When UC Berkley Architecture student Christina Spaulding graduated, her career took her to Manhattan to work for the prestigious Robert Stern Architect firm before moving her home to San Francisco to design commercial property and retail space for Banana Republic and Williams-Sonoma. Then, after 12 years of following her dream, she was laid off; not an uncommon occurrence these days, but rather than pout and pucker at the lemons she was served, Spaulding decided to open a lemonade stand, or in this case, a chic Presidio Heights boutique called Luna, named for her beloved black dog that greets clients with a tail wag and an orange ball dropped at their feet.
“I thought about buying and flipping houses. I thought about being a nanny or cleaning lady. I had to do something to make a living,” said Spaulding. Eventually, Spaulding got a job with a friend and women’s clothing retailer just down Sacramento Street from Luna, and learned the retail clothing business from the ground up. But dressing women was not something new to her.
“When I was young,” she said, “I would go shopping with my mother and friends and pick out their clothes for them.” It’s no surprise then that it was these family and friends who encouraged Spaulding to open a boutique in the neighborhood where she was born. Full circle.
Luna opened May 1, 2010, and nearly a year later, business is thriving and Spaulding says she couldn’t be happier. Plus, Spaulding knows The City and its finicky climate, and thus Luna carries scarves and cashmere year round–for those cold San Francisco summers.
“Luna will always be a boutique focusing on small, niche designers and clothes that aren’t found everywhere in San Francisco,” said Spaulding.
Looking around, it is obvious the store was created by a careful designer (and architect); and the environment (along with the friendly staff) is welcoming and warm with nice lighting and vases of roses mixed with modern flair–like the glossy-black wood trim and streamlined leather sofa. The clothes are equally stylish and clients include regular and walk in career women, mothers, and those who appreciate fashion at an affordable price point. There are racks and stacks of individual pieces to mix and mesh into a one of a kind outfit including brands like AC Jeans, Band of Outsiders, Three Dots, Pete, Clue, Equipment and beautiful hand crafted bags and shoes from California designer Calleen Cordero. The boutique also carries classic cocktail attire from more recognizable names like Roberto Rodriguez.
Luna’s 800-square-foot back garden has been host to private parties and special events, but it’s the upcoming anniversary party Spaulding is planning that will be most memorable. “I moved back to San Francisco from New York to enjoy my life,” said Spaulding. “I don’t miss sitting behind a desk or traveling every week. I enjoy meeting new people and now I get to do that everyday.”
When a window closes, a door to a boutique might just open. And Luna is one you should definitely step through.
Luna, 3615 Sacramento Street, Presidio Heights. 415.359.0198, www.lundaboutiquesf.com
Kimberley Lovato is a freelance writer based in San Francisco