Back in 2010, Bernal Heights topped 7×7’s list for the most diverse neighborhood with the most foreclosures :/. The Bold Italic shared about 331 Cortland, a foodie incubator in recent years (A reason I first visited Bernal Heights after searching for Anda’s Piroshki after realizing they were not participating in the last SF Street Food Festival and craving a Salmon Piroshky from Seattle’s Pike Place Market.) But really, what better way to learn about a town like Bernal Heights than from the people themselves.
Herb & Lace is all about local stories, and I was lucky to catch a conversation with storeowners and Bernal Heights locals, Ken Shelf (www.thesucculence.com) and Darcy Lee (http://www.heartfeltsf.com/) — coincidentally both Virgos, hmm.
Both are very active in the community (sponsoring local events, attending public meetings, and showcasing products from local artisans within their shops! from soaps, to pottery and paintings) Describing Bernal Heights, “It’s like the Andy Griffith Show!” where in a small community, everyone knows each other making a short trip to the local supermarket a rather long but fun one with all the familiar faces :) The diversity of the town can be seen in the details. A 1958 VW Beetle can be found parked next to a Tesla, and a timeless house could stand next to a DIY shack rebuilt from earthquake damage.
Ken and Darcy both run different storefronts on Cortland Ave. (Across the street from 331 Cortland) but from client to mentorship, they have a strong friendship. Ken with Succulence, a play on words for people to appreciate and find the succulence of life, provides a wide selection of succulent plants, home decor, DIY ideas, classes, and local artisan products. Darcy walking distance away provides everything from stationary, linens, and a kid’s corner. She even launched a new service called Darcy’s Pix where she will provide personally picked gift suggestions for your special someone. Maybe it’s in the constellations of being Virgos but both share a passion for great style, reaching a broad demographic, and making a step into their stores, a step into a new world. Especially in a time where screen time is always on (Heartfelt now has an online store) both strive to provide a portal from your norm, providing an atmosphere that you have to be in person to fully appreciate. It’s like visiting a friend’s home and wondering “Where did you get that?”; there’s just always something to look at. Darcy’s Heartfelt works with packaged goods so although it’s more of a challenge to create that at-home feeling, she draws experience from visiting art galleries in New York with the mentality of getting out into the city and exploring. We dig.
Find Heartfelt on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. (They hold yearly clothes swapping parties, how fun!)
& Succulence at Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. But most importantly, visit if you get the chance.
436 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110
402 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110
** If you are planning to buy a gift for someone and are in the area (Valentine’s season), upon purchase – mention Herb & Lace at the cashier and receive a goodie bag by the end of March ;)
Also, if you get the chance to catch the sunset at the nearby Bernal Heights Park – it is definitely worth it. :)