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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Let's Get Local - Olives & Grace


 When I first met the lovely Sofi Madison in her charming South End shop, I was quickly drawn to her kind and warm nature. She instantly makes you feel like a friend and her boutique like a cozy place where you would want to hang out rather then run in and out with your purchase. At Olives & Grace she focuses on sourcing small batch makers of goods and edible treats from across the country. It's a wonderful little spot in our beloved Boston featuring truly unique items that you can't find all under one roof elsewhere. I personally loved browsing the shelves and creating a personalized gift box for my husband and look forward to gifting others with her fab finds for many years to come. Shopping small and locally is always something I stand behind and once you step foot in her store I am sure you will be just as smitten with it as I am. Oh & make sure to follow her on instagram to be in the know on all her fun events held at the store!

Tell us a little about Sofi, the gal behind the boutique, i.e. where you grew up, what you like to do on your free time, personal style in fashion or home decor, guilty pleasures etc. 

I grew up in Weston, just outside of the city, left for a few years to explore life, and I circled back to Boston in 2010.  My free-time and work-time blend together, which I round off to a good thing.  If I'm not at my shop, I'm strolling a market, meeting with local entrepreneurs, exploring new restaurants, and getting cozy at home with a work related project. 

  What made you want to open up your own shop and what are some of the products you sell to your customers?

My inspiration had been brewing for years prior to the opening of my shop.  I have several years of restaurant experience, and I'm really drawn to the hospitality industry. I love the way people's faces light up when they talk about products they make or feel passionate about, and because I'd been comfortable recommending food to people for so long, selling on behalf of makers is second nature.  At Olives & Grace we sell everything from spicy chocolate made in California, to hand-painted earrings made in Boston.  The focus of the shop is on the makers, their inspiration, and the human desire to live a passionate life. 

Sample Gift Box

   How do you decide which products to feature in your shop?

Finding products is definitely a fun part of the job, but it's a balancing act. I say it's like planning a dinner want to make sure you're inviting a good mix of characters and that they can all carry their weight, and bring something special to the table. 

Union Square Donuts every Sunday
{a total win because their shop sells out in a hot second}

{how amazing is the packaging on these cocktail mixers?}

What's the best advice you received when starting your own business?  

This might sound a little wobbly, but before I opened the store my girlfriend got me a psychic reading for my birthday.  My psychic told me to "exercise a lot".  At first I thought it was a bit....out of his jurisdiction, but he went on to explain that I'd be challenging myself creatively in my next chapter, and that in order to preserve that, I'd have to exert my physical energy elsewhere.  I liked it, and the idea of protecting my creative energy gets my butt out of bed and to the gym.  

 Living & working in Boston you must have some secret gems in our area. What are some of your favorite spots to dine, shop or visit?

Oh I love this part...favorite places to eat: Bondir, Oleana, VeeVee, Algiers {waited tables there in highschool!}, Neptune.  Other places that have my heart: The Gardner Museum, Arboretum, Wally's....little shops like Sault, Patch NYCNiche, Follain, Grey's Notions {think sewing class with a glass of wine!} and last but not least Aviary Gallery.

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