WHAT WE LOVE: An open studio within a shop to watch artist and shopkeeper, Linda Fahey of Yonder, create her signature ceramics, including our absolute favorite, the wave pattern, inspired by coastal living.
WHERE: The inner Richmond District of San Francisco.
WHO: Artist and ceramicist Linda Fahey, and her faithful companion Obi.
Why did you choose the name Yonder for your shop? I thought of it in the middle of the night. I wanted to call it Hither&Yon, but someone had that url, I thought Yonder was catchy, it is a bit nostalgic, memorable, and suggested something ‘uplifting’, somewhere people want to go – you know “way over yonder”.
What is Yonder best known for? Initially my own ceramics, because it was a small shop and studio when I was in the first, Pacifica, location. When I opened I was working with Anthropologie and selling worldwide and that created recognition for the wave pattern.
Which are the “must have products” in Yonder? Linda Fahey ceramics, Paper & Tea, Katie Gong sculptures, Giselle Hicks ceramics, Colleen Mauer Jewelry, Botnia.
Where are the various products in Yonder from? My ceramics are made in house at the shop, Katie Gong pieces are made in San Francisco and Katie and I just started collaborating on some of her pieces. Paper & Tea is a Berlin Tea maker, it’s currently my absolute favorite! Botnia is made in San Francisco, all of the products in her line are grown in the Bay Area. I personally use it and recommend it! Colleen Mauer makes contemporary modern jewelry in San Francisco – and New York – timeless.
What makes Yonder so unique? I am a constant curator, I like to order small runs of items from artists and makers and change things up to keep the shop fresh and feeling dynamic and interesting. We also have a beautiful studio IN the store.
Who are your customers? My customers come from all over the world, and my neighborhood. We are neighborhood first, meaning, I have a lot of regular customers and they know they can come in any time and find the perfect gift at a range of prices. But we are also a destination shop and people are coming from all over the world, and they see the shop in a different way, it’s a balance to keep it interesting which I love! I’d say the shop age demographic is 25 on.
How has the internet impacted your business? The online promotion, and availability of my work is what built my business in the beginning. My Anthropologie collaborations helped launch my product worldwide and established me and the shop through Pinterest, countless blog posts, and Facebook before the days of Instagram. When Instagram rose to dominate the online visual experience thing really started happening.
Linda Fahey, ceramicist and shopkeeper at Yonder
Who inspires you? Oh gosh, so many people, it’s impossible to name them all. I’d say one of the things I’m energized by is the hunger, energy, and excitement I witness watching new makers getting their work out there, especially when they have a great product. I look at so much work as a buyer, I am thrilled when I see original work, new ideas and all that energy especially these days where we’ve got a dearth of derivative work.
What inspires you? Everything! Again, such a difficult question for me. People, places, nature, flowers, painters, Emilio Vallalba!, the master craftsmen and women through the ages, I love opera, a good book, currently I’m reading Harry Potter – honestly, JK Rowling has an infinite imagination, being out in nature, the park, the ocean, modern architecture, de Gournay, unique interiors, pigments, and fragrance, did I say flowers? I could go on and on.
Before I was a shopkeeper, I…. I had a corporate job and did art on the side, I called it my jobby, more than a hobby. I did that with an emphasis on my art work for 12 – 15 years before becoming a full time artist.
Why motivated you to open Yonder? It was initially necessity, the need former space. I had been working out of my house and I needed a larger more available space open and room to grow. The shop part was a whim, I didn’t want to be a gallery, so me being opportunistic, and thinking I could sell my pieces, but also a range of other goods felt like a fun project. Funny to think of that now.
Did you have prior retail experience? I didn’t! (the funny part).
The hardest lesson learned in starting a business? You can’t do everything! It’s been a big lesson growing into managing people.
Your favorite thing about owning an independent shop? I love the autonomy, I especially love the creativity unique to curating.
Your advice for anyone wanting to open a shop? You need to Love it, hard. It’s a lot of work, it’s like a little baby, it has life to it and needs constant love and care.
If you weren’t a shopkeeper you would be..? I don’t know. Artist, Winemaker, Therapist?
What is your perfect day off in San Francisco? I don’t get many days off, so when I do, I’m usually including a nap in there somewhere. Being an introvert, I really enjoy a long hike with my dogs in the hills or on the beach somewhere away from the crowds. Living on the coast means there are a number of fantastic hikes and beaches to choose from. Lunch or dinner with friends, visit to the local museums, and the leisure to take my time and not rush anywhere. When I’m out and about I like to visit friends shops for a chat, or take a day trip out of town.
What are your favorite shops? The Perish Trust, Rare Device, 3 Fish Studios, Traveller, Morning Tide Shop
What are your five favorite Instagram Accounts? Jim Marsden Photography, MyTinyAtlas, Apartment34, a million ceramic sites, Emilio Vallaba, the modernism hashtag, and of course The Shopkeepers!
Do you have any social media tips? I do think IG is the place to be, and I wish I was better at it, but what I find most important is authenticity is key! Whatever you do, however you do it, make sure it’s real to you, that what you’re saying and showing is something real for you! Be consistent, and honestly, not too polished, show a little of the nitty gritty.
I wish I could… Have a yearly vacation.
ON THE FUTURE OF RETAIL
“I think it’s going to keep going with the lifestyle, experience shops — I think it is important to have an online presence, however, many people find just ordering online a soulless (if convenient) experience, so I do believe they will continue to appreciate the new mom and pop shops!”
701 11th Avenue