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In 2003, Nadine Curtis started Be Sweet, a yarn and knitwear company that works with job creation programs to give artisans in economically depressed regions a means to support themselves and their families. Over the last 12 years, B Sweet has grown as Nadine, a New York native, moved from South Africa back to California. Though she loved her long-time wholesale business, she often found herself gushing over clothing and gift collections at trade shows, saying "If I ever had a store, I would carry that line." Now, she has a store where she's carrying the lines she loved for so long.
Nadine's Mill Valley shop, 7 on Locust, is a retail retreat just off the town's main square. Describing the vibe of her store, she says, "I wanted to make this place that felt like a clubhouse for people in the community and obviously people interested in fashion." The spot reflects her boho-chic, rock-n-roll spirit —think cowhide rugs, perfectly mismatched chairs, arrows, and lots of metallic and leather accents— while showcasing clothing, jewelry, home decor, and a bit of art.
But it's more than just a store. "I really wanted a mixed-use space where I could do my wholesale and retail and envelop a design studio space," Nadine explains. In her multi-purpose space, she continues to run B Sweet from the back of the store, while sharing an office with equestrian-inspired luxury line Stick & Ball and interior designer Elena Calabrese. (Consider it a reverse mullet: The party's in the front, and the business is in the back.)
Mill Valley may seem like an odd choice for a globe-hopping New Yorker to venture in retail, but the location was an obvious choice for Nadine. "I live in Mill Valley. I raise my son here. I feel fortunate and lucky to be part of the community here. I call it this stunning hamlet of a town. It was a no-brainer for me to be here," she tells Racked.
While support for the store within the community has been overwhelming, it's not just her North Bay neighbors who appreciate what she's built. Nadine says that she regularly meets customers who have driven from San Francisco just to check out her shop; a trend she describes as "flattering". And the trip is worth the drive: Despite all the shopping options in the city, Nadine's little store still has its fair share of hard-to-find items, like the Gypset collection (available this spring) and the full range of J'Amy Tarr outerwear. Interspersed with Alchemy jewelry and t-shirts from Lucky Fish, the shop feels personal and thoughtful.
For spring, you'll find more of the relaxed pieces that Nadine is known for, mixed in with structured pieces. "I love big and flowy boho style, and I've sold many a caftan in this past season —I love them and they're not going away. But for me, some of the buying I've done for spring is more tailored, more structured, but still with boho hints. I'm into emerald green, and I feel like it's a color for this moment, this season. I'm a big fan of snake skin, whether it's faux or real. For me, metallic leathers and skin are on trend."
The shop is open seven days a week, from 10 am to 5 pm Monday and Tuesday, 10 am to 6 pm Wednesday and Friday, 10 am to 7 pm on Thursday, 11 am to 6 pm on Saturday, and noon to 4 pm on Sunday. Whether you visit for the clothes or the decor, you can add 7 on Locust to the growing list of spots to shop in the increasingly cool Marin.