You must be crazy to have started a retail business in late 2020. Our excellent Staff Writer Daniel Scheffler is a special case. His new shop, Folktale Provisions, is a passion project born from his intense curiosity for the world around him and which he has so extensively traveled, and his desire to share that experience with others.
Most of the last 10 years Daniel spent nearly three hundred days on the road. Covid clipped his wings. Grounded, he found himself with more time than he knew what to do with.
His best friends, Gregory and Madigan Ahn, the owners of Folktale Winery, cooked up an idea with him: open a shop at their winery. Not a wine farm merchandise store, a real store. Daniel agreed, “only if I can do it my own way,” he insisted, which was to bring the globe to the rolling hills and valleys of Carmel, California.
The names and faces of ten years of travel started swirling through his brain. For six weeks, Daniel woke up at four in the morning, “working myself stupid.” He reached out to artisans across the globe, leaning on relationships he’d built in a hundred and forty four countries. He asked each one to create unique items which have their own stories to tell.
Each has a story tag attached to it, of its creation, adventures and origin. Daniel “wants items to make sense; to have a reason to be there… Customers want to hear the stories behind items.”
One such story begins with Daniel’s friend, renowned milliner Albertus Swanepoel. Daniel wanted to create custom leather handbags for his shop. Albertus recommended Daniel to a top-tier supplier who works on bags for brands such as Hermès, Fendi and Prada. The odds they would agree to partner with a startup shop were next to none. Due to Albertus’ referral, they hesitantly agreed to work with him. For Daniel, it wasn’t about the odds. “It doesn’t matter, you just figure it out… What matters is doing the best… Creativity doesn’t hold you back, it pushes you forward… Anyone can do it, you have to really, really work hard. Anyone can put creativity forward in the world and have it recognized.”
Folktale Provisions is about the experience of sharing something unique and limited and living in the moment. Daniel wanted to create an oasis away from the impersonal feeling of shopping online. “A place of hospitality and kindness, not commerce, that feels like hanging out. A collective positive feeling, not a place of being sold to… Everything these days has a mass feel. This celebrates artisans.”
Items are a collaboration, unique and fleeting. “Once it’s gone it’s gone.
“I want people to feel alive; that they are participating in styling their life. How do you style your life? Travel can be anywhere, having a curiosity and opening your eyes.” When you pour cream from your Japanese bronzed pitcher, or use your potholder hand sewn by ladies in the basement of a Ukranian church, you might glance out your window and glimpse a bit of Kyoto or Lviv in your own backyard.
Photos by Giada Paoloni.