily some of our best designers have reached out to us.
What do you keep in mind when choosing the items for Seedstore?
We are drawn to designers and lines that are thoughtful in their design, process, and execution.
As every job, being a shop owner has also pro and con. What do you love most about your job?
Cynthia: I am very grateful to have the opportunity to work with my sister. I’ve really enjoyed having our relationship grow.
What’s not so great?
There really isn’t a downside. We were raised to work really hard and are very appreciative to be here and doing what we love every day.
Have you any advice for somebody who would like to open a store?
My best advice for someone who wants to open a store is to gain as much experience as possible before doing it, whether in retail, marketing, HR, finance, buying, graphic design, manual labor or better yet, a combination of all of the above to be as well prepared as possible.
Can you describe us your day at the …morning…. noon…. evening?
Jennifer: My day usually begins at 7a with emails and following up with vendors. Then I am usually at the shop and working with clients or in buying appointments. In the evenings I relax by cooking dinner and going to bed early.
Cynthia: I don’t really have a regular schedule except that I have 2 kids that I drop off and pick up each day. So, I am usually in my office taking meetings or in my car.
Shop owner’s dream?
I just hope that we continue to grow our shop on Clement St. as well as online and that we make fashion really fun and easy for everybody.
Favorite pieces or designers right now in your store?
Its tough to choose a favorite, we’re excited about that we have a lot of really great layering pieces that work extremely well in our San Francisco microclimates. Our shoe selection for men and women are both also really good right now.
Top 3 destinations?
Cynthia: Nice, France. Florence, Italy and Hong Kong
Jennifer: NYC, Hong Kong, Tokyo
Currently addicted to…?
Cynthia: 90’s rap and hip hop
Jennifer: The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s new album
Night owl or early bird?
Cynthia: Night Owl
Jennifer: Early Bird
Tell us some of your favorite San Francisco spots?
Cynthia: The Inner Richmond, of course! Park Life, Green Apple, Burma Superstar, Foggy Notion, Healthy Spirits…the list goes on!
Jennifer: The Presidio, Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach
Always in your bag…
Cynthia: A Baggu, my wallet, keys, phone, a stack of papers and tons of to-do lists
Jennifer: Keys, wallet, phone