Expert San Francisco shopper Gina Pell
She scores best buys across the city. See where she goes
Gina Pell is easily the town’s most glamorous Internet executive. As CEO and founder of Splendora ― an online shopping and lifestyle guide to San Francisco, New York, and L.A. ― she’s the ultimate resource for finding a perfect hostess gift or distinctive home accessory.
With wide-ranging tastes, she’s as adept at scoring inexpensive knickknacks for a dinner party as she is at unearthing an heirloom set of Victorian sterling forks. “I like originality, so I haunt small shops, consignment stores, and five-and-dimes,” she says.
Currently, Pell’s obsessions revolve around furnishing a nursery for her first child, due in June. Instead of hitting the usual Union Square department stores, she heads to Clement Street, a bustling multicultural strip in the Inner Richmond with some of the city’s tastiest cheap eats ― from Burmese tea-leaf salad to cabbage-stuffed piroshki.
“Clement Street is the real deal,” Pell says. “It’s one of the best places in town for a little adventure.” It’s also a neighborhood of unexpected shopping finds, such as a family-run fabric store spilling over with bolts of luscious material.
Afterward, Pell does a circuit of Hayes Valley ― formerly a down-and-out enclave in the shadow of the Central Freeway, now a full-fledged boutique paradise. It’s almost impossible to wander the main strip from Franklin Street to Laguna Street without making a purchase, and even a discriminating shopper such as Pell isn’t immune.
But despite all the rarefied wares on display, she’s most captivated by a $22 wooden pig on wheels at the whimsical Scandinavian Details. “Mixing high and low takes a little more creativity,” she says, “but it’s a lot more fun.”