clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Support These 38 Indie Boutiques for Small Business Saturday

View as Map

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

In honor of our intrepid small business owners, we've decided to give thanks this weekend by updating our signature Indie 38 guide—those 38 boutiques that offer an unparalleled shopping experience around Boston, making our retail landscape brighter by the day. So tomorrow, for the official Small Business Saturday push, we recommend eating up the remnants of your Black Friday budget at our finest local shops, many of which are running sales.

As a refresher, here is our criteria for selecting the Indie 38: Has it been open more than six months? Is it legitimately good shopping and not just quirky curiosities? Does it carry otherwise hard-to-find merchandise or boast its own private line? Like any other good 38 list, we've arranged these boutiques in no particular order; rather, it goes north to south, hopping back and forth between neighborhoods.

This new edition reflects the closures of Rescue and Turtle, both on Newbury Street. We've added Sault, Olives & Grace, and Viola Lovely—three South End storefronts that each deliver a a strong point-of-view. Ku De Ta in Southie also makes an appearance, and finally, we can't forget Alison Barnard's in-jean-ius and Twilight duo, Luke Aaron's showroom, and the Italian-focused Officina 189—all in the North End.


Read More

The Boston Shaker

Copy Link
Boston has a thing for artisan cocktails, but what's a person to do when making them at home? Stop by The Boston Shaker. This temple of libations stocks the right tools, drinkware, and even obscure ingredients required for your Pinterest bev board.
Magpie bills itself as a "hipster craft store"—definitely a place to seek out locally-sourced items and gifts like coasters, glassware, and artwork. Put a bird on it, right?

Sudo Shoes

Copy Link
Sudo has vegan footwear for days, catering to locals who have a hard time finding veg-friendly goods. Both classic (combat boots) and trendy (creepers) are available with accessories from cruelty-free brands like Matt & Nat.
Handpicked items like Mexican folk art (Day of the Dead pieces abound) and African instruments sit alongside equally unique clothing and jewelry at Nomad. Bolivian blankets, Swahili baskets, and Indian lanterns are just some of the global buys at this Porter Square shop.

Mint Julep

Copy Link
Mint Julep has built a reputation for the perfect casual-meets-party assortment of premium denim, Tracy Reese and Tibi dresses, Ella Moss separates, and Adia Kibur baubles. The Brookline storefront came first, but the Harvard Square setup speaks to students and twenty-somethings alike, bringing plenty of feminine flair to the Cambridge side of the Charles

Black Ink

Copy Link
The hodgepodge of trinkets at Black Ink is kind of like an in-person Fab.com. It's pegged as a "one stop design shop," and it certainly has found a home in Harvard Square. Clever goods are appreciated in this intellectual crowd.

Forty Winks

Copy Link
On the outer edge of Harvard Square sits the loveliest little intimates boutique, run by lingerie aficionados Rachel Wentworth and Meredith Donaldson. The duo manages to stock an outstanding range of undies, convincing ladies on both sides of the Charles to start caring about what to wear under the rest of their wardrobe. They also stock little extras from The Laundress, Spanx, leg wear, and garter accessories.

Oona's Experienced Clothing

Copy Link
Harvard Square institution Oona's Experienced Clothing has been dressing Greater Boston in funky vintage gear from the 1930s through the 1980s since 1972. Make sure to check out the top notch apothecary collection of fragrances and candles for an extra bit of panache.
Xylem speaks to its Kendall Square spot with home goods and gifts for geeky folks (wait, who isn't?). The name itself is a horticulture term, and the distinctive wall design feels scientific. Jewelry from the tech-savvy jewelry maker Nervous System is also in store.

injeanius

Copy Link
Alison Barnard is looking out for your bottom half with a store dedicated to denim, part of which involves finding the best fit. With styles from most major premium denim lines—Joe's, Citizens of Humanity, J Brand, Hudson, Paige, Denimocracy—the chore of trying on pair after pair transforms into an adventure for the best derriere. In-jean-ius handles your upper body too, with trendy tops for every occasion.

Twilight

Copy Link
Also owned by in-jean-ius maven Alison Barnard, Twilight is the area's go-to for dresses. From everyday to occasion, styles by Nicole Miller, Clover Canyon, Tracy Reese and more ensure a frock for every lady walking through the door. Jewelry and clutches punctuate the apparel (and your look).

Luke Aaron Boston

Copy Link
This young designer has won multiple awards locally for draped frocks and elegant gowns, all made in this North End atelier. Following a Tufts education, he worked in costume design, giving much of his work a heavy hit of drama. He also specializes in bridal, with designs that are romantic and straddle the line between traditional and contemporary.

OFFICINA 189

Copy Link
A lot of things in the North End come from Italy—pasta, espresso, gelato—but new boutique Officina 189 can guarantee that no one else is stocking its Italian imports. Owner Fabrizio Di Rienzo came from Milan to introduce niche products including custom bikes, silver jewelry, and obscure fragrances.

Shake the Tree

Copy Link
One stop shopping is the most satisfying for an on-the-go gal, and the North End boutique Shake the Tree keeps us on our toes with home trinkets, scents, books, accessories, and clothes galore. Designers' trunk shows are often held here, so watch the calendar for dates.

Acquire

Copy Link
Antique and repurposed furniture are eclectic at Acquire, but it's also worth mentioning the owner, Nikki Dalrymple. Her design services are renowned and she serves the fashion lover well with a unique selection of jewelry and bags.

Crush Boutique

Copy Link
Shoppers step in to Crush—Beacon Hill is the original location, with a secondary Newbury Street outpost—for a blend of contemporary favorites including Alice + Olivia, Shoshanna, and Parker alongside accessible footwear and jewels from brands like Dolce Vita and House of Harlow 1960. What keeps 'em coming back is the styling-centric service (they even host private parties) and freshly updated goods.
Good has been a haven for unique buys for over a decade, finally upgrading to a space four times bigger year. Come here to seek out collected items ranging from regional home goods designers to transcontinental inspired jewelry and lovely leather bags.

Artifaktori

Copy Link
Artifaktori is a subterranean haven for curated vintage alongside vintage-inspired contemporary pieces. Added bonuses: a men's corner sits at back and everything is marked with its era of origin.

Vira Boutique

Copy Link
If VIRA feels like it has NYC cool factor, that's because it does—founders Vivek and Radhika brought their FIT backgrounds home to Boston last spring. The lofty space boasts emerging international designers and sought after contemporary labels to excite the cosmopolitan woman.

Holiday Boutique

Copy Link
Holiday is the epitome of girly with its "Pretty Little Sister" private line, feminine frocks made in Massachusetts, a signature cashmere collection, and designers like SF-based Kirribilla, Bell by Alicia Bell and Erin Fetherston. Also find knick knacks for your abode and jewelry box throughout the vintage-inspired store

Ball And Buck

Copy Link
Guys love this camo-clad habitat for Americana-inspired threads, kicks, and accessories, usually part of limited edition collabs and all of which are made in the USA. With a commitment to domestic jobs, the team also keeps customers looking fresh at the in-store barbershop.

Daniela Corte

Copy Link
With a garden level storefront and her studio upstairs, designer Daniela Corte is taking over more than just a Newbury brownstone. Lovers of Corte's impeccable separates and signature legging bar are well known in the upper echelons of Boston fashion, but the crisp white and wood space also allows the general public intimate access to her beautiful clothing season after season.

Fish and Bone

Copy Link
Pamper your furry friends at Fish and Bone, where you can comfortably bring in pets for all sorts of accessories, snacks, and everyday gear necessary for living with humankind.
The secret Snapple entrance is a rite of passage to many streetwear enthusiasts far and wide—no surprise given its close proximity to the universities. Since the secret is already out, we won't keep mum on the killer selection of all the sneaker favorites, jackets from Schott and Dr. Romanelli, Super and even vintage Cazal eyewear. And if you want a snack, the literal bodega is open too.

Twelve Chairs

Copy Link
Having formerly occupied a gigantic lofty Fort Point Channel space, the duo behind Twelve Chairs joins a vibrant creative community on Tremont Street with a newly opened second floor studio chock full of their same quirky home goods selection to warm up any abode.
Owner Philip Saul knows how to speak to a Massachusetts man's sensibilities with items from New England Shirt Co., accessories from Ivy Prepster, toiletries from Mr. Natty, and even gently used goods. Everything here is a classic wardrobe addition.
Dani McDonald nails the laid-back Cali vibe with this eclectic shop for indie brands and Boston-bred labels. The boutique is cozy and inviting, with whimsical decor setting the tone for offbeat designers like Lauren Moffat, Line & Dot, Alkemie jewelry, and Wildfox. Plus, a shiny new website now boasts e-commerce.

Bobby From Boston

Copy Link
People claim this is the best men's vintage shopping around, and a small women's selection is available too. Amazing bags, preppy wears of yesteryear, and a totally cool ambiance are the attraction here.

SoWa Vintage and SoWa Open Markets

Copy Link
For the past decade, Bostonians have been strolling SoWa's markets on Sundays in search of clever trinkets, unusual decor, locally crafted items, and a cluster of vintage and antique vendors. Indoors you'll find the year-round Vintage Market, with May through October adding on an outdoor farmer's market, food and fashion truck gatherings, and tent upon tent of distinctive buys. Come fall, artisans prep for the notorious Holiday Market.

Patch NYC

Copy Link
Given their worldwide fame as artists and collaborators with Target and Anthropologie, we dig that the creative pair behind this design dynasty still calls a little South End courtyard home. The headquarters and shop are a warm setting for striking jewelry and home goods, many of which are private label and all of which are keepers.

M. Flynn Accessories

Copy Link
The sparkle at M. Flynn Accessories lures you in with a shabby chic interior and endless displays of Alexis Bittar, Lulu Frost, Erickson Beamon, in-house collections including a fine jewelry branch of the business, and plenty of bridal and engagement gems. Lauren Merkin clutches and a slew of other darling add-ons round out the experience here.

Michelle Willey Boutique

Copy Link
Michelle Willey is a South End mainstay with all sorts of easy, sophisticated pieces. Chinese porcelain, Tibetan pillows, and handmade subway sign wall art are all must-haves.
Clean comfort defines the Hudson look, which is very reminiscent of a perfectly worn-in Cape house from a design magazine. Vintage furniture and preppy textiles mix with organic motifs in vases, storage knick knacks, and lighting.

Viola Lovely

Copy Link
Viola Lovely has always been on the cutting edge of fashion, fostering relationships with now well-known brands like Veronica Beard and Leigh & Luca in their infancy and continuously pursing new designers for its collection of boutiques. Owner Lisa Cancelli opened the first Boston location just a few months ago, bringing her curated selection (including Golden Goose, Yigal Azrouël, and Giada Forte) from the suburbs to the South End.

Olives & Grace

Copy Link
The winner of our 2013 Racked Awards "So Hot Right Now" category is a champion of the local movement, supplying South Enders with regionally-sourced gifts, trinkets, and food stuffs. This is the place to pick up holiday, birthday, and housewarming gift boxes.

Ku De Ta

Copy Link
This Southie boutique not only dresses you for the best night out without breaking the bank, but they also host "Girls Night Out" for discounts and vino. Uber girly brands like MINKPINK, Lucca Couture, and Aryn K are displayed with cute jewelry from Gorjana and Alex and Ani.

MassArt Made

Copy Link
Boston is known as an innovator of education, right? Put yourself in the shoes of an design student (or alum) that has the chance to show work in a straightforward boutique open daily. MassArt developed exactly that kind of enterprise right on Huntington Avenue, with proceeds of each sale benefitting the local artists and contributing to financial assistance for students. As shoppers, we are especially keen on the constantly changing jewelry and apparel selection.

Salmagundi

Copy Link
With roughly 9000 hats, we think this shop can consider itself Boston's millinery expert. The JP boutique is owned by a husband and wife team that works with independent milliners for a wide selection of headwear, fit for varied tastes and price points.

The Boston Shaker

Boston has a thing for artisan cocktails, but what's a person to do when making them at home? Stop by The Boston Shaker. This temple of libations stocks the right tools, drinkware, and even obscure ingredients required for your Pinterest bev board.

Magpie

Magpie bills itself as a "hipster craft store"—definitely a place to seek out locally-sourced items and gifts like coasters, glassware, and artwork. Put a bird on it, right?

Sudo Shoes

Sudo has vegan footwear for days, catering to locals who have a hard time finding veg-friendly goods. Both classic (combat boots) and trendy (creepers) are available with accessories from cruelty-free brands like Matt & Nat.

Nomad

Handpicked items like Mexican folk art (Day of the Dead pieces abound) and African instruments sit alongside equally unique clothing and jewelry at Nomad. Bolivian blankets, Swahili baskets, and Indian lanterns are just some of the global buys at this Porter Square shop.

Mint Julep

Mint Julep has built a reputation for the perfect casual-meets-party assortment of premium denim, Tracy Reese and Tibi dresses, Ella Moss separates, and Adia Kibur baubles. The Brookline storefront came first, but the Harvard Square setup speaks to students and twenty-somethings alike, bringing plenty of feminine flair to the Cambridge side of the Charles

Black Ink

The hodgepodge of trinkets at Black Ink is kind of like an in-person Fab.com. It's pegged as a "one stop design shop," and it certainly has found a home in Harvard Square. Clever goods are appreciated in this intellectual crowd.