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_DSC0737-2-Edit Bluebird Mercantile items
Bluebird Mercantile’s many items, from handcrafted clothing to books, ceramics and gift items

Bluebird Mercantile offers a new kind of shopping experience in Laguna Beach.

By Ashley Breeding

 

Bluebird Mercantile is curated the same way its founder, Amii Schenk, says a beautiful home or wardrobe should be: “with well-made pieces that are a mix of new and vintage.”

The 1,600-square-foot store, which held its grand opening Dec. 2 in the former Vertigo Home space at 1550 S. Coast Highway, is a shop-within-a-shop that features around 11 different vendors (or “partners”) and consigners from Laguna to Yucca Valley and beyond. Inspired by similar concepts she visited in Palm Springs, Schenk says she loves the idea of being able to browse “a little of this, a little of that” in one place. Here, you’ll find everything from handcrafted clothing, furniture and ceramics to novelty gifts and garden items.

A background in retail—Schenk also opened both Little Bohemian boutiques and the Neighborhood Laguna hat store, though she has since sold all three—and an affinity for travel helped her realize the vision for what she says customers have likened to a miniature American Rag Cie or Fred Segal. “My managers, Nika Shalala and Carol Gonzalez, are also an integral part of building our [brand],” she says. “The three of us have very different tastes, so we’ve had fun bringing those together.” Here, Schenk takes us on a brief tour of the new shop.

_DSC0706-Edit Amii Schenk Bluebird Mercantile
Amii Schenk, founder of the new Bluebird Mercantile

Laguna Beach Magazine: How do you select your partners?

Amii Schenk: Many we’ve discovered, but a few have come to us. Some rent an entire space they [set up with merchandise] themselves while others—like Found Rental, who made these beautiful chairs and marble tables—consign a small collection at a time. We also curate clothing and home pieces ourselves.

 

LBM: What are some of the hot sellers?

AS: Rachiel Macalistaire’s vintage clothing, which changes themes every month, is flying off the rack. Takuya’s hand-dyed bandana balloon pants are a big hit. Super Ready’s unisex army pants and cadette pants—he rips open the side seam and puts in a red piping—are selling like crazy. … People are also obsessed with the vintage Levi’s he curates in all the best colorways. Mary McDonald’s colorful ceramics [from Double M Pottery]. Karen Capuciati’s ethnic-influenced pottery. Towne Palm Springs’ elevated menswear. We convinced Vertigo Home, now otherwise exclusively online, to have a wall here. … The candles and Izipizi reading glasses are super popular. We also potted several plants—ficus, monstera, dracaena—that have sold out, oddly enough.

 

LBM: Is the art for sale?

AS: Jim Olarte, a local macrame craftsman, created some of these gorgeous hanging installations—like the front window display—for us. Other pieces, like the macrame-wrapped driftwood mounted on the wall above the bar, are [also] for sale. We also have photographs and paintings for sale from Mex Direct, which offers rare imports from Oaxaca and Guadalajara. One of our favorite items from them is custom-painted tiles.

_DSC0689-Edit-Edit Bluebird Mercantile
Home goods at Bluebird Mercantile, such as plates, bowls, pillows and baskets

LBM: What community events do you envision for the mercantile?

AS: We’re always dreaming up new ideas that’ll bring the community together here. Coming up, we’re hosting a trunk show for A Friend Made, which sources vintage Levi’s you can custom design with ikat fabrics. It was started by [Lagunans] Matthew and Amy Corin. We also carry their Denim Dungaree collection for kids, which is under their other label, A Friend Found. A big vintage market and Champagne sip-and-shop events are also underway.

 

LBM: Where can we learn about your new items and engagements?

AS: Follow our stories on Instagram at @bluebirdmercantileLB.

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