To hear Laleh’s version of their story, it’s so modest and humble. It goes something like this: Laleh and Alessandro had a crazy little dream to leave their corporate jobs to create a venture of their own. As they saw it, they’d apply their skills and passions to their own project. And, more importantly, live their lives in their own community and for their family.
And so it was that Laleh, a graphic designer/photographer, and Alessandro, an architect and furniture designer, formed SOBU. It’s a furniture concept named after their two children. And it started off small enough as a pop-up in old Oakland. Then, it grew a little and moved into a shared retail space on College Ave. Finally, in 2016, they expanded just a little more and completely took over and created their own space–their own shop.
A Dream Come True (with vision, hard work, and risk)
Today, it’s the perfect realization of their goal. Indeed, SOBU has a marvelous collection of furniture and housewares. It’s a showcase of a warm and contemporary take on mid-century modern. Importantly, it’s anchored in Alessandro’s work. He designs and manufactures their SOBU brand right here in Oakland. It’s complemented with an assortment of small, emerging brands made by local and global designers, artisans, and craftspeople.
It’s a Gift to Oakland
First, SOBU provides the perfect antidote to the mass produced mediocrity of national retailers. And they courageously invested in Oakland to produce their brand right here. It proves that there is so much made in Oakland available talent to tap into. Lastly, their success inspires other entrepreneurs to conceive of and launch new businesses.
Indeed, Laleh and Alessandro are a key component of a very fragile trend. And it’s an understatement to say the So Oakland magic that they, and other indies cultivate, needs our help. We need to shop local a little more often. And we must demand that our City of Oakland politicians prioritize and nurture our treasured Indie businesses.
This way, we can ensure that more shops like SOBU open in the not so distant future. It all makes Oakland a better city for all of us.
More About SOBU
What they offer: A beautiful collection of furniture and home decor grounded in a mid-century modern aesthetic with a warm contemporary twist. Lots of local and global makers. High quality. Love of Oakland.
Address: 5451 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618
Phone: (510) 817-4787