I think we all have that one friend with great, unique taste, with a closet and jewelry box full of pieces you haven't already seen walking down Pike—but when you question this maven about his or her ikat-printed harem pants or brass pendant necklace, their response is often something like, "Oh I just picked these up in this back-street boutique on my last trip to Thailand," or "Thank you, I found it at an artisan popup market in Barcelona."
(Full disclosure, those sentences come directly from my mouth in the last week. I know. I know. Sorry, guys.)
Luckily, there's a new Seattle-based online store that will help us all be such globe-trotting shoppers, without even leaving the living room. Garmentory, launched last year with dual headquarters in Vancouver, BC and Seattle, pulls together the world's best boutiques into one site. Shop goods from Pioneer Square's Velouria and local designer Silvae alongside curated collections from places like House of Commons in Portland, Sweden's Enter Accessories, hats from Brooklyn's Brookes Boswell, and more.
The site's layout is ideal in that you can specifically shop individual boutique offerings, or you can browse all the tops/bottoms/swimwear/etc from the entire catalogue. There's also a trending section to see what other shoppers are scooping up (I'll take this bucket bag from Vancouver, please) as well as categories for housewares, jewelry, and lifestyle goods. Each boutique—there are currently over 100—has a descriptor on its page to help you get to know its vibe and aesthetic. Anything you order gets packed up from the real brick-and-mortar or designer and shipped for free. Note, if you order something from an international brand, you may be responsible for any customs or import duties.
The company's CEO John Scrofano told me that the goal is to help boutiques compete online in a flooded global market. Garmentory gives your favorite neighborhood shop exposure to a world of online shoppers looking for uncommon wares. Which comes to Scrofano's second point, Garmentory also helps shoppers concerned with something he calls "intentional economy," meaning that many of us want to spend our money supporting small businesses that we believe in rather than blindly spending at big businesses, sometimes with questionable practices—Garmentory closes that gap between you and a plane ticket to Quebec or Boulder or San Francisco.
And when you're debating buying that custom-printed silk scarf from Sydney, just think that Garmentory is actually saving you money from taking that trip yourself. Plus you'll get to be that friend.