It must run in the family. Chip Wilson founded Lululemon; now his wife, Shannon, and son, J.J., are jumping into the apparel business as well. The duo recently launched Kit and Ace, and their first San Francisco boutique opened on Fillmore Street in January.
The company is quick to point out that Kit and Ace is not an athletic company like Lululemon. Instead, it offers contemporary, luxury street apparel. And what exactly makes street apparel luxurious? Cashmere. But washable cashmere.
The motivation for Kit and Ace came from Shannon, whom a company spokeswoman describes as living “a full-contact life.” Shannon needed clothes she could wear all day long — comfortable, high quality, yet easy to care for. But according to Shannon, there was nothing like this on the market.
So she and J.J. started researching how they could design clothes that filled this need. But they soon realized that they needed to start even more basic — with a new kind of fabric. So they created what they call a “technical” fabric, a cashmere-blend that stretches and moves with the body and is machine washable. Every garment produced by the company is made from this technical fabric.
The Fillmore Street shop offers apparel for both women and men. The tops are the best sellers, but the undergarments are surprisingly gaining popularity, too. The company says the average price point is $88.
The San Francisco store was the second U.S. location to open, just behind Manhattan. The company plans to open 50 stores globally this year (3108 Fillmore Street, 844-548-6223, kitandace.com).
A new French bakery — La Panotiq — has opened up on Chestnut Street, and the idea for it all started with a croissant. The owner, Maria Guterman, loves to travel Europe and found herself spending more time in cafes than at tourist sites. “Food is a big component for me, especially bakeries and cafes,” said Maria. “Five to six visits to a cafe per day isn’t unheard of.”
But Maria was always disappointed when she returned home to the Bay Area. She said the pastries at cafes here — especially the croissants — just don’t stack up to the French ones. So she decided to do something about it.
Maria went back to France, hired a chef to develop recipes for her, returned home, and opened the first La Panotiq in Campbell. The Chestnut Street location followed a few months later.
La Panotiq’s menu boasts a bevy of pastries and desserts from croissants to lemon tartlets to bread pudding. But customers can also grab lunch — freshly baked bread is used to create French-style sandwiches, and there are also salads and savory dishes like ratatouille. The coffee is from Oakland-based Bicycle Coffee Company.
The vibe inside La Panotiq is meant to feel European: The food is brought to the table, real silverware is used, and French music fills the air. “The goal is to get the customer to forget about their day and get lost in the moment,” said Maria.
And more customers will have a chance to do just that — new locations are opening across the Bay Area this year, including one in Noe Valley (2234 Chestnut Street, 415-525-3607, lapanotiq.com).
For a less indulgent meal, check out Urban Remedy on Union Street, founded by Neka Pasquale, an acupuncturist, herbalist, and certified Chinese nutritionist. Neka combined her specialties to create a line of raw, ready-to-eat meals and cold-pressed juices. Her philosophy is that food is healing, and a healthful diet results in vibrant health.
For a quick detox and wellness reboot, Urban Remedy offers a handful of juice cleanses. Customers can try out a one-day cleanse, or commit to up to 30 days. Additional perks can be weight loss and energy boosts.
But what sets Urban Remedy apart from other juice shops is its menu. Customers can grab to-go salads from the shredded kale salad to the Mediterranean quinoa to the popular veggie pad Thai. Snacks include kale chips and “no oatmeal” cookies. And customers can even satisfy their sweet tooth — Urban Remedy offers a handful of desserts (like tiramisu and cheesecake) made with dairy-free ingredients and low glycemic sweeteners like coconut sugar.
Urban Remedy sources its ingredients from local, organic farmers, and its products are produced at a facility in Richmond.
And for consumers influenced by celebrities, they’ll enjoy knowing that Cindy Crawford is an Urban Remedy partner and brand ambassador (1957 Union Street, 415-801-2363, urbanremedy.com).
Lil’ Starz, a kids’ clothing and toy store on Fillmore, is closing its doors after opening last July. The Marina Times tried to reach the owner to learn why, but we were unsuccessful. A sales clerk said customer traffic simply wasn’t what they expected it to be (3024 Fillmore Street, 415-577-6532).