Retail Therapy: {The Podolls, San Francisco}

I first learned of The Podolls, the clothing line created by husband and wife design duo Lauren and Josh Podoll, not long after arriving in San Francisco. At the time, their designs – both their hand-designed fabrics and clothing made out of said fabric – were entirely online. But I was immediately smitten. This is my kind of style – oversized tunics, cozy sweaters, super soft tees all in a nice neutral color palette. So when they opened their first boutique in Burlingame I knew I’d love the brand personified and they certainly didn’t disappoint. And now they’ve gone one step further – opening a second shop in Noe Valley! We made an immediate beeline to the perfectly curated and beautifully designed space. From custom displays (made by Josh no less!), and an in-store playhouse – Lauren and Josh have outdone themselves with this space – and I couldn’t be happier for them – and for my closet!

We sat down to pick Lauren’s brain about her passion for fashion, launching a fashion line and how she balances work and family life.


The Birth of Josh + Lauren + The Podolls

Josh and I met in 2003 when I was a buyer for ab fits here in San Francisco. I had been working in the fashion world for about three years and loved buying, but secretly always wanted to design! When I met Josh, he was making t-shirts with silkscreened artwork and I bought some to carry in the store. Six months later we had our first date and immediately started brainstorming about new designs and working together. We grew the collection over time and educated ourselves about textiles, pattern making, and production. We’ve maintained our commitment to using organic and natural fibers while we’ve expanded the array of styles well beyond the original graphic tees. The line has always been sewn locally and we’re very proud of that.


Shopping In The Store + Highlighting Other Artisans

We have been fortunate to partner with some wonderful retail stores, including local favorites like MAC (Modern Appealing Clothing) and dish, and yet we always dreamed of having our own retail store for our brand. The process of opening a store and running it day-to-day has brought me full circle back to the days of working at ab fits and I’m grateful for those years of experience. The Podolls retail stores showcase our collection along with the work of independent designers we admire and who complement our line. We don’t specialize in denim or accessories so, each season, I curate pieces around our collection from the lines we sell. Over the years we’ve met so many talented designers and artisans at the trade shows we attend so it was easy to select from makers we admire.

PodollsSelects (4 of 15)podolls-2podolls-10podolls-6

We designed a hangtag for items we sell in the stores that are not our label and we explain on there why we chose the item— possible categories are: made in the USA, artisanal production, natural fibers, recycled, locally produced, family-run business, philanthropic, and fair wage labor. Everything we sell hits at least one of those distinctions. Some of our favorite lines for women are: Ryan Roche, Micaela Greg, Closed Denim, Freda Salvador, Martiniano, Ampersand as Apostrophe, Marisa Mason, Reinhard Plank and Ariel Clute. We also have a children’s area of the store for our podots line as well as Bobo Choses, Mini Rodini, Cabbages & Kings and Mini & Maximus.

Right now, I’m spending a lot of time on the floor of the new SF location as we acclimate to the area and meet new customers. I love meeting new clients and introducing them to our line. The personal interactions inherent to brick and mortar retail are a big reason we opened the stores; you just can’t get that sort of intimate exchange when shopping online!


On Professional and Personal Balance

In terms of balancing professional and personal, I just try my best at it every day. Our son is in preschool now so we have a big chunk of the day to dedicate solely to work. Then we try to put all our attention on him in the early mornings and evenings. We love morning family dance parties and reading stories in the evening. When I prioritize my yoga practice, the days and weeks are much smoother—it’s so important to find those minutes for tuning in and turning off the mind. I have also found that becoming a mother has made me more efficient— I no longer have the luxury of over thinking things so I repeat the phrase ‘Done is Better than Perfect’. That’s a good one for all of us with perfectionistic tendencies.


Lauren’s Final Words of Advice

Cultivate experiences. Don’t settle. Strive towards your dream job. Realize that your work is your life so enjoy it.

Curious about the lovely design choices in the space? They’re just so gorgeous, especially in person!

Lauren tells all: the cash wrap/jewelry display case was made by Danny Montoya of Key & Kite, the playhouse was made for us by Jay Nelson {with indigo dyed curtains by Matt of Flint Outdoors!}, the maple and concrete chandelier was made by our LA based friends Airi and Ryan of wrk-shp and the built in cabinets, shelves and dovetail walnut bench were made by Josh. We wanted to create another light and open space like we enjoy at the Burlingame location so we painted the walls white and bleached and tinted the wood floors for a calm Scandinavian feeling!

Needless to say, it all came together perfectly! Check out the brand spanking new The Podolls San Francisco space in Noe Valley at 3985 24th Street!

original photography for apartment 34 by Charles Redding

A Pregnancy Beauty Secret Revealed!

With literally only days until our kid is scheduled to make his appearance {days people!}, I’ve been reflecting about the experience of being pregnant a bit. Having had what can only be described as a really smooth ride, I feel pretty lucky. But there were a few unexpected surprises along the way. One that I found particularly amazing is just how much water you have to consume! You seriously become like a camel. Even when downing three or more liters a day, I’ve never been so dry! Think cracked lips, dry mouth, scaly skin – the works. The little bugger really sucks it out of you – literally! So if I were to create a mama-to-be survival kit for all you other pregnant or possibly pregnant ladies out there, these five things would be on the tippy top of my list!


#1: Water {obvi!}. Have a water bottle at your side at all times. And every time it empties get up from where ever you are and fill it again. If you have headache, drink water. If you feel lethargic, drink water. Yes, you’ll be running to the bathroom every hour on the hour, but your body, your skin and overall sense of well-being will thank you.


#2 Water-filled food. Try adding in as many water-filled and fibrous fruits to your diet as you can. Cucumbers, berries, applies, bok choy, celery – keep ‘em at your fingertips and snack away. You can also use those berries to flavor your water!


#3. Tea Time. Yes, you will get sick of guzzling water so switch it with tea. There are a ton of delicious and beneficial teas for expectant mamas. I’ve particularly loved one that helped me combat heartburn, but you can find ones that help you relax, ones that boost your energy or just generally support the health needs of a mama-to-be. A nice cup of tea is a relaxing way to start and end your day and it gives you a couple more servings of precious fluids!


#4 Pretty pout. Your lips are likely to be constantly dry so find a fabulous lip balm. Buy ‘em in bulk. You’ll be slathering it on day and night and trust me, your lips will thank you.


#5 Reinforcements. No matter how much water you drink, you’re going to need a major moisture boost. Thankfully Skinfix can come to your rescue. Created with 150 year old recipe that was passed down through generations of pharmacists, this lotion packs a serious punch for your skin. And most importantly it has no parabens, no phthalates, steroids or added fragrance – super important to me as I really tried to stick with natural products throughout my pregnancy. Every morning after the shower and every night before bed I’ve been giving my skin an extra moisture boost like this – and no stretch marks thus far!

With all of these tools at my disposal, I’ve been able to keep my skin feeling and looking good for the past 10 months {did you know you’re actually pregnant for 10 months, not nine!}. Now I just have to keep my water-filled beauty routine going once our kid arrives. I know my skin is only going to continue to reap the benefits!

photography and art direction by erin hiemstra

This post in partnership with Skinfix. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting collaborations that we’re excited about and that keep Apartment 34’s doors open!

Trusted for generations, Skinfix’s award-winning products ensure head to toe happy and moisturized skin. Available exclusively at Target.

Pretty in Pastel!

Last year everyone was ob-sessed with the innocently sweet color: blush pink – in winter, in fall, it didn’t matter, the crowd-pleasing pastel was all anyone was talking about, ourselves included {check this post!}. But this spring, baby blue is back, paving the way for this season’s soft color trend and we’re loving it everywhere from decor details to major fashion statements!


Convinced of the power of pastels as much as we are? I mean, just look at that pastel blue suede sofa! Take it from that chic French family or the Celine runway or that epic Australian home, you’ll want to add this pretty hue to your life asap!



> 1. Heather Day Painting “Rain In Your Hands”
> 2. Fujifilm Instax Mini Camera
> 3. Aalto Stool in Light-Blue-Honey
> 4. Suede Cowboy Boots
> 5. Iro Ashville Leather Biker Jacket
> 6. Bottle Grinder Spice Mill Set
> 7. Indigo Dyed Batik
> 8. Kyanite Necklace
> 9. Hudson Tote


image 1 via Janis Nicolay // 2 via Vogue // 3 via Sviatchenko // 4 via Broste Copenhagen // 5 via Trendland from AnOther Magazine // 6 via Est Magazine // 7 via The Haute Pursuit // 8 via Yatzer from The Chamber of Curiosity