The Bay Area luxury retail heroine celebrates her boutique’s 15th anniversary with expansion plans
Words by DAVID NASH
Over the last 15 years, Sherri McMullen has set the bar for luxury retail, introducing dozens of up-and-coming fashion designers and emerging brands to an entirely new—and incredibly discerning—clientele across California and beyond.
But perhaps what’s more interesting than what she does, is knowing that it’s all done from her eponymous boutique in Oakland. “In 2007 when I opened, there was a void throughout the industry for what we now call ‘advanced contemporary,’” she says. “There were always places for contemporary and designer brands, but I entered the market and started supporting young designers early on—that’s the part of the business I’m really most passionate about.”
Sherri McMullen, wearing Cecilie Bahnsen, at her eponymous Oakland flagship boutique. Photo: BFA, McMullen Team.
Culling from CFDA award-winner Christopher John Rogers and Catherine Holstein’s New York-based Khaite to Australian fashion brand Aje and L.A.’s Sergio Hudson—who made waves when Michelle Obama wore one of his ensembles to Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration last year—McMullen expertly curates her favorite pieces from each collection she carries. It’s a life-long passion for fashion that continues to motivate her. “Even growing up, I always loved fashion and, ultimately, I wanted to do something for myself and create something for my family in a city I’ve grown to love.”
“I started supporting young designers early on—that’s the part of the business I’m really most passionate about”
The sprawling new warehouse space is part of McMullen’s e-commerce expansion plans, and will host a fashion incubator program launching this fall. Photo: Marie Nguyen.
In celebration of the boutique’s 15th anniversary, McMullen’s taking the fashion show on the road—what started with a pop-up in L.A.’s Leimert Park neighborhood this summer will continue as a six-month residency in downtown Detroit in September. “We really wanted to get to know our L.A. customers who shop with us online, and I had such a great feeling about Detroit when I visited earlier this year—it’s the place to be at this time.” And, in July, she opened a 10,000-square-foot warehouse space both as an expansion of her e-commerce business and to house an incubator program that officially launches in November to provide space, resources and industry access to new talent in fashion.
What’s new for fall? The stylish stockist will now include choice pieces from LaQuan Smith, Dries Van Noten and Wales Bonner. 2257 Broadway, Oakland, 510-508-0773; shopmcmullen.com.
Feature image: The McMullen flagship in Oakland. Photo: Samantha Tyler Cooper.
This story originally appeared in the Fall 2022 issue of C Magazine.
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