If you’ve shopped for designer duds or handcrafted antique jewelry in the last 20 years, chances are you’ve run into Sheri Evans or Trina Papini.
The women ran San Francisco’s beloved boutique, Metier
, which that closed after nearly two decades downtown. However, online sales of the pair's hand-selected, antique finds increased and trunk shows remained successful, leading the ladies to reopen as a jewelry-only locale last month in Hayes Valley.
We stopped into the new boutique recently and found a cozy space that carries art, décor from local artisans, and glass cases filled with sparkles.
“Our catchphrase is ‘heirlooms for a new age’,” Sheri told us. She and longtime confidant and partner Trina have become known
as accessorizing experts for their keen eye on the unique and original. After taking a sneak peek at their selection, we got to talking about Hayes Valley, their jewelry, and finding solace in a new space.
How did you get started?
Sheri:" I had a clothing and jewelry store for 20 years, also named Metier. Trina and I worked together for 18 years; she did the buying and merchandising at the original location."
Trina: "I always wanted to move to San Francisco. I was 18 and working at the Gap. As soon as I settled in the city, I looked for something permanent. This was before Craigslist, so I was scanning the newspaper for jobs and saw a beautiful ad in the Chronicle Sunday Magazine for Metier. I clipped it and kept it. I just thought it was the most beautiful place ever ... I kept coming back."
You went from being a high-end retailer of designer clothing to just selling jewelry. Why the change?
Sheri: "For years we talked about doing a separate jewelry store. We had so many clients that bought both jewelry and clothing from us, but jewelry tends to be really time-consuming. People want jewelry with a story, they want to know about the stones and metals, and how things are crafted.
"Everyone wants things that are a little different; that one-of-a-kind thing is a huge business. Almost all of the jewelry we carry now had a huge following at our old location, but we have a wider selection. We carry Estate Jewelry, Arielle de Pinto, Gillian Conroy, Variance Objects, and Zero Maria Cornejo. We also carry scarves by Epice, Martha Davis and Ryan Roche, pottery by Adrienne George, and found art."
You went from Union Square to Hayes Valley. Why the change?
Sheri: "We’ve thought about Hayes Valley for a long time. It’s so centrally located and since our clients are all over the Bay Area, we knew it’d be easy to get to. When you’ve worked in retail forever, you know everyone. When we finally decided to move, we called everybody in the neighborhood to let them know we were coming."
Trina: "It’s a great neighborhood for the day; it doesn’t just feel like one of those neighborhoods that only come alive at night. When customers [at our old shop] would ask us where to go and explore, we always sent them to Hayes Valley—it’s sort of funny that we ended up here. There are also a lot of women-owned businesses in the area: Birch, Dish, Azalea
, Gimme Shoes. Hayes Valley has a ton of really strong, cool women in the area and we knew it’d be a perfect fit."
Trina (left) and Sheri (right). Photo: Meaghan Clark/Hoodline.
How do you find the jewelry?
Trina: "We’ve had the same antique dealer for 20 years. This woman travels to Europe and we’ve built a great relationship with her. We also follow the latest trends and we’re obsessed with fashion, so we try to buy with an eye on the pulse of today’s trends.
"Customers have stayed with us and become our family. The jewelry they buy from us is timeless and sentimental, and customers return because they’ve built a history with us."
You say you’re attracted to unique designers – who are some of your personal favorites?
Sheri: "Isabel Marant, Rand & Statler, Wasteland, Mercy Vintage, and Neighbor."
Trina: "It’s been fun to grow with different designers, including Ariel De Pinto and Variance Objects, who is from Santa Cruz and is a little rough but you can tell it’s unique, and Ryan Roche who’s a friend and has a knitwear line that we’ll be carrying soon. I also love Zero + Maria Cornejo, Phillip Lim, Podolls, and Freda Salvador."
Do you host parties or events?
Sheri: "I’ve always done trunk shows with different designers. Our clients love to meet the artist and hear their story. [Before we opened in Hayes Valley], we set up a temporary salon in my living room. We also hosted several pop-ups in Hayes Valley and Russian Hill that were hugely successful, as successful as any trunk show at the old Metier. People still want our eye; they want our style."
From your trips to New York Fashion Week, it seems like you love to explore and eat. What are your favorite places to indulge in the city?
Sheri: "We always send people to Bar Jules. Reliquary has got a cool vibe, Alla Prima for gifts, and of course Gimme Shoes."
Visit Metier at 546 Laguna Street or call for special appointments at (415) 590-2998.