Everyday new stores and food spots are opening on the Divisadero because they have recognized how quick this neighborhood is becoming popular. But there are stores on Divisadero that have been around for awhile now, which shows what good taste and trend predictions its owners have. One of these stores is Magpie and Rye. Former collaboration space between the Studio Choo gals and jewelry maker Annabelle Ray is now Annabelle’s spot for fine curated unique, design goods from independent, mostly North America based makers and artists. At Magpie & Rye you will find fine paper goods, unique jewelry and accessories, quality home-ware and interesting decoration pieces inspired by nature and natural materials. If you are looking for not-your-ordinary gifts for yourself or a friend this is your place to visit. Read on how Annabell finds all the designers and what’s important to her when choosing the pieces for Magpie & Rye.
You are a jewelry designer, what led you to become a shop owner, too?
They actually happened in reverse order for me. My friends, Studio Choo, were looking to open a retail location and wanted to collaborate, and it seemed like a great idea. I was just starting to dabble in jewelry-making, and I got distracted with running the shop for a while, so my line is just being released now, three and a half years later!
Describe the idea of your store? What is so unique about it?
We opened smack dab in the middle of the recession, and it became really important to me to find independent designers doing small scale production and represent them at the shop — a small attempt in supporting makers of the hand-made object. There were also a bunch of designers that I really loved that I thought were under-represented in California that we picked up right when we opened. And we have always aimed to choose makers who make environmentally ethical choices in their craft.
The pieces at Magpie & Rye are very well selected. How do you find all the designers?
The internet and social media is probably my biggest tool. We do try to attend trade shows and craft fairs as well.
What do you keep in mind when choosing the items for Magpie & Rye?
Magpie & Rye definitely has a look! Natural materials and a muted palette help to keep things cohesive, and bold shapes and patterns. And there is a lot of Bronze/Gold going on in here at any given time! I always try to think of the physical location where the product will best fit and visualize it there before adding it to our collection.
You are creating beautiful, unique jewelry. What inspires you?
Always nature. Cultural and historical museums. And all of the incredible designers I have been working with over the years.
As every job, being a shop owner has also pro and con. What do you love most about your job? What’s not so great?
Searching out new designers is pretty fun. And I love how supportive our neighborhood has been. I could do without the bookkeeping.
Have you any advice for somebody who would like to open a store?
Keep your overhead low and be good to your neighbors.
Can you describe us your day at the …morning…. noon…. evening?
Mornings are spent in Oakland, walking with the dog and checking email. Then I head to the shop at noon and move things around, photograph them and move them around some more, emails and spreadsheets, then back to Oakland for dinner with my husband and our dog.
Favorite pieces or designers right now?
Oh, so many! We just got some amazing hand-printed cacti tea towels from Amelie Mancini, and I love the quirkiness of ceramics by A Question of Eagles. Mociun will always be a favorite, and I love the classic designs of Bailey Robinson’s rings.
Top 3 destinations?
Zermatt and Grindelwald
Currently addicted to…?
Mexican food. I could eat it for every meal, every day.
Night owl or early bird?
Neither. Good sleeper.
Tell us some of your favorite SF spots?
Now that I’m a bridge and tunneler, I spend most of my time either at the shop or grabbing a quick bite in the neighborhood or at the ferry building.
Always in your bag…
A camera, scissors and miscellaneous tools.