PART 2: LOCALMOTIV’S Take
Oo La La… Oakland. Oftentimes, when we casually explore the local shopping scene in Oakland, we think that we could just as easily be in a European city or town. Indeed, this feeling usually arises as we walk The Town and just turn onto a street for no good reason. And, there before us appear some remarkable little local shops run by owners that radiate warmth and authenticity. It’s the kind of experience you might expect to find in Seville or Paris–but Oakland?
It happens a lot though. We are lucky to have a group of intrepid entrepreneurs here in Oakland. One of these true originals is Tracey Friley. She owns Oo La La Gifts & Accessories Lounge on 17th Street. She’s a one-of-a-kind that can regale you with stories about life or her eleven years on 17th–or what the locals call Channel 17. A lot happens on this little uptown strip and she’s got the storytelling chops. No matter what you talk about, the interaction just feels a little European but also, ever so Oakland.
And the shop is exactly what you might imagine a small gift and accessories lounge would look and feel like in Paris. First, you will marvel at the vast quantity of products. Curiously, each is lovingly and skillfully merchandised in the completely organized chaos. It makes for intriguing browsing: Apothecary products, clothes, scarves, shoes, hats, bags, lamps, jewelry, handmade leather goods, soaps, socks, artwork, and lots of curios. It’s an eclectic and inspired selection, to say the least.
There is definitely a vein of an Ode to Paris in the shop but it is really a symphony of beautiful things. Perhaps it’s Tracey’s sourcing technique: She buys things that bring her joy. And, if her heart doesn’t flutter for an item, then she will not be selling it at Oo La La.
But what we happily discovered is there’s really a stream of delight that trickles through the entire buying and selling process. It starts with Tracey’s joy at the find. That feeling returns as she displays it on the shop floor. Then a customer gets a little sparkle in their eyes and happily buys it. Finally, the customer goes home and, hopefully, enjoys that little purchase for a very long time to come.
So we ask: Is this Oakland or Paris? Well, it’s Oakland. And let’s hope Oakland stays this way.
More About Oo La La
Part 1: A Fantastic Negrito Story, click here.
What they offer: A love of all gifts and accessories! This shop is an ode to owner, Tracey’s love of shopping. If the item gives her a happy feeling then it will end up in Oo La La. Visit if you want to take in some beautiful shop local vibes and spoil yourself or someone special in your life. A proudly black owned business!
Address: 386 17th St, Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 393-9300
Neighborhood: Downtown Oakland, Uptown Oakland