After six months of design and planning, our website was updated last Thursday, Nov. 13. Fresh and shiny, clean and new, it was an effort of which we’re proud. What was interesting about the process, which involved hundreds of photographs and a reworking of all the text around our products, was the way that it really helped us consider what it is that we sell — and why.
It was sort of like moving house. You pick up an object to pack it and often reconsider it; you may have looked at it hundreds of times on the mantel but in preparing for moving day, you really see it. Does it still have value, whether fiscal or emotional? What story does it tell? Do you really need it badly enough to wrap it in paper, place it in a box, move it elsewhere, and then repeat the process backwards?
So while this move was virtual, from one platform to a new one, it helped us meditate on SHED’s vision. In real life, of course, we are a gathering place, a spot to have a coffee, a lunch with friends, a glass of something good at day’s end, a venue for workshops, parties, and music. We’re an outlet for farm-fresh produce and gifts for home and garden, a place to treat yourself and gather with others.
Online, the aroma of freshly-ground coffee and fire-cooked flatbreads, the hum of the retail floor, the scent of flowers, and the laughter from cafe tables doesn’t quite translate. (Perhaps by the time we refresh our website again, that magic will be part of the online process!) What we’re left with is our retail, the old-fashioned business of mercantile, albeit one now showcased in a decidedly new-fashioned way.
SHED’s home, garden, pantry, and gift items share a few common factors. All are chosen for the quality of their craftsmanship, be it a butcher block cutting board, a stainless steel farm tool, or artisanal salt. Our housewares and garden tools are meant to last, to provide durable support for years to come. The design aesthetic must be thoughtfully considered, favoring neither form or function but marrying both neatly. We choose craftspeople, artisans, and companies from the San Francisco Bay Area wherever possible, looking to support our neighbors. SHED products are fashioned in a sustainable manner and favor re-use, smart environmental choices, ecologically friendly packaging, and overall careful stewardship of the planet.
Importantly, each of the goods we purvey has a story — a narrative that describes a family’s work, a tale of challenge and triumph, a smart leap that took a problem and found a solution, a story of legacy well-served. Many of our items are made by hand, ground by hand, farmed by hand, harvested by hand. Real people, many of whom we are proud to know, create most of the merchandise we sell. When we source from larger companies, we again look to those that have legacy, a family story, a burnished history of commitment to quality.
Our hope is that, when you buy from SHED, you know that you are purchasing something made to last, something made to delight, and something made by people who are invested in your satisfaction for years to come. It’s been our pleasure to gather these items with that ethos in mind, and now — an even greater pleasure to share them with you.