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En Route: Mill Mercantile

Mill Mercantile

Visit:  3751 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94114

Story by Rachel Schwartzmann – Shop Mill Mercantile – Photos by Melissa de Mata for The Style Line

Known for fostering

innovation across a myriad of industries, San Francisco has become a destination for creative refuge. We’ve been spending some time getting to know the city’s small business community and culture and have found no shortage of inspiration at every turn. Enter Mill Mercantile, a rising style authority in the quaint Noe Valley neighborhood. Having first stumbled across this gem in the Spring we found ourselves in awe of the shop’s impeccable curation, which features an even mix of established contemporary designers and emerging talent.

With a penchant for craftsmanship and crisp design, the shop’s dream-team Michele Janezic and Janine Faust attribute their unique sartorial point of view to infusing a sense of leadership (discovering what’s next, while celebrating staple pieces) that extends to all aspects of their business. As they put it in our interview below, “When Mill first opened it was very much a destination place and the first shop of its kind in the neighborhood. Mill has helped folks around the bay area become familiar with a quaint and special area of the city.” Building on our passion for discovery we sat down with Michele and Janine who shared more on their background and further insight into the inception of Mill – read on to find out what makes this local haven so special.

*THIS STORY WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN NOVEMBER 2015 AND REFLECTS UPDATED CHANGES TO THE LAYOUT AND INTRODUCTION

Hi! I’m Michele Janezic.

I love dreaming, exploring and meeting new people. My favorite moments are in nature, at a museum or a show, a spontaneous dance party, watching an inspiring film or taking a nap. I have a strong interest in documenting my adventures through photography and value authenticity, spontaneity, kindness, laughter, and love.

What has been one of the biggest things you’ve discovered about yourself and your style as a result of your experience with MILL?

Mill has helped me create and curate a foundation of classics. I have an increased interest in comfort and quality and am drawn to pieces that fit well, a lower heel height and a wardrobe to build upon.

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Walk us through the shop. What is the first element, nook, part of MILL that you hope we see first and why?

First and foremost, my hope is that you feel warmly welcomed into the space. Secondly, that you’re inspired by the selection of products. The interior of the space is clean and modern with a lot of represented categories – apparel, denim, shoes, jewelry, accessories, apothecary and home. Each category has its own space and it’s our hope that you take your time to absorb and explore each area.

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?

I love making real connections and respond well to those who skip the superficial and ask deeper and more thought provoking questions.

“Mill has helped me create and curate a foundation of classics. I have an increased interest in comfort and quality and am drawn to pieces that fit well, a lower heel height and a wardrobe to build upon.”

Hi! I’m Janine Faust.

Graduating in apparel design and spending my career between Los Angeles and San Francisco designing and leading large design teams, it is fun to be on the retail side now interacting in real time with real people. Being the Creative Director and Manager of Mill Mercantile allows me the freedom to create a special product, influence style and collaborate with a great team of people as well as the customer. I was raised in Colorado and have a love of the outdoors which is why the San Francisco Bay Area suits my lifestyle so well.  So much diversity in such a small area between the beach and the mountains! Some of my favorite things to do outside are hiking (so many trails to choose from) and skiing. I also love to cook and sew when I have time. But what I really value most is family and friendships. Exercising and spending time with people I love brings me balance and happiness.

No matter what city you find yourself in what aspect of life and style in San Francisco will you always carry with you?

To be true to me, not to try too hard, and to wear and do what feels best to me.

What tools or resources would you suggest aspiring shop-owners utilize in their own endeavors?

The best tool is networking! Really reach out to people in the industry and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Make sure that you set yourself up to meet your customer’s needs. Having the right merchandise assortment and flawless customer service along with a strong social media presence is the 3 key ingredients.

Talk to us about the neighborhood. How do you think it contributes to the MILL shopping experience and in turn, what do you hope MILL brings to this area of SF?

Noe Valley is a neighborhood that is changing and growing rapidly!  There is an eclectic mix of people between established, long time residents to young new families. Everyone is friendly and we have built a clientele that likes to swing by frequently and shop around with or without their child in tow. We have been able to support local artists and love sharing “made in San Francisco” with the community. When Mill first opened it was very much a destination place and the first shop of its kind in the neighborhood.

Mill has helped folks around the bay area become familiar with a quaint and special area of the city.  The weather is great and the location is fun, you can walk a few blocks either direction to discover new eateries and shops that are opening up frequently.  Our Men’s store Unionmade (the founder of Mill) is in the Castro and the Unionmade customer constantly brings new people in.  We have lots of men coming to buy for their favorite gals!

“We have been able to support local artists and love sharing “made in San Francisco” with the community. When Mill first opened it was very much a destination place and the first shop of its kind in the neighborhood.”