For all those who loathe chain stores (and wearing what everyone else is wearing), rejoice! A feisty and stylish startup called Boutiika launched its discovery directory this week. The savvy site highlights independent boutiques in neighborhoods around San Francisco.
At launch, there are about 30 stores featured, like The Residents Apparel Gallery in Hayes Valley, Heartfelt in Bernal Heights, and Loft 1513 in the Castro, and the site will be adding many more in the coming months.
After perfecting its search and directory service for boutiques in New York City, Boutiika relocated its headquarters to San Francisco earlier this year.
Recently, I caught up with the company’s charming and energetic founder, Ruchika Kumar, to find out a bit about the inspiration for her startup. Kumar grew up in Manchester, England, a city known more for soccer than for shopping.
"Where I grew up, it was mostly chain and high street stores, and I disliked those options. There was always someone else who had what I had, and wore what I wore. I had to go to great lengths to feel like an individual and find one-of-a-kind pieces."
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Bernal Heights' Heartfelt is one of those gift shops you find yourself automatically wandering in. And then buying something. They have a great collection of cards, candles, flowers and pretty little things. Plus, the place just makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Cash in on this 50% off offer (a $30 gift certificate for $15) and create a solid stockpile of cute birthday gifts.