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Meet the curators: 3 shop owners share what makes their selections truly unique

September 6, 2023 | Published by Faire

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Boo and Sarah Sims, co-founders of Lady & Larder

Independent retailers who curate from a distinct point of view are the beating heart of a community. By sharing their perspectives, they breathe new life and personality into a neighborhood and expand the worldview of their customers. Great retailers are always on the lookout for something unique, pieces that tell a story, and items that they’d want to take home themselves. 

As part of Faire’s new Shop the Stories campaign, we’re highlighting three such shop owners who bring vibrancy and a different perspective to their communities. These founders share what drives their discovery process, their tips for finding new favorite Faire artisans, and how they stock their boutiques so shoppers keep coming back for more. As curators of beautiful home goods, of-the-moment fashion, and the finest food pairings for your charcuterie boards, they ensure that each shopping experience piques curiosity, inspires the senses, and feeds the soul.

Rancho Diaz: The curious collectors

Mario and Ginger Diaz opened Rancho Diaz in the historic Pearl District of San Antonio in 2021. Their goal: design a boutique that reflects their vision for their ideal desert home. That means an inviting space with a curated selection of eclectic home goods, local artifacts, and vintage art found from their travels in Oaxaca, Guanajuato, Mexico City, and small surrounding villages. 

The handcrafted goods—from Nopalera prickly pear cactus exfoliant to blush pink drinking glasses and soapstone incense burners—are always rotating. Since Mario and Ginger travel up to six times per year to Mexico, they’re able to keep the store fresh, and they always bring back something unexpected. Shoppers can come back to the store often and have a new experience every time.  

 What sets our store apart is that we find the smaller makers. We like to say we’re a small business full of small businesses.

Ginger Diaz, co-founder, Rancho Diaz

Right now, Ginger and Mario are focused on mixing colors, textures, and patterns. In their shop, you’ll find terracotta coffee cups and rare gourmet salt sets amid vibrant canvas planters and fragrant eucalyptus sage smudge bundles. And the search continues. 

“What sets our store apart is that we find the smaller makers,” says Ginger. “We like to source items that are handmade and have a special story to tell.” That means going to small towns and meeting with the artisans themselves and even seeing how the products are made. The beauty of Rancho Diaz is that it’s a small business that lifts up other small businesses, too. 

Faire tip: Filter by values and location

In between their travels, Ginger and Mario use Faire to find and work directly with talented makers to stock their shelves. “We use Faire to drill down and find those artisan items,” says Ginger. “You can sort by a lot of different filters and that helps us dive into areas that we want to support, whether it’s Latin- or Black-owned businesses or not on Amazon.” What’s more, Faire makes communication, payments, and invoicing simple—letting, as Ginger puts it, “artists focus on their art.”

Explore Ginger and Mario’s curated collection on Faire

Prism Boutique: The wardrobe whisperer

In 2013, Dayna Mance left her corporate gig to fulfill her dream: opening a beautiful neighborhood boutique that supports women makers. It started small, just a 650-square-foot space. But over the past 10 years, she’s expanded to a sun-splashed, 2,000-square-foot boutique, which covers over half a block on an otherwise sleepy street in Long Beach. 

“Coming to Prism Boutique is a whole experience,” says Dayna. “There are big windows, lots of natural light, plants, white walls, and wood shelving. When you step into our store, we make you feel welcome, like you’re stepping into our home. I love to see customers really take their time.”

I’m a little bit of a risk-taker. If I love something, I’ll buy it for the store and hope it works out. And it usually does.

Dayna Mance, founder, Prism Boutique

Dayna’s aesthetic is simple and clean so the products really pop. She makes sure that if customers need help finding a gift or want to hear the story behind a brand, she’s there. (She knows all the products intimately, from the vintage yellow bikini set to the terracotta cowboy boot match holder.) “Our customer is creative and independent,” says Dayna. “She likes curated fashion, and she trusts us to do the work of finding something gorgeous—whether it be a local women-owned brand or an international one.”

Along with meeting customers and creating community on her half-block, Dayna’s favorite part of the job is that she has the flexibility and freedom to fully curate the space. She’s constantly shopping: looking for the best materials, ethical brands, and creative pieces from emerging and seasoned businesses to help her shoppers stand out. 

Faire tip: Take a chance on new brands

Much of Dayna’s curating style is based on gut decisions. “I love the hunt of finding something new,” she says. “There are so many brands from all over the world (on Faire), and you can access them super easily.” With Faire’s free returns on opening orders, Dayna’s choices can be essentially risk-free, which takes the stress out of not being quite sure if 30 neon-clad one-pieces are going to sell.

Explore Dayna’s curated collection on Faire

Lady & Larder: The epicurean experts

Twin sisters Boo and Sarah Simms’ specialty food shop is really named Lady & Larder, but they call it their little dream shop. They opened the intimate, superette-like space in Santa Monica in 2016 to source beautiful meats, cheeses, and fresh produce (plus, breads, tinned fish, flowers, natural wine, etc.) from the best domestic makers.

While selling food sounds like fun, and it is, Sarah and Boo take their job seriously: They taste everything themselves and use their shop to spotlight businesses they admire. “We love getting to meet all the amazing makers behind all the retail products we carry and getting to champion their hard work to other people,” says Sarah. “We love storytelling, and retail products are just a bridge for us to tell the story of the people behind these amazing brands.” 

 At night, some people go on dating apps. I shop on Faire.

Sarah Simms, co-founder, Lady & Larder

Since the shop is 100% domestic, Sarah and Boo often take advantage of Faire’s Made in the US filter to more easily search for potential goods for the shop. Sarah likens the experience of searching for products on Faire’s mobile app to using a dating app. “It’s so fun,” she says. “I go there at night when I’m alone with a glass of wine. It’s exciting to see pictures of every product, get a full description—all the details are there, as opposed to the old way of ordering when you didn’t have that kind of transparency.” 

The pair appreciate that Faire allows them to source every item in their store back to its point of origin. That level of transparency builds trust with their shoppers, whether they’re looking for dinner, something special for date night, or a cheeseboard to bring to a party. 

Faire tip: Simplify shipping with an Insider subscription

When it comes to shipping items like olive oil in ceramic bottles, it can get very expensive for everyone, even the maker. To make those costs more predictable, Sarah and Boo lean on Faire’s Insider program—a monthly paid membership that, among other benefits, comes with free shipping on select US brands. Plus, says Sarah, “if you receive a package and for some reason there was damage or one of the bottles is shattered or a label is messed up, you can very easily snap a photo on your phone, upload it to Faire, and get an immediate credit.”

Explore Boo and Sarah’s curated collection on Faire

Looking for inspiration to fuel your own curation? Visit these retailers’ curated collections on Faire. 

And if you’re new to buying on Faire? Check out our retailer’s guide to buying on Faire. It includes all the tools and tips you need to stock your shop like these passionate pros.

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