Alyah Baker co-owner of Show and Tell Concept Shop
gave me the scoop on the shop’s conception, history and dreams.
Show and Tell Shop now resides at 1427 Broadway,
joined to Bettino Gallery and steps away from Awaken Cafe. This address is more conducive to one of the dreams of Show ant Tell, which is to be not only a clothing store, but a community space that buyers and friends feel they can come into. The space features a self-affirmation wall, made during their grand re-opening party. The black wall is written on with chalk, affirming lifestyles, personal growth, comfort, community, fashion, expression and love.
Women Entrepreneurs and women-owned business is also ingrained in the the values of Show and Tell.
The shop has been around from 2.5 years and just moved into this space. According to Alyah, the store came out a series of conversations with Nichole, her business partner, discussing the state of retail and what they wanted to do that they weren’t seeing anywhere. The conversations culminated in one final conversation, fueled by 15 years of retail experience and the bubbling political atmosphere of 2011: Occupy Oakland, Obama’s doing away with the don’t ask, don’t tell policy and the hyper local pride and community involvement that began to surface strongly at the time.
Show and Tell’s name comes from the Don’t ask, Don’t tell policy.
It is a sort of flip of it. DO ASK. DO TELL. The store, and its owners and community, are all about being who you are and embodying your truth. The clothing and accessories for sale in Show & Tell Shop follow suit. Alyah or Nichole knows each designer and has a personal connection to them. Everything they sell is a part of an equitable and conscious retail experience and they focus particularly on representing oppressed communities. Alyah knows her stuff. She knows what is going on in a global sense, having worked in retail, been a corporate buyer and manager for gap where she met Nichole., who conveniently did more of the operational and staffing end of things.
The store boasts 50 different designers, 80% of which are local to California.
are a couple of the Oakland based designers. Scout’s Honor and Androgyny produce in SF. Even their card maker is local! Alyah meets people all over. Sometimes people stop in and tell her about what they are doing. They want to know if Show and Tell will house their designs.
The shop is called a “concept shop” because it is a concept that holds everything together.
The lifestyle, idea of community, support for smaller, independent artists- all of these components come together to form Show and Tell. Additionally, accessible fashion is a value the store adheres to. Nothing in the shop is over $100 and there are quite a lot of options for around $20. There is even a $10 bin!
Alyah is a North Carolina transplant by way of New Jersey, where she got her degree from Duke. She came to California on a scholarship for 2 months and never left.
Alyah told me, “when I was a little girl, I had two dreams. I was going to be a designer and a professional dancer. And I’ve been able to do both in California.”
She sees her job as being there, promoting the local love, being there as a community member, advocate and resource.
Show and Tell also hosts community events.
Culture Fuck hosted by JDX and Annah Anti-Palindrome, is their standing monthly event,an open mic. If you are interested in having Show and Tell host your next event, send an email to Alyah at [email protected] to set up a time to talk.
Stay tuned for Wear Your Voice and Show and Tell Concept Shop’s discussion with Nichole, the other half of the vision and business, as well as news about their Mother’s Day event in May and June’s Pride plans.