Finding Retail Success: Shop talk with SF’s Finest Retailers

Vendor Tips with Skue

Giselle Gyalzen, Rare Device owner reveals her approach to curating designers.

“I look for makers who go beyond trends,” says Giselle of Rare Device and points to the signs she looks out for, in our chat series ShopTalk, made in collaboration with our friends at RCF.

Three things Giselle points out are longevity, wholesale readiness and a unique spin on an existing category.

We kicked off the series with by inviting eight top rated retailers to the Renegade Wholesale Market to guide emerging designers through their retail journey.


Wayne Whelan, owner of Therapy shares how Therapy maintains an indie vibe in all 11 stores.

While Therapy has grown quickly in the Bay Area, the founding principles are still the same. “Every employee does a two hour interview with Jing (CEO) and I, where we tell them why we started Therapy and what is important to us.”

Unlike the big dogs in retail who are purely guided by scale and distribution, Wayne cares deeply about makers and growing their business.

The common thread between Giselle and Wayne is their commitment to employees. “We think the customer is always right, but really it’s the employee who puts food on our table,” says Wayne.

“I have eight employees. And Rare Device would not be possible without them,” concurs Giselle.

A good thought for makers as they grow their business, hire new apprentices, and maybe someday open their own shops.

Coming up in the series are deep insights from Acacia, Digital Fix, Marion and Rose, SFMOMA, Makers and Moss who touch on a variety of topics like “The Future of Indie Retail” and “Product Development”.

You’ll also hear from more retailers as they visit the RCF Wholesale Market at the Brooklyn Expo Center on May 20th. Heads up, Michele Varian will chat about Designing for Retail and the etiquette necessary to make it happen.

If you are going to be a vendor at the fair, we hope seeing things from the perspective of buyers is helpful. And if you wish to participate in the next online buying round on SKUE (to coincide with our booth presence at the wholesale market), apply here. We hope to have all our fabulous buyers join us!


Vinit Patil is the co-founder of wholesale marketplace SKUE, where designers do wholesale with the universe’s top indie retailers.

Follow our cast of buyers on IG: marionandrose, makerandmoss, acaciararedevice, therapy, SFMOMA, digitalfix

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