What You Need to Know About San Francisco Locally Made Goods
Most people think San Francisco's only exports are software and phone apps, but San Francisco has made a name for itself when it comes to artisanal goods. These unique products are worlds apart from generic, mass-produced merchandise. San Francisco is the place to discover the best locally made fashion, art, food, drink, and home goods. The city has a number of unique maker-focused events, where you can meet the talented artisans and entrepreneurs behind some of the city's most admired products, designs and brands.
Here are a few of our top bespoke picks to get you started:
Levi's (815 Market St.)
Many people make blue jeans, but Levi Strauss made the first blue jeans in San Francisco in 1873. Check out Levi’s Made & Crafted, a line that builds on this legacy by using today’s best materials and construction techniques, at Levi’s & Strauss Co. flagship store.
Goorin Bros. (Various locations)
Love hats? Since 1949, Goorin Bros. has been San Francisco’s neighborhood hat shop, with stores at 1612 Stockton Street, 1446 Haight Street, and 111 Geary Street in Union Square.
The Gap (Various locations)
When Doris and Don Fisher opened their first Gap store in 1969, the reason was simple. Don couldn’t find pair of jeans that fit. The Founders of San Francisco–based Gap Inc. not only built an international brand they also amassed one of the world's greatest private collections of contemporary art, now on view at SFMOMA.
For an overview of who’s making what in San Francisco today – from chocolate to wine, from furnitute to bicycles, and from instruments to light fixtures – visit SFMade.org. The nonprofit organization supports local micro-manufacturers. It also provides product and maker listings, plus an event schedule for its workshops, factory tours and pop-up shops.
Timbuktu (Various locations)
Founded in a garage in 1989 by a bike messenger named Rob Honeycutt, Timbuk2 has continuously manufactured its customized messenger bags in the city’s Mission District at 587 Shotwell Street. Shop the factory store or stop by their flagship at 506 Hayes Street.
Mission Bicycle Company (766 Valencia St.)
Mission Bicycle Company was formed in 2008 with a simple premise: to build the most beautiful, practical and customizable bikes on the market. Each custom bike is designed by its rider and then built by hand.
Colleen Mauer Designs (1406 Valencia St.)
San Francisco-based handmade jewelry designer Colleen Mauer specializes in modern, handcrafted, artisan, wire-wrapped and mixed-metal jewelry. Experience her production process and be inspired at her atelier.
San Francisco-based designer Max Gunawan’s fascination with origami led to the creation of his multi-functional modern lamp Lumio. When shut, it masquerades as an elegant hardcover book bound in lasercut wood. When opened, it magically transforms into a sculptural light illuminated by a high-performing LED. Available at SFMOMA Museum Store and other locations citywide.
San Francisco Museum Stores
As you’d expect, some of the most creative offerings by local makers can be found in the city’s museum stores, including San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Contemporary Jewish Museum, The Museum of Craft and Design, the de Young and Legion of Honor Museums.
Creativity Explored (3245 16th St.)
Take in an exhibit, meet the artists, and join San Franciscans in the know who collect art from Creativity Explored, an inspiring gallery and studio where artists with developmental disabilities create and sell their work.
Ferry Building Marketplace (Embarcadero & Market St.)
Located in the historic San Francisco Ferry Building, shops large and small offer everything from artisanal cheeses and the freshest fish to gourmet cookware, tableware, and the finest wines and spirits.
Bring home the spirit of San Francisco by investing in artisans’ unique goods or attending annual insider events like San Francisco Design Week, SF Open Studios and ArtSpan exhibitions and programs. You’ll not only know the origin of your purchase, you often get to know the makers and their stories, too.
To many people, San Francisco is the home to technology innovation. But that isn't the case, we're also the home of innovation in fashion and retail. Here are eight brands that call San Francisco home.
The original San Francsico innovation wasn't Apple, Yahoo! or Facebook. It was blue jeans. When Levi Strauss co-invented the blue jean in 1873, he didn't know that he was creating a global brand that would become known for self-expression and classic American cool.
What if finding the perfect pair of jeans was easy? In 1969, on Ocean Boulevaerd in San Francisco, Don and Doris Fisher set out to solve just that problem and created the Gap. In that quest, Gap has expanded into six brands – Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime, Athleta and INTERMIX.
Born out of playing with her pups in the parks of San Francisco, Susan Gregg found inspiration from the vintage clothing she encountered on a daily basis. Susan believes in a social shopping experience and she actively shares her thoughts on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
Timbuk2 is a San Francisco original bag company that was founded by Rick Honeycutt, a bike messenger, in 1989. The bags have continuously been manufactured in the Mission District ever since.
Another bag-based company in San Francisco, Rickshaw Bagworks, is inspired by the creative energy of the city, urban cycling and an intense desire to make great products. With access to art, theater, music and restaurants, there’s an energy that pulses through the community. They design our bags for people who thrive on the urban experience and celebrate the creative spirit.
Mission Bicycle Company
As the name suggests, they make bicycles in the Mission District. But that's not all.& They build with a simple premise: to build the most beautiful, practical and customizable bikes on the market. Each bike is designed by its rider and then built by hand in San Francisco, CA.
What began in March 2008 at the corner of Taylor and Clay, Taylor Stitch has grown into two brick-and-mortar shops and amassed a huge following for their custom shirts. Every Wednesday morning they release a new collection of products, and each is unique, designed in San Francisco, limited in number and manufactured in California.
One of the few mid-century pottery makers remaining in the U.S., Heath Ceramics is still thriving in San Francisco. You'll find everything from dinnerware to tile and great designs for the tabletop and home. At the center of all of this activity is their new factory where they produce Heath tile daily.