It’s no secret that I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Serena & Lily. Their designs, quality and collections are constantly winning my heart over. When Serena & Lily dropped a little hint that they were planning on opening a West Coast brick & mortar store I was ecstatic. Not only because I was insanely jealous of the East Coaster that got to shop the Hampton’s store, but because I’m constantly getting asked by clients if they can see Serena & Lily items in person. Problem now solved!
Serena & Lily is opening this Saturday, May 3rd on the ever so lovely Sacramento Street – just a couple blocks down from me. Sacramento Street is the perfect addition to an already budding interiors shopping district. It’s like icing on the cake for what I already think is a fabulous place to source for clients.
The Design Shop will focus mostly on designers and clients that want to take a peek at the products – whether it be a bed, fabric, crib or chair in person before purchasing it online. As you walk into the Design Shop there is a plethora of beautiful items that give you sensory overload – in the best possible way. I left wanting to wallpaper every corner of my apartment, have a list a mile long of bedding, and don’t even get me started on the drop-dead gorgeous art installation that will be rotating different pieces each month.
Lucky for me, I had the pleasure of sitting down with both founders Serena, Lily and Chief Brand & Innovation Officer Aaron Mutscheller to talk about the inspiration behind the new Design Shop, why they selected Sacramento Street as the home for the West Coast shop, which piece from their collections they love at the moment and much more.
1.) I’ve been a huge fan of Serena & Lily for years. Tell us how the company started?
LILY: I was out having my second baby and Serena, who was an artist and textile designer, came by the store I owned at the time, Mill Valley Baby and Kids, and left her portfolio. I came in the next day to show off my new babe, and when I saw her work I was so impressed I called her immediately. She was a little surprised to hear from me so soon since I’d just had a baby, but we met shortly after and in just a few hours had partnered on about three different business ideas.
SERENA: We started with nursery, but never felt that it was strictly a baby line. We felt like it was home décor, and the products at the time were for the nursery. But it always felt like a design company, not a baby company. Scaling the business is definitely the hardest part, but we developed a pretty clear understanding of who our customer is and what they want for their homes, and we have a clear point of view about the rooms and aesthetic outside of the nursery. Our point of view has been consistent across the home, and I think that’s the reason it worked to expand beyond baby.
3.) As you know, I live on Sacramento Street. What made you decide this would be the perfect location for your Design Shop on the West Coast?
LILY: To be honest, we didn’t look at a lot of spaces. We tend to go with our gut on these sorts of things and we just knew Sacramento Street was the perfect spot for our West Coast shop. It has a neighborhood feel and it’s very walkable, people can wander the street and discover some really amazing boutiques. We love that about this area and we knew it was the feel we wanted for our Design Shop. We also love that there’s a strong interior designer presence on Sacramento Street. Design Shop is great for that audience.
4.) How will this differ from the Hampton’s location you opened last Summer?
SERENA: The Hamptons store is completely different – it’s the beach story of our brand and Design Shop is the city story. Beach Market is open, airy, breezy, even the smell of the store is different. You can meander through the space and have many different experiences. Design Shop is more concise and is all about the design experience. You come in and get inspired by our colors and patterns, and then you roll up your sleeves and immediately start working.
5.) Where do you draw inspiration from for overall concept of this Design Shop?
SERENA: We started with the design concept. There’s so much joy in the experience of designing something new – finding pairs that look great or combinations of things that you love – and we wanted to give that to our customer. We want people to touch and feel and see the products, and you really can’t do that with technology or even through a catalog. Design Shop is about that experience, the creativity and the joy that it brings to design something you love. We also wanted to dispel the myth that design is only for those who are trained or professional. We have tried to make the design experience intuitive, foolproof and fun. You can never go wrong if you’re creating something that speaks to you.
AARON: In terms of the feel, the shop was actually modeled after our design studio in Sausalito. People are always walking in the space and telling us how nice it is – the light, the smell, the feeling of openness. We wanted the shop to feel the same way.
6.) How will the Design Shop benefit both designers as well as retail customers?
AARON: Design Shop is a workspace where both customers and interior designers can experience the Serena & Lily brand firsthand. All our signature bedding, wallpaper, rug and paint collections, as well as a curated collection of furniture, lighting and décor will be on display. Anyone working on a design project will benefit from free swatches and design advice on Serena & Lily’s product assortment. We have a hospitality area of the shop where designers can meet customers for appointments, or a family can lounge around while they plan the interiors for their new home. It’s very casual, and we want to encourage everyone to come and stay awhile.
7.) What kind of merchandise do you plan to have available or is this where customers can come to get samples and see furniture that they might be ordering?
LILY: Design Shop is all about the design experience. When you come in, you will see our latest seasonal product assortment, our library of fabrics, upholstery and bedding, our most popular furniture silhouettes, and a rotating display of art from Art Collection. You can order in the shop and have a variety of shipping and delivery options. Everything that’s in-stock can be at your house in the Bay Area by the next business day, or picked up at our warehouse in the city of Richmond. We will also have flat-rate shipping options. This shop is all about service. We want to give you what you need, when you need it, but the approach is not traditional retail.
8.) Right now, if each of you had to choose from your collection, what would be your favorite item?
LILY: I’m obsessed with our Riviera Collection. They’re French-inspired, but the new colors are also very Americana. I especially love the Riviera Bench in Poppy.
SERENA: I love our new Heart PJs. I’m sleeping in them every night and they just get better with every wear.
9.) Lastly, if you could travel to anywhere in the world for inspiration, where would you go?
LILY: Madagascar looks intriguing.
SERENA: It changes monthly, but at the moment I’m pulled to West Africa. Mali in particular. And while I’m down there I’d like to go to Tunisia and back to Morocco. Such a rich experience down there, with an incredible textile heritage.
AARON: Changes for me pretty frequently as well. I could go back to Copenhagen any day of the week, but really drawn to Chile and Uruguay lately. I mean who doesn’t want to travel to a destination where the flag is stripes and a sun!!!
It was such a pleasure getting a sneak peek of the new Design Shop with Serena, Lily and Aaron – they created a stunning shop. I can’t wait til it’s officially open this coming Saturday. If you live in the Bay Area be sure to pop into Serena & Lily when you find yourself on Sacramento Street. Full disclosure, you’ll leave wanting to re-design your entire house!
Photos by Claire Giffen for Sacramento Street