THE URBAN BURP
by Lisa Solomon
I love living in the Bay Area and I really wanted to focus on the city I live in – Oakland. I think of Oakland as an underrated city. As much as I adore San Francisco I'm very happy that my husband and I have made Oakland our home. That said... I want to kick the week off a post about a gem of a fabric store in San Francisco. The rest of the week will be devoted to places I love in Oakland. And really I could write weeks and weeks of posts on all the great stores, galleries, cafes, restaurants, etc. in my home city.
When Kim [from the blog True Up some of the photos are hers] came to visit we spent a day perusing as many fabric stores as we could. I think we both were incredibly happy to find Urban Burp. Urban Burp is an amazing resource for vintage fabric. Hands down it is the biggest collection I've seen in one place especially of barkcloth. Electra the owner of the shop is incredibly knowledgeable and nice to boot! If you have a hankering for vintage fabric [in excellent condition] then this is a place you MUST visit. Her prices are very reasonable. Kim and I both walked out with much more than we "needed" - including my new favorite fabric a 1930's piece:
Electra was kind enough to answer a few questions about her lovely shop:
Why did you start Urban Burp? And what's in the name?
How it started was I designed and managed the project for my husband's salon (Sync Salon) next door. During that time there was approximately 800 square feet left over. Well as much as I hate to admit it Lisa, I'm getting older and lugging those 70 to 100 lb bags around to the vintage shows for all the vintage fabric lovers was starting to show it's wear. So, the Universe handed me the means to supply all my favorite customers much more of what I had, in one place, more often.
Throughout my travels of shows I inevitably experienced someone exclaiming how this brought up and out an old memory of the past. Hence the "burp or burp moment". It's not a physical burp but a mental or memorable one. Mostly positive but once in awhile ghastly. The best burp I had from a client was at the Modernism Show in Palm Springs where this lady went by my
booth, jerked her neck around after having past and rushed toward me exclaiming "THAT FABRIC, THAT FABRIC" well she
startled me and I had to ask, what about it. She remarked that when her son was six she had made curtains for his bedroom with the identical fabric. The content was of knights and damsels in distress on horses etc. Well, I thought that was the end of the story until she told me he ended up becoming a Medeival Historian. Isn't that just a great burp story!!!!
What sparked your interest in vintage fabric? And where are some of the crazy places you've gone to source your finds? [if you don¹t mind telling us]
Ya know early on in public school in Boston (I think it was as early as 3rd grade) they started you on a sewing machine (treadle) in Home Economics. and I have in some way been involved in the "rag" way of life ever since. Both my Ma and Auntie made my clothes or were involved in sewing. After High School I went to College for interior design and decor and later in my life I sold apparel and had my own clothing store where I made and imported clothes from Bali.
I've been all around the United States, England, Germany, Italy, Mexico for fabrics. For my retro prints Heimtextile is great for
French and Spanish as well as the other countries already mentioned. I'm just starting to get involved with the Ethnic textiles. My most favorite periods are 50's and 60's.
Does urban burp do more than just sell vintage fabrics? And if so what?
I offer upholstery and drapery services as well as full Home Decor and Soft goods. My niche is 1920's to 70's and beyond. I
also carry retro, and contemporary but it usually appears to fit in within the Epochs mentioned. You know designs for hundreds of years have been taken from older periods of time and used for current fashion. Hopefully, I will be starting
upholstery classes for small projects as well as pattern making, sewing and knitting 101 and more. I will need more help for these projects.
Any thoughts/tips on owning and running your own business?
Don't come work for me! Right now it's pretty tough. I have to thank everyone passionately for all the support given me. Thanks so much. I couldn't have picked the worse time. I started my husband's project Summer of 2007. Who knew it would turn out this way. Please, a shout out to all you fabric lovers and beyond please . . . . VOTE! Otherwise, I don't know how much longer I will be around.
What inspires you?
Compassion, creativity, education, Love of Life and people, determination and purpose, loyalty, good food and wine . . . . . . .
Dancing pro or con?
Dancing, absolutely. I've always hated the gym and always just danced but lately since I've opened this store I haven't had
time. Maybe I need to get to the gym, HAH!
Hug or handshake?
Both. They both involve a connection, eye contact and affirmation of whom is in front of you.
What did you have for dinner last night?
Crock Pot and salad. My husband's the cook but I can make a mean pasta sauce and lasagna.
Anything else we should know about you and your store???
Come find out first hand. There's always more than the first impression. Oh, I almost forgot. I will have a website up hopefully before Xmas - urbanburp.com
170 Columbus Ave
(between Jackson St & Kearny St)
San Francisco, CA 94133
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