Soulstores is an online magazine about special shops and brands focusing on skill, the maker behind the product, sustainable production, and a conscious way of life. Specially for Explore Utrecht, Soulstores’ founder Talita Kalloe has selected the most beautiful Soul Stores in Utrecht.
Oeben’s Mercantile – where denim and Italian men’s fashion come together
You can’t put Oeben’s in a corner. But if you have to describe it, then the best way is to say that it is a blend between denim and Italian men’s fashion. Men who go for affordable quality – somewhere between De Rode Winkel, Scotch and Soda, and Suitsupply – have to be here. At Oeben’s you’ll find quality, skill, an intimate atmosphere, and real attention to the product. A gorgeous men’s fashion store where grandfather, father, and son can spend hours together. While enjoying a cup of coffee or – if it’s that time – a good glass of whiskey.
Oeben’s Mercantile | Oudkerkhof 34
The Domestic Botanist – where the maker behind the product speaks
In April, Marije Hellwich’s The Domestic Botanist opened its doors on Jansveld in Utrecht. In her store you’ll find a unique collection of still unknown brands, stationary, jewellery, and bonsai trees. Every product is accompanied by a little card with the story behind the brand or the designer. “If you know what the designer’s idea is, then you’ll cherish the product even more. Then you’ll want to preserve it. In that way, I want to encourage people to be conscious of what they buy, and what goes into something before it ultimately becomes a beautiful product.” We couldn’t have said it better. A true Soul Store!
The Domestic Botanist | Jansveld 49
Vollers 386 – a melting pot of special products and activities
Vollers 386 on the Oudegracht is full of special products and brands that you can’t find everywhere. The store is a melting pot of Janet Braas’s inspiration from her faraway travels and experiences as a fashion retailer. So it’s not a surprise that the focus with her products is on style and sustainability. In this fashion & lifestyle store, you’ll find among others unique clothing brands, beautiful home decor, jewellery, curiosa, and more. Besides a store, Vollers 386 also offers space for creative workshops and exhibitions.
Vollers 386 | Oudegracht 386
G.U.R.U.S. – a small boutique with a warm welcome
GURUS is hidden at the end of Twijnstraat. In this intimate boutique you’ll find the most beautiful, stylish, and sustainable brands for women. Think Alchemist, People Tree, Dante6, Rhumaa, and MbyM. Personal attention is more the rule here than the exception. You’re given a warm and loving welcome, and always genuine advice. Do you love feminine clothing, made from responsible materials and in a sophisticated style? Then GURUS is definitely worth a visit!
GURUS | Twijnstraat 69
GMraven – where tailored suits become works of art
This anything-but-normal men’s fashion store sells tailored one-of-a-kind suits. GMraven isn’t only a store, but also serves as a platform for talented artists. Every tailored suit has a unique print in the lining, designed by one of the selected artists. The materials that the suits are made of come from the Italian weaving mills Zegna and Loro Piana, among others. For every sold suit, the artist earns a portion. In addition, GMraven also has a beautiful selection of ties and socks, so that you can head out the door looking stylish from head to toe.
GMraven | Schoutenstraat 3
LIVStores – unique collections directly from the designers
Special products each with their own story, designed by Dutch designers who work on a small scale. In short: unique, timeless items that you’ll hardly find anywhere else. That’s Livstores in a nutshell. You’ll find designers like Irma Borgstede, Ilse Buré, Eijk-Amsterdam, the wonderful bags of van Raff and Van Jos. When you purchase a beautiful item from Livstores, you don’t only support sustainable production, but also the designer who made that item. The close contact between the store and the designers offers customers the opportunity to have clothing tailor made. A design piece completely tuned to your wishes!
Livstores | Twijnstraat 41
Mooi en Belle – living and additions
Mooi en Belle by owner Floris Mooi will amaze you in terms of the possibilities for your interior. From furniture, vases and tables to scents, notebooks, and children’s accessories. Inspired by the home decor fair in Paris, and Italian and Scandinavian design. And handmade, renovated old furniture in Mooi en Belle’s signature colours: mint, white, and anthracite. This shop has it all!
Mooi en Belle | Twijnstraat 37
WAAR – head here for a good present with a good story
WAAR makes short work of the goat’s wool sock picture of fairtrade shop. In this fantastic gift store you’ll find special, sustainable presents from Asia, Africa, Latin American, and sometimes from right here in the Netherlands. The products are completely in tune with the latend trends, sometimes designed in collaboration with various designers, such as Piet Hein Eek. Every product is fair-trade, organic, ecological, recycled, or made from FSC wood. The perfect place if you’re looking for presents that you can feel good about.
WAAR | Lijnmarkt 21
Bsab – Thai beauty in the heart of Utrecht
At Bsab – founded in Thailand – you’ll find candles and odour diffusers made from natural ingredients. Everything that Bsab does shows attention to people, environment, and fair work opportunities. For instance, in Thailand empty bottles are thrown out as trash. Thai residents with little money take to the streets on the hunt for these bottles. Bsab has developed a special process to wash these bottles and cut them into elegant shapes. The business has given the bottle collectors a cutting machine and taught them the process. Nowadays, the collectors manufacture and sell their cut bottles to the Bsab factory, and they are self-sufficient. You can see the results in the store, like with the recovered glass candles. You’ll find this and other special stories at Bsab.
BsaB | Oudkerkhof 24