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How Two Wanderers Established Roots In The Outer Sunset

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Photos by Patricia Chang

The aesthetic of Establish boutique nails the beachy vibe of the Outer Sunset. The collection of new and vintage clothing and housewares is colorful but pleasantly weathered like a driftwood branch. At the same time, the shop evokes the spirit of far flung places and a feeling of serious wanderlust. The pull between home and travel is no surprise, since Erica Maver and Sara Stockalper opened Establish in July 2012 as a showcase in their favorite San Francisco neighborhood for the unique artisan goods the duo has collected over many years of wandering the globe.

Establish has also become a favorite meeting place for neighborhood regulars. Throughout the day, a steady stream of locals, surfers, artists as well as the neighborhood black cat rotates through the store. Erica and Sarah host monthly movie nights, art shows and art classes: "We want to have a space where people can come and create with us." Find out how these two wanderers laid down their roots and settled in the foggy and beautiful Outer Sunset. —Sara Iravani

Where are you both originally from?
Sara: "San Diego, California"
?Erica: "Beverly, Massachusetts"

Did you go to school? Major in fashion or design? Get a job right out of school?
Sara: "I'm a design school drop-out, but that's where I learned some of the most important skills that I use today."
Erica: "I studied graphic design. I ended up traveling around for a bit after school until I landed a job."

How did you two meet?
"We met while living in Maui in 2003."

You both have traveled a lot and seem to embrace the mobility that comes with it. What made you settle in San Francisco?
Sara: "I love the traveling lifestyle and I was always on the move until this past year. Adventure and the unknown are what inspire me the most. I do feel settled in San Francisco though, because this city inspires me more creatively than anywhere else I've ever been and as I get older, being committed to something has become as satisfying as adventure.?
Erica: "Same for me—traveling is what I am most inspired by. But I love San Francisco, and opening the store has been such a great to way to show what I have found and what has influenced me throughout my life and travels. I know we both hope to continue traveling and searching for inspiration."

How do you describe your personal style? ?
Erica: "I'd say it changes from day to day. We both are inspired by things around us—people, nature, the weather. But it's a mix of whatever feels good in that moment."

A black cat keeps wandering into the store….Do you have any pets?
Erica: "He is always wandering in from the pet store next door, I think he likes it in here a little more."
Sara: "I have a dog named Clayton. He and Kai (Erica's dog) are best friends."

Do you live in the Outer Sunset?
"We both live just a few blocks away from the store. This is our favorite neighborhood."

What type of music do you listen to? ?
Erica: "I'd say much like our style, it changes from day to day. But on an average day if you walked into the store, you would hear Talking Heads, Velvet Underground, Built to Spill, The Stones…."

How did you decide to name the store Establish?
Erica: "I guess we were playing off the idea of when a business declares: "Established in 2012," or whatever. We realized the meaning behind establish is exactly what we were trying to do—to found, institute, build, or bring into being on a stable basis. Once we really read the definition, we found the name to be the perfect fit for our idea."

How do you guys keep your store packed with such an amazing collection of clothing and home furnishings?
Sara: "With new items, we try and source as many locally-made items that we can. We look for inspiration on our favorite blogs and we have a great network of artist friends who are constantly introducing us to interesting items. Seeking out vintage is the fun part. We travel to new places all the time, rescuing unusual items that will add nostalgia and style to the store."

Who are some favorite designers or local artisans in the store?
Sara: "We love working with Tooth and Nail, a local jewelry company that crafts bold statement pieces from rare stones. We are also excited about Indosole, another local venture that creates fashionable footwear from recycled moto-bike tires. Another classic we're bringing is Pendelton with there amazing beach blankets and menswear.

What are your favorite items in the store?
Erica: "Our favorite part of the store is integrating vintage items into the mix. We find vintage housewares, clothing and items that are all one of a kind, each with their own history. It's really fun to go out and find these items and then see people appreciate and enjoy the items we also love. ?"

Your store is stocked with amazing vintage pieces. Where are the best places to find thrifted or vintage furniture and clothing in the Bay Area??
Erica: "There are a ton of places to find vintage pieces. It's all about the hunt!"

Has it been a longtime goal to open a store together?
?Erica: "I think Sara and I have always been inspired by each other and feed of each other's creativity. Whenever we have dreamed up ideas and projects, we always would say, 'one day we will own a store and be able to do this or that.' When we finally bit the bullet last year, we were able to start making these dreams a reality. We both make a lot of the products in the store, and we hope to make more as time goes on. It's really fun to create our ideas and sell them to our customers."
How did you end up in the Outer Sunset? What makes this neighborhood special to you? Is it as foggy as everyone says? ?
Sara: "While the Sunset is pretty foggy, it also has the beauty of the ocean. It's refreshing to live in a neighborhood that is quiet and laid-back but still so close to the energy of the city. Plus, the community of people who live here is extremely creative and supportive."

How would you describe the Establish customer?
?Erica: "We get a huge variety of people. But so far, it's mostly people who come in and find something unique that they connect with and enjoy. Each person is different and exciting."

How did you create a space where people in the neighborhood like to gather?
Sara: "I think we have a created a really comfortable place for people to come in and look around regardless if they are looking to purchase. We have energetic music playing, a seating area, and we are always working on a creative project which makes the space feel fun and inviting."

Establish is now 1 year old! How has the store evolved since you first opened?
Erica: "One of the things we enjoy is changing the store around to make it different and interesting every time you come through the door. I think the thing we have concentrated on the most is what customers want and we've tried to find new products accordingly."

Does Establish have any Holiday deals to look out for in December?
Erica: "We will be having an after Christmas sale from December 26 to 31."

Will you guys be hosting any special Holiday workshops or events?
Erica: "We have Sangria Saturdays all of December. Swing by to get your Holiday shopping done and shop around with some homemade sangria. We also offer private holiday macrame classes. Schedule your own class with 4 or more people to learn how to make a macrame plant hanger. It's a fun way to make your own holiday gift for someone!"

What should be on everyone's holiday gift list from Establish?
Erica: "We just got amazing new jewelry from Tooth 'n Nail. It's all locally made. We also love our seasonal fruit and vegetable calendars, also our new seasonal color wheel. They tell you what and when everything is in season. The color wheel is made by a textile designer who make dyes out of seasonal vegetables, fruits and herbs. She created this really beautiful natural color wheel. It's perfect art for your house at a reasonable price, and locally made. Both come framed in a reclaimed redwood frame or unframed. Also Pendleton's board shirts for girls and guys—my favorite clothing piece we have. They are a new slim fit, so very flattering on all."—Sara Iravani
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