The initial attraction of Sam Guzmán’s Stabiles boutique was its mobile pop-up nature: His uniquely designed traveling truck full of home decor and artisan crafts caused much buzz when it began showing up on the cool corners of Santa Barbara two years ago. But on the verge of his third year, Guzmán decided to add a brick-and-mortar parking spot of sorts and opened Stabiles HQ at 127 West Canon Perdido Street, where he shares the space with Eco Friendly Cleaners.
The open and airy space in the cleaners’ atrium features Guzmán’s own wrapped-wire designs for holding plants as well as ceramics, bags of coffee, woven scarves, and aromatic soy candles. Toward the back is a 150-square-foot workshop, where ceiling-high shelves are stacked with artisanal Japanese towels, Peruvian alpaca throws, an assortment of stylish wool and flat-billed hats, and leather purses.
“We are going for the crème de la crème,” explained Guzmán, who focuses on functional arts and crafts. “If we can’t make something better, we won’t make it. When people buy, they get a lot of value, and these objects have value because of the people behind them.”
Guzmán’s first design was a plant holder for live succulents, formed out of a single piece of lead wire. As you water and tend to the succulent, it grows around and through the sculptured base, becoming “living” art. Guzmán quickly expanded from simply selling his own designs to feature like-minded artisans who create products that are sustainable and innovative. That includes copperware water purifiers, which rely on copper’s natural ionizing ability to clean water; the wooden cutting board designed to self-heal and sharpen knives; and soy candles made without the toxic touch of paraffin and lead found in commercial candles.
Guzmán’s background in the food and wine business as a sommelier and his emphasis on front-of-house service aid in his selling of products. “All our pieces have stories behind [them],” he explained. “People miss having products that have a conversation or start a conversation. And you will have it for the rest of your life. You are buying a future heirloom.”
The Stabiles truck continues to make its rounds, but Guzmán sees this off–State Street HQ as a place for locals. “I only carry things I love,” said Guzmán. “Everything has been hand-picked. We sell because we have a purpose — to build an integrity that is synonymous with Stabiles and what it stands for, supporting creativity, artisan, and a different type of production.”
127 West Canon Perdido Street, Suite C, stabilessantabarbara.com