San Francisco is a city that is constantly shifting and reshaping itself. It's a place that has always warmly welcomed the gutsy entrepreneur and creative artisan makers of the world.
If you're looking for a city that's inviting to new ideas, then San Francisco is your place. From the Gold Rush to the Summer of Love, the city has always opened its arms to those who are uniquely passionate about discovering and creating. It's no different these days, just look at the tech boom that's launched in its own backyard. But in addition to technology, tons of small but fiercely talented artists and makers love to call San Francisco home, too and we visited a few of our favorites.
Bryr means "to care" in Swedish and every pair of their beautifully made shoes is custom and handmade by founder and designer Isobel Schofield and her small team of talented craftspeople. Inspired by the casual West Coast lifestyle, their clogs are designed on site in your size, silhouette, and color using traditional European wooden bases and high-quality American leather.
Typically, it can take 45-60 days to receive your finished pair of Bryr clogs, but they are most certainly worth the wait. Located in the artsy Dogpatch neighborhood, you can visit Bryr during open studio hours on Fridays noon to 6:30pm and sometimes on Saturdays.
Opened in 2010, this unique bean-to-bar factory is located in the heart of San Francisco's Mission District on the Valencia Street Corridor. In addition to producing high quality, delicious chocolate bars, they have a charming café serving coffee and an array of decadent chocolate desserts made on site. Don’t dare to miss the serve-yourself jar of house-made marshmallows that melt in your mouth. Not only can you enjoy their gourmet goods, you can also book a tour to observe their process: roasting beans, cracking, sorting, winnowing, mélanging, blocking, tempering and wrapping the finished chocolate bars. They've grown so popular they will have a new and larger chocolate factory operating in the Mission by the end of the year.
Founded across the bay in Sausalito, California Heath Ceramics produces highly sought-after beautiful handcrafted ceramic dinnerware collections for homes, restaurants, and hotels -- and they now produce tiles, too. Heath has been in the bay area since 1948. In recent years, they have opened retail shops in San Francisco— one at the Ferry Building and they've since expanded to include a location in the Mission District. Built in 2012, the location in the Mission includes a beautiful showroom, a tile factory, gallery and artist studios, as well as a Blue Bottle Coffee kiosk. Their Sausalito studio still produces all the dinnerware, while the Mission location produces all their gorgeous tile. You can book a tour at both factory locations, giving you an intimate peek inside both ceramic studios, most of which are not accessible to the general public.
Joshu + Vela design practical and quality canvas and leather utility bags and accessories exploring the harmony of style and function. They build all of their bags to last, with the intention that they grow more and more beautiful with age and wear. Each piece is handmade with a lot of attention to the smallest detail in their San Francisco Mission District design studio. Designer Noah Guy and his team began designing bags in 2001, with a passion to create quality products with enduring design. You can pop into their trade shop in the Mission, which includes the studio and a showroom where you can see all the products and witness how they are made. This is a small-team, small-batch production process and only the best materials and care go into every item. Their line of products continues to expand, now including the recent launch of aprons, knife rolls and other utility pieces for foodies.
Meet the freshest, purest, creamiest ice cream all made-to-order just for you. The coolest thing about Smitten is they have mastered the process of making the freshest ice cream possible using quality ingredients, and simple recipes. They create each batch right in front of your very eyes. Using new technology and liquid nitrogen, Founder Robyn Sue Fisher discovered she could freeze ice cream at super low temps faster and create a smoother ice cream made-to-order in something that looks a little bit like a mad scientist lab. Since she uses locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, only a few yummy flavors are offered daily. The original location, featured in these photos, is a converted shipping container in Hayes Valley. Smitten has since expanded to more locations around the Bay Area. Oh, and look for new boozy flavors on the menu to celebrate summer.