We recently opened our third store – and the first on the West Coast – at the Montecito Country Mart! We’re excited to bring our signature stripes and smiles to California. In honor of the pop-up, Nikki takes us on a tour of The Mart, showing us her favorite places to shop, eat, and stroll. Read on to see what Nikki saw while setting up shop.
“I’ve always loved Montecito, especially the Montecito Country Mart, which is such a fun local mix of curated boutiques and fabulous food. I’ve been friends with [Country Mart developer] Jim Rosenfield and his wife Heather Rosenfield [owner of Poppy Marché, our new neighbor at the Mart] for a long time. KULE fits in perfectly with the retail community Montecito Country Mart has created.” – Nikki
Jim Rosenfield created Montecito Country Mart, Brentwood Country Mart, and Marin Country Mart. Nikki’s drawn to his aesthetic taste in creating, what she says, is a “shopping experience that feels more like a small village rather than a shopping center.” The curation of brands and restaurants is unique, which makes it a destination for all tourists and locals alike.
Some of Nikki’s favorite shops at the mart include Poppy Marché — founded by Jim’s wife Heather Rosenfield and her business partner, Jenny Belushi — a luxury children’s clothing store that carries the best brands from all over the world (including KULE!).
Another favorite of Nikki’s is Mate Gallery — founded by Matt Albiani and Ron Brand — which has vintage, textiles, out-of-print books, art, and home goods, all with a New England/East Coast vibe, but in California.
As for food — which Nikki says is a highlight at the mart — there are places you must visit. Her favorite restaurant is Bettina, owned by Rachel Greenspan and Brendan Smith (coincidentally, Rachel was KULE President Jim Kuerschner’s roommate for several years after college!). Nikki’s favorite place for morning coffee and lunch salads is Merci Montecito, created by acclaimed pastry chef Elizabeth Colling. Nikki says to order the cauliflower soup, which she had almost every day during her visit.
Nikki came up with the store concept well before arriving, and Debora Cicchini — who works with Nikki on store designs and displays — sketched it out (which you’ll find on the wall in the shop 🙂). We used Montecito local contractor/surfer Justin Huntsman (of Justin Huntsman Construction), and Nikki went to local antique and thrift stores to decorate the shop.
On the final day of set-up, Kara Love — who heads the entire KULE retail team — lead the unpacking of the new KULE collection with which to fill the shop. Nikki and Debora hung all the knick-knacks and striped artwork by Tracy Morgan (who does prop design for KULE’s photoshoots!), and did the finishing touches. They ended the [very long] day with Negroni Spritzes from Bettina.
Here are some of the KULE items Nikki packed for her week in Montecito:
… along with what she styled them with:
Another highlight of her trip was finally meeting Dewey Nicks — photographer, film director, and friend of KULE — in person at the Birnam Wood Montecito Country Club. Nikki also loved visiting Lotusland — a non-profit, 37-acre botanical garden (once owned by the late Madame Ganna Walska) with unique gardens — with Heather Rosenfield. She also had the opportunity to visit Raoul’s Textiles Store in Santa Barbara and meet its founder, Sally McQuillan.
Nikki and our entire KULE team are so excited to be at the Montecito Country Mart, and we hope you’ll stop by soon and see this beautiful happy corner of California 🙂 🌴.