Walking into Picnic, at 1808 Polk Street in San Francisco, is like walking around a trendy flea market. With everything from clothes and thank you cards to jewelry and teacups, you can find just about anything at this boutique. My fellow FNA member Nicole Hom and I met up with Jasmine Tan, the owner and buyer of Picnic to find out more about her, the boutique, and how she got started.
Jasmine recalled that she wanted her shoppers to feel like they in their girlfriend’s apartment, with nothing clean or modern. Her vision really shines through; when you walk through the store you feel at ease because of the fun music, quirky decorations, and the friendly atmosphere. Jasmine describes her customer as one of the neighborhood girls who is a single professional in her early 20s to mid 30s. The price range varies from affordable to more expensive with the jewelry being anywhere between $12 to $100 and the dresses from $70 to $300. Aside from the clothing and jewelry, you can also find gift items like perfume, wallets, scarves, stamps, notebooks, calendars, cards, belts, and even a section for men’s and children’s clothing. With her customer in mind, Jasmine put out some “how to wear” articles that she found in magazines next to items that might not be the easiest pieces to wear, such as the tulip skirt. This provides the shopper with a better sense of security that they are wearing their clothes the right way. It’s hard to leave this store without finding something you want to buy!
About Jasmine, the owner and buyer
Jasmine had always been interested in fashion while growing up in the Bay Area. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Advertising from the Art Institute here in San Francisco. She worked in advertising for a while, but then got let go during the dot com layoffs, but this did not discourage her. She worked as a stylist and did photo shoots here and there until she finally decided that she wanted to go out and do something completely new on her own. That is when she decided to open up her own shop and pursue and share her inner love for fashion.
Advice for us
“There is a lot of time hard work involved in opening and running your own business,” says Jasmine. “You have to get your priorities straight and be prepared not to reap any rewards until about two years later.” She explains that a big problem for a lot of people who are starting out is that they tend to overbuy, but over time you get to learn what the fast items are and basically what sells and what doesn’t. She stresses that you should know the price points of your customer because “you may fall in love with a certain item, but if it is marked too high, then no one will buy it.”
Over the years, she has learned that her costume jewelry does best because it is cheap and can be changed out fast. She sells a lot of jewelry with initials on it in various designs, and she told us that those are very popular. Other hot items are scarves and Haven dresses.
My personal favorite was the leather snap bracelet that was made out of men’s vintage belts and the handmade rings from Israel in which each tiny link had been delicately folded to intertwine with the other. There are many beautiful and fun pieces at Picnic, so run over to 1808 Polk Street this weekend and check out what the store has to offer. You can also go online and shop on the website at www.picnicsf.com. Don’t miss this great boutique, you definitely won’t regret it!
By Katie Fish