A year and a few months after its opening, Benicians are still discovering the hip, boho-chic boutique tucked inside the cute cottage behind Community Garden’s plot on the bottom of First Street. Located at 117 East D Street, Collektive is owned and carefully curated by Jennifer Negrete, who’s main goals are affordable, quality fashion for women of every age, as well as creating a warm and welcoming community vibe. She says, “The space is very inviting with lots of couches. I want people to meet their girlfriends here, browse around and visit. I have teens and people over 70 who shop here. I try really hard to incorporate everyone without losing the contemporary feel.”
Negrete is a creative who has been in the handmade jewelry business since 2012. Her own line, Eva Knox, which is self-described as “a juxtaposition of my polished side and my bohemian, yet edgy side,” is sold at all the Maker’s Markets in the Bay Area (see our story on Maker Markets in the November issue). It’s her love of handmade accessories and connections in the maker community that lead her to opening Collektive near the end of 2017, originally with the idea that it would just be a holiday pop-up. “It started with my jewelry as the main focus and then bringing in other makers that I was friends with. Then I approached makers I loved from Etsy who had accessories and handmade items. When I incorporated clothing, it really took off.”
A little over a year later, Collektive is still here and growing. Negrete just quit her day job as a paralegal assistant in order to meet customer demand and keep the shop open six days a week. She purchases clothes in small batches, mostly from trendy LA designers, and tries to rotate every couple weeks to keep things fresh. “The clothing has taken off. People love that they can come in and grab a tube top to go out in, and have it cost less than $40.”
The shop is a feast for the senses with brightly colored wall hangings, inviting seating, rich textures, and areas of carefully curated accessories and jewelry to peruse at leisure. Negrete says, “I am a creative person, and my goal is for it to be a creative space.” Part of this goal is to begin holding monthly workshops. Collektive will also be starting up their weekly Coffee Fridays again, on Friday mornings starting at 10am when the store opens, so shoppers can sip a warm drink while they shop. For updates about events, sales and new items (as well as fashion inspiration) follow Collektive on Instagram, @calicollektive. If you haven’t yet checked it out, duck into the cozy cottage behind the gardens on your next trip downtown.