Store Profile

  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Specialty: Unique housewares, home and personal accessories from around the globe.
  • Price range: ($$) Mid-Range
  • Website: whistlesf.com

Store History

  • Founded: 2013
  • Founded by: Katie Gaertner
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, CA

After much travel to many areas around the globe to attend gift/trade shows, I came to realize that many of my favorite shops' buyers all travel to the same shows and more and more I was seeing many of the same product lines in every shop I frequented. For many people, frequent travel or travel in general is not an option, and why not bring them the wonderful products and designs I saw during my travels that they would not otherwise find or see? I also noticed that American boutiques do not have the play and generous use of color that shops in other countries do. Tying these factors together, I curated a mix of fun and unique products (ceramics, jewelry, scarves, candles, home and personal accessories and gifts) that are not found at any other shops. By networking with friends who travel, contacting artisans and designers I had met over my years of traveling, and leveraging recommendations of both friends and business acquaintances, I was able to put together an assortment that is really fresh - and much different than what you see everywhere else.

The old adage say that "good things come in small packages." In the case of Sunset District newcomer Whistle, those words are an apt description of the shop itself. With goods handpicked from around the world, shop owner Katie puts her experience gained from years of working behind the scenes for retail giants to work on a much smaller, more personal scale.

Name: Whistle

Launch date: Feb 2013

Inspiration for opening: I created Whistle to showcase unique finds from around the globe. Drawing on my experience as a veteran buyer and merchandiser for several of the Bay Area's premier retail establishments, I wanted Whistle's assortment to reflect some of the best in design and handcrafted products from around the world. The shop is an infusion of color and whimsy, containing home and lifestyle products you're not likely to encounter anywhere else.

Merchandise source: Indie designers, artisans and artisan groups from around the globe.

Best selling item: Shopping List Magnet Set from Harrington and Squires in UK.

Your favorite item: Segno Colore Pitcher from P.O.T in Italy.

Favorite store (other than your own): Kiosk in NYC

(Image credits: Kim Lucian)