San Mateo is home to restaurants, bars, and chains, but last year saw the addition of IVY Boutique, a unique store featuring products handmade by local women.
Owner Chelsey Greene opened the downtown store in November to create space for her jewelry brand that was harder to sell during COVID-19, and she realized other Bay Area women with petite businesses had no way of selling in person, such as crafts and local fairs, which many rely on.
“So I thought if I had to solve my own problem, I could solve all these other womenâ € ™ s problem as well,” Greene said.
Although Greene owns the store, it serves as an outlet for other women who use the store’s space to sell their products, with Greene receiving a percentage of the sales. The consignment model allows sellers to retain ownership of products and reserve space for them. Items for sale include candles, bath and body products, bags, jewelry, ceramics, necklaces, earrings, and children’s items. Greene said the store is a collection of affordable products representing diversity and categories of products and styles. Located at 55 E. Third Ave., IVY Boutique empowers women by providing a local option that lets the community know their money is going to local artists.
Greene was taking her jewelry to craft fairs or wholesale before they closed due to COVID-19. She spent most of the pandemic sitting still as she couldn’t sell in person until she opened the store. Many artists are affected by the slow pace of in-store sales and the inability to get to fairs, their main meeting place with customers. The opening of the store allowed her and other local women to sell their products and not rely on the reopening of large public events.
“It’s great for me because every day when I wake up and go to do this job, which is my personal dream job, I realize that I am creating a solution here, and it feels really good to find my own solution but also to create the exact same solution for other women, ”she said.
Greene noted that the store has allowed him and others to expand their product options and create new business opportunities by working together.
“People with big ideas have had to put these things on hold, and I’m really delighted that some of the women I’ve worked with, including myself, have come up with a whole new line of products instead of just sitting around. and do nothing. and be stressed, ”she said.
Greene originally had four artists sharing the space, but as more and more women requested space in the store to show off their creations, the number of products sold has grown and now represents 34 different artists. Greene is surprised at the growth and scale, and she thinks more women could be involved if she had more physical space.
Greene grew up in Ohio and studied textile design at Colorado College. She lived in Tennessee, New York, Miami, Rome and New Zealand before returning a second time three years ago to San Francisco, now her home.
“I feel a lot more grounded now that it’s my life and my job, and I love that here in California, and I think being local is very important,” Greene said.
IVY Boutique opened in San Mateo because Greene saw an opportunity to introduce people to a store of items handmade by local women. Many types of stores are already available in San Francisco, but not as many in San Mateo. Greene believes residents want to hang out downtown and have a unique, local boutique after eating or shopping. Additionally, many of the artists whose products are available are from the San Mateo area and all of the people selling their products are based in California. Greene believes the store will offer a new curated outlook that can always be diverse, beautiful, and affordably priced.
“I just didn’t think the people of the Peninsula had ever seen an example of this doing so well and so strictly at these values before,” Greene said.
The store has several artists from San Mateo and Burlingame who have helped her introduce it to other local artists, while others are people Greene has come to know over the years at craft fairs. It also addresses other artists to offer more complete products.
The store opened on November 13, with the store opening being delayed for two weeks to prepare the store. The preparations included sewing the curtains, cleaning, painting and building the interior. Greene only had about a week between finding the lease and signing it, noting it was an impromptu decision.
“So this decision came incredibly quickly. From zero to one hundred. From the simple old idea to the real reality, ”she said.
Greene continues to think about business improvements and is working on a new website launch and employee expansion plans. She currently runs the store on her own with the help of her boyfriend, and she plans to hire employees with brands in the store. Greene is willing to move to a larger space if the circumstances are right and is considering several stores that would be sister stores or a male-focused store.
“Lately I’ve been thinking that I would almost prefer to open a different store that has the same or similar values but is not exactly the same store. It could have a different brand name, a different vibe and a sister store to what we already do, ”Greene said.