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Sherri McMullen Dares to Design Across the Universe

By Suzanne Ennis | December 13, 2019 | People Lifestyle Style & Beauty Feature City Life Interiors Profiles Fashion Shopping Features Shop Style Best of the Bay Beauty Reviews Home Life

The fashion cognoscenti adore Sherri McMullen and her eponymous Oakland boutique. Now, McMullen is spreading the love—and her message—with a new outpost in Palo Alto.

JetKatPhoto6.jpgFounder/buyer Sherri McMullen wearing a Zimmermann dress in her new Palo Alto shop.

Sherri McMullen grew up in Oklahoma surrounded by well-dressed women. But, while she loved fashion, her interest primarily lay behind the scenes. She launched a buying career, first at Neiman Marcus and then Pottery Barn Kids, and, in 2007, opened McMullen in Oakland, soon a darling of the national press and fashion-hungry locals. Recently, she answered the call of a burgeoning Silicon Valley clientele with a Palo Alto shop.


Vera Liba mules, $975, by Proenza Schouler

The new boutique offers a cohesive yet eclectic edit of luxury apparel, accessories and decor, ranging from a $55 Voyage et Cie candle to a $5,500-plus Carolina Herrera gown. MVPs so far include Proenza Schouler, Ulla Johnson, Rachel Comey and Tibi (especially lightweight pieces suited to warm Valley climes). Emerging labels like Rokh and Khiry (both Palo Alto exclusives) are piquing interest here too.

KHIRYKhartoumTorcEmbellishedGoldNecklace.jpgA Khartoum Torc embellished gold necklace, $1,250, by Khiry

That’s heartening for McMullen, who’s passionate about discovering and supporting up-and-coming designers—especially those who share her commitment to women’s and community initiatives (supported through shop events). “It’s been a big focus of mine to bring in more African and African American designers in both of our stores. … There’s so much talent,” she notes, holding up a handbeaded bag by Nigerian designer Lisa Folawiyo to illustrate her point.

JetKatPhoto.jpgThe sitting area in Palo Alto, with interiors by Chloe Warner of Redmond Aldrich Design

White-glove delivery, personal shopping assistance and an in-the-works clienteling app reflect a similar passion for cutting-edge customer service. It’s another facet of running McMullen that keeps the busy mom, activist and businesswoman fired up. “I am doing exactly what I love,” she says. “And I’m, hopefully, making a difference.” Town & Country Village, 855 El Camino Real #36

Photography by: Portrait and interior photos by Kate Skogen; necklace and shoe photos courtesy of McMullen