One day, I had just finished up some LOCALMOTIV errands and was about to head back to the office—er, home. I was standing at 13th and Webster–which is probably an example of the rough and neglected side of downtown. Coincidentally, it was also my state of mind. But I knew that Maker’s Loft was somewhere nearby. And, it was on the LOCALMOTIV list of shops to visit. At the time, it had only been open for a little over a month and was getting a lot of hype.
Having worked on 13th in my previous life, and being familiar with the area, I wondered who’d (be so crazy to) open a business in this rather downtrodden strip. But on the other hand, I pondered who’d (be so imaginative and courageous to) open a business in this downtrodden strip. You follow?
Brave and Creative
Well, despite my mood, I decided to find out the answer: Rachelle and Xela. And they are indeed crazy, imaginative, courageous, and other adjectives I can’t think of right now. They seemed so young. Indeed, I’d been more accustomed to meeting seasoned corporate veterans who’d dumped their former careers to start their own gig. And their passion, warmth, and energy was seriously contagious (I left feeling uplifted and spent the entire day visiting other merchants).
In short, it’s a must visit hidden gem in plain sight for anybody who craves locally designed and crafted clothes, art, jewelry, home goods, apothecary, makeup, and other delights. Owners Rachelle and Xela source all their goods from local women makers and brands. It is a treasure trove of lovingly made articles by talented artists.
It is worth noting that they take care to offer merchandise at different price points, knowing their clientele have varied economic circumstances. They don’t think local should mean expensive and exclusive.
But, for two reasons, the story is much larger than what they sell in their shop. I cannot say enough about Rachelle and Xela’s passion for hyper-local retail. Consider the positive contribution they make directly into our communities by sourcing local goods from locals. Let’s just say, without getting into boring economic concepts, that the impact is exponential. And it benefits all of us and, in fact, goes beyond monetary rewards.
Indeed, they’re not just circulating wealth through Oakland. They have imagined and built a community space for neighbors and customers to share and enjoy together. As part of that they conduct workshops, dinners, and other events. Like so many local merchants, they see a bigger picture and a larger role for themselves in their neighborhoods to make a positive and authentic impact.
So, if these are the types of projects that the youngsters are going to nurture, bring ‘em on! We need more of this in Oakland and beyond!
More about Maker’s Loft
Address: 308 13TH ST. OAKLAND, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 214-2681
Neighborhood: Downtown Oakland
Some other Indie Merchants in easy walking distance: Beastmode, BOSK, City Bloom Inc., e14 Gallery, E.M. Wolfman Books, Oaklandish, Queen Hippie Gypsy