The dream, five years ago, was to concentrate a cluster of small, independent businesses together in Old Oakland-- in hopes of turning the beautiful and historic (but at the time depressed) neighborhood into the GEM it deserved to be. We hunkered down, supported each other, and now we are seeing the manifestation of all that effort-- women and people of color owned shops lining up and down 9th st. It takes an entire afternoon to see it all now, and maybe into the evening if you wanna catch a bite or cocktail *wink.
We walked around Old Oakland to get to know them and make our Under $100 wish list of gifts we'd love to give (or receive!). All these shops are located just a block from Crown Nine, so making the rounds is easy. Here we go....
1. OWL N' WOOD
Rachel Konte's Owl N Wood was originally brick and mortared on Grand Avenue in 2012, so imagine our surprise when the shop opened up right down the street on Plaid Friday! Rachel has a carefully curated collection of new and vintage clothing, jewelry, and accessories as well as a giant photograph of the legend herself - Sade. We are super stoked to have Rachel's beautiful shop just down the block from us!
GIFT IDEA: Colorful Panties ($20) and Bralets (25), Made in the USA
2. BE HOME
Next door to Owl N' Wood is the newest addition to the Old Oakland Fam - Be Home. The shop is currently a pop up, selling reasonably priced specialty home goods, but after a new year hiatus will be returning in February as a permanent fixture to the space. The feel is simple, warm, and functional; though every piece is like a little slice of art, everything in this shop would get good daily use.
GIFT IDEA: Madame/Madame tumblers (Monsieur is also available) paired with a slick copper and wood bottle opener, all priced at $12 each.
3. MAPLE STREET DEMIN
This boutique, founded by denim expert Julie Harleman is halfway through its second year in Old Oakland. Julie carries a wide range of jeans and other clothing and accessories, focusing on ethically made goods and the power of a good fit. Maple Street Denim is all about body positivity, good vibes, and inclusiveness -- we love them for that.
GIFT IDEA: Super soft Circle scarf by SF based designer Ryan Debonville; comes in a range of classic neutral colors $80
4. MARION & ROSE'S WORKSHOP
Going strong for 5 years, another Old Oakland staple is Marion and Rose's Workshop owned by Oakland artist Kerri Lee Johnson. Prepare to spend a good chunk of time in this charming boutique filled to the brim with all American-Made goods. From gorgeous screen prints to hanging planters to cozy blankets and pillows - you are bound to find the perfect gift for someone on your list here.
GIFT IDEA: For your green-thumbed friends, ceramic hanging planters from Mavis $26 - $36. They look striking hanging staggered in a window.
5. UMAMI MART
This special bar and kitchen shop is in its fourth year now on 8th and Broadway. Umami Mart is dedicated to Japanese glassware, ceramics, and bar tools, and also boasts a Japanese Bottleshop with a wide selection of imported and domestic sake and beer. We were drooling over the stacking ceramic mug sets, sake kits and monochromatic prints covering the walls. There's definitely something here for everyone.
GIFT IDEA: Warm Sake Set $45. Comes with a carafe, two cups, and a bottle of Kasumi Tsuru Kimoto Extra Dry.
Bosk is a spin-off from long established and Town fav-ed Oaklandish. Located at the corner of 9th and Washington and a go-to for streetwear, backpacks and Raiders hats. Just try to pry us lady-jewelers away from the women's workwear section.
GIFT IDEA: Craig Hill Stash Box - $100. Made of veg-tan perfect to stow away your collection -- whatever that may be.
7. M & R Trading Co.
This women of color-owned gallery opened on Plaid Friday with a showcase of work by Rose Hill, an artist from New Jersey who's lived in the Bay Area for decades now. Rose paints on ceramic and creates mosaics using retro African-American imagery. UVA English Professor Lisa Woolfork describes Hill's work as a "strategy to seize the reins of interpretation...to put racists on notice that they don't get to control the terms of conversation or inquiry of debate."
M&R Trading also carries work by several other artists including Milton Bowes, a painter from Oakland who also works with retro imagery related to food, music, and African-American culture. All artwork is available for purchase, and the pop-up gallery is open till the 7th so get there while you can! Located at 902 Washington St.
8. E14 Gallery
E14 is another pop-up space open till the end of the year. They have both an art gallery and showroom dedicated to work produced by Oakland natives. The focus here is resilience, community, and to support makers born and raised in Oakland, many of which are connected to the gallery through Eastside Arts Alliance. The walls feature a large range of work by contemporary artists and a feature on work made by members of the Black Panthers. Be sure to stop in for their Artist Market on December 17th, 4-10PM.
GIFT IDEA: Esteli Body Skincare Set - $64. Adriana Green's all-natural line, handmade in Oakland. PLANTA, FLORA, and COCO ROSA help exfoliate, treat and refresh skin and contain a heaping dose of healthy ingredients like rosehips, lavender, coconut water and aloe.
Stay tuned for a post on the insane Old Oakland food scene...