The Vision Behind Freda Salvador’s First Store


After three widely successful seasons of designing shoes, Freda Salvador finally has a San Francisco storefront to call his own. 

The brainchild of friends Megan Papay and Cristina Palomo, they originally met as former designers at Anyi Lu and instantly bonded after working together. Now, they’ve created a brand that every women wants to wear on their feet – they are stylish on your feet and to showcase on your bookshelf. As you walk into their Union Street store you’re instantly in awe of the entire space – it makes you feel right at home. Which is exactly what both of them wanted to achieve. We sat down with both Papay and Palomo to get the inside scoop on their design process and vision behind the store.

Did you always have a vision of opening your own store?

Yes! but we didn’t necessarily plan on it being this soon.  We were looking for a temporary pop up store for the holiday season and found our current space on Union Street.  Once we walked in we knew we wanted it for keeps.  It is the perfect space to house design, office and retail.

When designing the shop, where did your inspiration come from?

We started scouring places like Etsy, Craigslist, and home consignment stores to see what was out there.  Pretty quickly we started collecting vintage pieces because we love that they have a story, so our “theme” became artifacts.  We had so much fun hunting for the right pieces.  It was such a liberating and exciting process because we didn’t necessarily know what the end result would be.  When we found a piece we liked we got it…we weren’t worried about where it would go right then and there.  We believed it would all come together in the end and it did!

As you walk into the space it has a homey feel. Did you want the shop to feel as though customers and friends could stay for awhile?

Yes!  We have a whole room set up as a living room, or “girls cave” as we like to call it.  There is a comfy sofa, old theatre chairs that recline and a candy bar, coffee bar, and record player.  We definitely want friends and customers to come in, feel at home and stay a while. Talk about fashion, life, food, shoes…whatever!  

Where did you source furniture from? We love the mix of old and new.

We got a lot from Etsy…like the red theatre chairs and old office doors that were originally from the SF Conservatory of Music. Also, we found SFO airport waiting chairs from the 50’s on Etsy as well…all from local Bay Area ’boutiques.” Then we went to SS21, Big Daddys, and HD Buttercup…a lot. We kept revisiting these stores every couple of weeks because they were always getting new inspiring things. The only “new” pieces we purchased were our design tables…we wanted a counter height work space because we stand a lot during the design season, moving leathers around etc. We got them at Restoration Hardware but the wood tops are reclaimed, so they too look old.

The beautiful mural, tell us where the inspiration for that came from?

We worked with a fantastic local branding company called Pilgrim and Pyles because we had this crazy long wall that we couldn’t quite figure out…with their help and inspirations we decided it needed a mural.  Aidan Pilgrim (of Pilgrim and Pyles) put us in contact with an incredible artist named Ryland Cook.  We saw his work and decided he was our man, so we commissioned him to paint the wall.  We had given him some inspiration images of a very small geometric pattern, but when he started painting he went big.  We were totally surprised at the result, but absolutely love it and his courage for doing what he felt the wall needed.  He was braver than our original vision and we are so thankful for that.

We love your shop, how do you want it to evolve over the next few years?

Thanks! We are already having so much fun planning what is next. In addition to selling our shoes and adding “exclusive” styles to our store, we also want to have events in our space that includes a broader range of the fashion, art, food, wine, music scene in SF. Most immediately we are going to host a Vintage Designer Clothing event in May, where we will curate a selection of designer clothing, like YSL, Chanel, Carolina Herrera etc and sell them during a cocktail party. It will be very edited and beautiful.  We will set it up like an installation, but everything will be for sale. 

1782 Union St., San Francisco; (415) 654-5128. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

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