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Meet the Owner: Miller Lane Mercantile

Amid the vast array of choices, there's an ever-growing movement towards more intentional living, focusing on filling our spaces with items that hold genuine care, meaning, or quality. Whether handmade or hand-picked, Miller Lane Mercantile offers gifts, home decor, and kitchenware to complement — not clutter — any space. Meet Calli, the owner of Miller Lane. Drawing inspiration from her coastal roots and the charming aesthetics of the Northeast, her approach to curating centers on two fundamental aspects: beauty and practicality. The recent move of Miller Lane to a larger storefront on Tennyson has allowed for a more robust product assortment from the kitchen to the pantry, including makers like Bergs Potter, a family-run business based in Copenhagen. Join us as we sit down with Calli to discuss her fondness for the welcoming Berkeley community and the rewards of running a business on Tennyson Street.


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FF:
Where are you from and how long have you lived in Colorado?

CS: I grew up in East Hampton, NY and spent time living in Charleston and NYC before moving to Colorado in 2015. 

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FF: What was your career path prior to getting into retail?

CS: I've had a love for small shops since I was young — my first job was folding t-shirts at a surf shop when I was 14 and I was instantly drawn to the camaraderie that comes with being part of an independent shop. I was a communications major in school and then went on to work in marketing for brands in the beauty, food + beverage, and photography industries before opening Miller Lane. My roles were always very widespread and I didn't understand it at the time, but that type of "jack-of-all-trades" experience working for startups really prepared me for entrepreneurship in a unique way. 

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FF: How has where you grew up influenced your life and shop?

CS: There's the Hamptons people know of as a weekend escape from the city, but it's a very different lifestyle to grow up there. Some of my favorite childhood memories are clamming in the bay with my family and then cooking up big seafood pasta dinners in our backyard. I've always been inspired by the visuals in that part of the country — from the natural landscape, to the old shingle homes and Northeastern-style markets and boutiques. It has definitely shaped many of the product and decorative choices I've made for Miller Lane since we opened. 

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FF: What are you looking for in a product when sourcing new goods for the shop?

CS: When sourcing new products for the shop I always defer back to two questions — is it beautiful and is it practical? One without the other leaves something to be desired — but when both of these are achieved, it allows you to fill your home with things you love that withstand the tests of time. Practicality can take many different shapes but for me, I try to always consider the piece's function in the home, the quality of the materials, and how it will fit into a person's lifestyle. 

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FF:
With the recent opening of the new, larger location, which new product(s) are you most excited about?

CS: We have a much more robust kitchen + pantry assortment at the new location, filled with everything from tinned fish to Parisian flatware. We also started carrying Bergs Potter, a family-run business based in Copenhagen with lovely terracotta and glazed planters and vases. It's been great to expand our product categories since moving to a larger location and bring in new makers that have been on my wish-list for years. 

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FF:
What do you love most about the Berkeley community and operating a business on Tennyson St?

CS: Berkeley has a true neighborhood feel and the community here has really welcomed us since opening in 2019. I'm always humbled when people share that Miller Lane is their go-to gift shop, and I think a lot of the residents here (and Denver as a whole) prioritize shopping locally over deferring to big online retailers. I've also come to know many of the other shop owners in the area and have felt so supported by the small business community here. It's a special corner of the city. 

Date

08/10/2023

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