Inside BellJar

Photos: The exterior and interior of BellJar, a stunning boutique in San Francisco; the owner, Sasha Darling.

I live in the South Bay Area and a few weeks ago I was up in San Francisco browsing around various boutiques and came across one that I'd not only driven by, but had been hearing about for a while—BellJar, on 16th Street in the Mission. Lucky for me, I had a gift card from there after a recent birthday and I was eager to use it. Upon entering I was immediately struck by the charm and beauty of the store, as well as the eclectic offerings of "gorgeous little things," (that's appropriately part of the name). The staff was welcoming and helpfully pointed out several items that were made by local artisans. I always find it impressive when a shop is willing to engage and promote local talent. I could have stayed there for hours, trying on things and yearning for what gorgeous little things I could take home. I eventually settled on a graphic turquoise scarf that I found to be sweet and romantic, but also bold and modern. I love it and the boutique. I was so taken with BellJar that I tracked down its owner, Sasha Darling, who lives in Los Angeles, and had a chat with her about the store. 

She opened it in 2008 and to this day still does all the buying, social media, and public relations, as well as visits the store in person every two months. Over the last five years the store has evolved to include low and high price points as well as merchandise that appeals to customers that are both girlie and edgy, featuring designers like Lykke Wullf. Darling describes her typical customer as, "In her thirties, hip, artistic, and maybe works at a design firm." 

Since its inception, the store has been soaring and has been featured in numerous national magazines including Elle Décor, Sunset, Lucky, Vogue.com, and many others. We caught up with Sasha Darling to learn more about her.

How would you describe your personal style? 
Simple, California. I’m a total vintage junkie. I love bohemian style and try to push it on San Francisco. 

What’s your favorite brand of denim?
I'm really into Thvm jeans.

What fashion designer (or beauty brand) are you eyeing right now? 
Carolina K who makes Guatemalan, long hippie dresses and maxis. And Lykke Wullf.

What’s your favorite skin care item?
Naked Eye Beauty.

Mani or pedi?
I don't think I’ve ever gotten one without the other. Both are so important to me.

Lip gloss or lip balm?
Lip balm.

Heels or flats?
I'm a heels girl, but since I’ve moved to L.A., I'm learning to embrace flat sandals.

BellJar is located at 3187 16th St., San Francisco, (415) 626-1749.