Urban Indigo Musings and News

H O M E A B O U T    U SF A QJ O I N  O U R  T E A M

Visit the Shop:

3339 Lakeshore Avenue
Oakland, California 94610

5 1 0 . 4 1 9 . 0 4 5 1
​Kiosk parking on Lakeshore Avenue

S T O R E   H O U R S:
Monday through Friday 11:00 - 6:30 
Saturday, 10am - 6:30
Sunday, 11am - 6pm

Welcome to my blog. You'll find musings about retail and news about what's happening at the shop. Thanks for taking the time to visit.
Warmest regards,

Urban Indigo Musings and News

information the old fashioned way

by Urban Indigo on 02/13/14

Last night while looking at a design magazine I realized how nice it is to sometimes get information the old fashioned way, in print. As I flipped through the pages, there was an absence of relentless online "data mining" noise, watching my eye movements and counting the number of times I read an article or looked at an ad. I could look at an ad and not see ads for that product popping up on every page thereafter. The privacy and quiet felt good. 

Small shops offer that quiet too. It may seem old fashioned and quaint, but for some a relief. 

Party Time at Urban Indigo this Saturday the 26th!

by Urban Indigo on 10/22/13

We're throwing a CreepyAwesome Halloween Party for you this Saturday the 26th! 20% off all merchandise, Champagne, Treats and a surprise gift with purchase. 

Hope to see you there!

Thoughts about owning a business...

by Urban Indigo on 10/13/13

This quote about owning a business comes from Melissa Joy Manning and couldn't be truer. 

Know that your life will change: your friendships, relationships, how you view the world…everything.  When you take charge of your life by forging your own path, a lot of lessons will come forward that you didn’t consider.  In some ways, it’s like a veil lifts in how you see the world.  Remaining true to yourself and your passion will carry you through any unexpected reaction or loss that success may bring to you.

One last remodel this year...

by Urban Indigo on 09/17/13

We're getting ready to do our last remodel of the year in the shop, and this time we're changing up our popular jewelry area and adding a salon table where customers can try on jewelry and be pampered. Yesterday we picked the perfect natural Poplar wood slab for the custom salon table. Natural, unfussy wood brings the beauty of the outdoors to the inside of a retail space. Retail spaces are always works in progress.

Fall is such a beautiful time of year, the sun is a little lower and the light is a little warmer. There's something extra special about the wine country in Fall and I'm looking forward to one more trip to Indian Springs in Calistoga soon, before the holiday excitement kicks into high gear. 

9 years!

by Urban Indigo on 09/10/13

Once upon a time I wished for a job that would never be boring.....and as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for! Joking aside, the past nine years of owning a retail store have been incredibly interesting, rewarding, and yes, never boring. This month we celebrate our ninth year in business. It’s been a wild ride from our beginnings in San Leandro to our current location in Oakland. We’ve been through the Great Recession, two robberies, survived competition from online stores and still we’ve managed to grow every year. Businesses are amazingly resilient!

Mistakes, I’ve made a few (zillion), but always, every day I learn something. This is what makes retail so much fun, its always challenging. Hunting for the latest trend, finding it and maybe even starting one makes it exciting.  Remodeling and designing a new display for the store which will look better and be easier to use for both our customers and our employees is the prize. With retail, the only constant is change. All of this gets me through all of the inevitable “are you kidding me??” moments of owning a business, and pushes the store forward.

Owning a store is a long distance run, not a sprint. Anybody who has owned a business walks down the same well worn path.  It takes time to develop an identity and establish a business. The first five years are just a warm up! Over the years some things get easier, and new challenges come up too. I never thought I would own a store, yet here I am, you never know where your path will lead you and its good to keep an open mind!

Huge thanks goes out to all of our amazing customers who continue to make Urban Indigo thrive.  Looking forward to the next nine years with you!

It takes a great team

by Urban Indigo on 09/04/13

Assembling the right team of people to ensure a store opens seven days a week and functions at the best level is critical to business success. In the beginning of a store’s life a storeowner wears a lot of different hats and this is good because its important to the understanding what everybody will do for you later as you build your team. Lots of people contribute to the success of a store and most important is an understanding family who supports your passion. Other essential team members include a bookkeeper who understands the many facets of retail accounting, can pour it all into QuickBooks and have it all come out balanced at the end of the month. IT partners keep technology current and functioning every day; customer needs are constantly changing and retail technology needs to keep up with it. A business consultant shows you the big picture when you get bogged down with the everyday minutia of running a store. Employees keep the whole thing running and a Human Resources partner makes sure they are taken care of. A visual merchandising designer/builder keeps the store looking contemporary; retail design changes fast and can look dated quickly. As the support team forms, a storeowners job shifts from doing it all to managing it all! 

Finding the right people and making sure they have the right seat on the bus is an art which makes a great team and a great retail store.


Happy Labor Day!

by Urban Indigo on 09/02/13

Happy Labor Day everybody! Today is the unofficial end of summer, but for bay area-ites, its the beginning of Indian summer weather. It also marks the start of holiday planning implementation in the shop with a ramp up of product and staffing. Retail gift stores revolve around the holiday season all year, we're either recovering from the holidays or planning for them! December accounts for a huge percentage of our yearly sales and its the most exciting time of the year for us. 

The next project in the works at the shop is our Day of the Dead window display. This is our favorite window of the year! We're going all out this year and can't wait for you to see it in early October. 

Hope your Labor Day was peaceful.

A Pleasant Surprise

by Urban Indigo on 08/31/13

We just finished doubling the size of our card section at the shop! I have to admit when I first opened the shop I thought our card category would languish from all of the online e-card competition. But then something surprising happened, our card sales kept increasing month to month. More and more artists were getting into the card business and producing amazing creative and beautiful cards. There was a creative explosion of independent small letterpress shops. I've loved letterpress going back to the 80's but back then it was mostly used only for high end business collateral. Now more and more people know about and appreciate letterpress. 

All of the letterpress cards in our shop are lovingly made by hand, one by one. This human touch gives them a lot of soul that a computer screen just can't compete with. A pleasant surprise.

Retail is Detail

by Urban Indigo on 08/28/13

God is in the details - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Retail is 70% of our economy and employs millions of people, yet the business of retail remains a mystery to most people. We buy a product from a maker and then we sell it for a profit. Sounds simple yet so much goes into making sure the right product is in the store at the right time in the right place for our customers. Choosing cute product and ringing it up at the register is only a small part of retail! Behind the scenes is where a lot of the creativity happens and where we balance the science and art of retail. We calculate exactly how much merchandise we need to buy to make our sales goals. We use a sophisticated POS system to look at reports which tell us what is selling and at what price points. Operations people process all of our product and get it ready for the sales floor. We're always designing new displays for our merchandise to keep it fresh for our customers. Every square inch of our sales floor is analyzed and studied. 

Every detail counts!

Keep it simple

by Urban Indigo on 08/27/13

Spent the day at the Northern California Fashion Market yesterday searching for (and finding) great new Fall jewelry and accessories. Holiday parties will be here before you know it and we love to make you the star of the show with that perfect piece of jewelry. This season it's about simple, small and elegant with just a hint of bling. Urban tribal is still a strong look. We're seeing subtle natural colors and small stones mixed in with brushed and matt finished metals. 

As with food, living and fashion, keep it simple.