Score mid-century modern designs, vintage housewares, and unique decor and gifts in the newly opened Gold and Rust Finds on Piedmont Avenue. Co-owners Cassandra McCall and Seth Forester joked that it's a little bit boho, a little bit mid-century, and a little bit rock 'n' roll. In addition to vintage offerings, Gold and Rust has curated contemporary items like Candylab's coveted wooden cars, denim textiles from SF designers Ubi-Ind and Stagger Lee, and unique arrangements from Westwind Succulents.
The seed of the new store was planted when the duo took a two-month, 27-state, 11,000-mile road trip together. They bought and sold vintage housewares around the country, all while daydreaming about their future shop. "I'm a third-generation small business owner, having grown up in my father's store in South San Francisco," said McCall. Forester grew up with mid-century modern furniture and always admired the aesthetic. He was strongly influenced by his furniture-maker grandfather and has always dreamed of owning his own store.
After earning their stripes doing pop-ups for years, McCall and Forester were ready — and their business plan was ready, too — for a permanent location. "We got a fateful call at 9 a.m. one Friday morning from Karen Fort of Mercy Vintage. She said her landlord was looking for tenants, and that she recommended us." After due diligence and soul-searching, the couple knew it was time to take the leap. The chic new shop opened in August. "Retail brick-and-mortar businesses are changing," said McCall, "and we wanted to give our customers a unique retail experience."
For October and the coming holiday season, customers will find cozy seating and dining room tables, both perfect for entertaining. The owners love vintage ceramics and tableware, and the shop has linens and textiles waiting to beautify homes. Gold and Rust also offers personal shopping, so if buyers have a certain vintage piece in mind for themselves or as a holiday gift, the Rust and Gold staff can help locate it. Each month, Gold and Rust hosts local makers and small businesses. The shop owners started out doing pop-ups said they think it's important to hold space for others as they grow. For those who have gorgeous mid-century era items to sell, they can bring them in for consignment possibilities. To stay abreast of beautiful new stock, October pop-ups, and event news, follow them on instagram.com/goldandrust. Last, but certainly not least, October brings wedding bells, as the co-owners are getting married near Yosemite this month. Be sure to congratulate them when stopping in. 4268 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, 510-999-GOLD, www.GoldAndRustFinds.com.
Find the perfect pair of jeans at Maple Street Denim's new location right next door to Gold and Rust Finds. As of August, the boutique moved from downtown Oakland to a new home on Piedmont Avenue. Owner Julie Harleman said the move allowed for an expansion of services, including plans for a unisex Maple Street Denim line launching in 2019. For those who don't know Maple Street Denim, they're in for a pleasant experience. Instead of a solo battle against stacks of ill-fitting pants, customers can trust the knowledgeable staff to provide complimentary fittings—a service anyone who has struggled with finding jeans will appreciate. "Our mission is to be open and accessible to everybody," said Harleman. "We want people to walk in and feel comfortable shopping here. Our shop is body positive, and we offer non-gendered clothing in a range of sizes." Maple Street Denim provides free hemming if the length isn't just right. Beyond denim, there are bottoms, tops, outerwear, and accessories to kit out an entire wardrobe. As for brands, Maple Street Denim stocks goods from companies with ethical and sustainable manufacturing practices, so shoppers will feel as good as they look at their new gear.
Maple Street Denim is in the research-and-development phase of its planned eponymous clothing line, but expect a capsule collection of six pieces, including two fits of denim and four tops, including T-shirts and sweatshirts later next year. "Our goal is to do as much of the denim production locally as possible," shares Harleman.
The move to Piedmont Avenue was prompted by the end of a lease. "We were in downtown Oakland for four years," she said, "but we struggled with foot traffic, parking, and competition with online retailers. There's a lot of investment into construction and development downtown right now, but it's not great for current shop owners." In addition, shop space was limited, requiring offsite storage and offering no room for expansion plans. "This move helps us go the next mile and stay in Oakland," said Harleman, an Oakland resident for 21 years. Stop by the recently opened location and discover new favorite jeans. 4266 Piedmont Ave., 510-816-5326, www.MSDOak.com.
Telegraph Avenue has a bright new star at Indigo Vintage Co-op.
"In the vintage clothing realm, we are modern," said founder Melissa Willis. "It's a diverse, eclectic mix of styles our vendors provide, but overall, we keep our eye on the pulse of everyday vintage casual. The looks we have are not costumey."
The darling boutique was designed to feel like a curated open-air market. "In the Bay Area, there's a love of open-air markets. People love to interact with vintage vendors and learn about their curation process or meet with artists and learn about their maker process."
When Willis was selling in the markets, many of the vendors she worked with wanted to go full time but couldn't manage to do so alone. Thus in May, Indigo Vintage Co-op was born. Currently Willis is the sole proprietor with plans to transition to an independent, group-run co-op by 2019. With 15 to 20 local vendors showcasing their styles each month in the boutique-like marketplace, there are always fresh finds.
Walking through the shop is like exploring a market: There's a little bit of everything, thanks to the diverse lineup of vendors every month. This is a great fit for Berkeley, where there are so many different styles. "We have each distinct section be its own era, style, and price point," said Willis. "There's something for everyone." In addition to the style benefits of shopping vintage clothing, the planet benefits, too. Reusing clothing reduces the environmental impacts of manufacturing. "We have clothing for all ages, but we also target young shoppers, junior high through college. Secondhand clothing is being sensationalized by celebrities — even Selena Gomez has been wearing our Indigo Vintage finds. I love that repurposing clothing has become popular, and young people are getting away from buying fast fashion that damages the environment and ends up in landfills."
For October, there will be an event with music and refreshments, said Willis, so stay tuned to instagram.com/indigovtg for date and time. For vendors who are interested in participating, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Willis encourages locals to visit the shop and soak in the vibe, saying Indigo Vintage Co-op has a friendly staff and a fun hangout culture. There are board games and books in the back for anyone who wants to do more than shop, and there's always someone to chat with. For eco-friendly style visionaries on the hunt for unique finds, stop in here. 2505 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley, 510-280-5975, www.facebook.com/indigovtg.
Do you have East Bay retail news to share, including openings, expansions, trunk shows, sales, or other in-store events? Email news to the editor at Judy@TheMonthly.com.
Looking for mid-century modern houseswares and gifts? Shop at Gold and Rust Finds' new store to pick up winning designs. Photo courtesy Gold and Rust Finds.