Bell & Brass: Bringing Beautiful Things Home
Photos by Michael Van Auken
Bell & Brass Home Goods opened its doors at 619 First Street in June of 2022. As the only home goods store downtown at the time, it filled the literal and figurative void left by the closure of Romancing the Home. However, the dynamic duo behind Bell & Brass, Eric Rivera and Michelle Yong—also owners of Daughter of Luna Floral Design—didn’t simply want to imitate Romancing the Home. Besides, as Michelle puts it, “those are big shoes to fill.” Instead they wanted to bring their style and identity to the table.
The idea behind Bell & Brass was essentially to be an extension of Daughter of Luna, with both stores having the overarching ethos of “bringing beautiful things into the home.” They saw an opportunity to bring fresh and trending styles in the home goods arena directly to Benicia so that Benicians didn’t have to leave town, or cross a bridge, to find great things for their homes. “Staying local is what we’re trying to do here,” says Eric, who—as Michelle did for Daughter of Luna—left his corporate job to go all in on Bell & Brass.
While Bell & Brass has been warmly received by the community, it hasn’t been a seamless ride.
When Bell & Brass first opened, they geared the store more toward trendy, well-made furniture, which Michelle says Benicia may not have been ready for. “I think we were a little too trendy at first,” she says with a laugh. Some adjustments have since been made and now Bell & Brass has pivoted to better serve its clientele.
Bell & Brass today has a collection of specially curated foods, home decor, kitchenware, and select furniture pieces.
To further differentiate themselves from other gift-oriented shops in town, they’ve recently rolled out their custom wood engraving service. This service is done in-house, which means quick turnaround and no minimums. All their wood is high-quality and sourced from North America, making beautiful, one-of-a-kind gifts with a personal touch. “We really like this side of the business because it lets us work one-on-one with the customer on what their vision is. It lets us be creative, and the customer be creative, and it really gives that personal touch to the business,” says Eric. They note that these custom pieces are ideal for momentous occasions such as housewarmings and weddings, or even as corporate gifts.
Michelle and Eric source the wood for their engraved pieces from a family-run business and try to source many of their other items locally or from small businesses. They carry products from Oakland Spice Shop—a beloved Bay Area staple that Benicians can now stock up on right here in town—as well as other Bay Area-local brands. Their leather goods come from a local Benicia vendor.
For the holidays, Bell & Brass is offering curated gift baskets.
Come into the store and fill a beautiful wooden gift basket with any items from the store to be wrapped up, ready to give. Or, come with a budget in mind and let Bell & Brass curate the basket for you. Consider including a custom engraved set of coasters or cutting board in the basket for that personal touch. Their popular pop-culture ornaments are back this year as well, for all your tree-decorating needs.
Be sure to stop in at Bell & Brass for your gifting occasions throughout the year—even if the gift is for yourself. Where else in town can you find beautifully unique bowls, flatware, and a full set of wine glasses alongside affordable, high-quality custom engraving? “We really want to become Benicia’s premiere personalized gifting option,” says Michelle. Between Eric’s background in business and Michelle’s keen eye for design, they’re certain to make Bell & Brass shine.