Shop: Little Otsu (San Francisco)
Over the next few weeks, I hope to feature a number of stores from my city, San Francisco, that has what I would consider a high level of style and design sense. I live in the Mission, so it seems obvious that I’ll start at 19th and Valencia streets (where I live) and work out of an every expanding radius from there. So, starting with that concept, the first shop that comes to mind is Little Otsu.
Little Otsu is an offshoot of another fine shop Otsu, but Little Otsu focuses on printing exclusively. The beauty about the store is it’s kind of like a Hallmark store if it were taken over by really emo Hello Kitty characters who had lived in Williamsburg Brooklyn for a year or two. What I’m getting at is the store sells greeting cards and knickknacks just like the Hallmark store, but the art for the cards, planners, t-shirts and other items have a freshness to them with a Japanesey, childlike, line-art bent. I’ve, personally, bought tons of cards here because there is something about their line of products that makes me feel special when I receive one in the mail. A Hallmark card can make you laugh or go “awww”. But in the end, the experience feels thin because you know the person probably bought the card along with a Snickers bar and a box of Tampons. The Little Otsu card, though, feels like an event. It feels like someone wanted to give you a special little piece of art.
By the way, the actual design of the store does not exactly inspire. It’s a plain white, unadorned little box with a curtain that separates the store from some office space for the 826 Valencia crew (I’ve been told). However, the window display always features some inspiring little felt creation. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.