New Ulm boutique Semblance is not your typical small-town Minnesota shop. Nestled amidst the historic town’s German gift shops and kitsch, the design-oriented boutique showcases a thoughtfully curated selection of architectural tops and dresses, handcrafted candles and fragrances, lifestyle magazines such as Kinfolk and Gather Journal, and delicate handmade jewelry by independent designers like a Pinterest lover’s dream made reality. Despite being located nearly two hours southwest of the Twin Cities, the shop has slowly developed a reputation for having quality specialty pieces that can’t be found anywhere else in the state.
Recently, the shop opened its second location. But instead of bringing Semblance style to the Twin Cities, owner Bobbi Barron opted for Mankato, which located 30 miles southeast of New Ulm.
“It was kind of a crazy coincidence,” she says of the decision. Another New Ulm boutique, Gallery 512, had been talking about opening a store in Mankato, but the building they fell in love with was too big, so they decided to split the space. A wall was constructed in the middle with a glass-frame door. “We thought it’d be great if it was glass so you could see each other’s spaces from each side,” Barron says.
At 80 square feet, the Mankato space is slightly smaller than Semblance’s 1,200-square-foot New Ulm storefront, giving it a more intimate feel. The merchandise selection is similar to the New Ulm store, but skewed toward showcasing even more independent designers. Additions include REIFhaus of Portland, Brooklyn’s Revisited Matters, Yoke Apothecary (Venice, Ca.), L.A.’s Shades of Grey by Micah Cohen, Twin Cities clothing line House of Gina Marie, and St. Louis Park–based brand That Soap Shop. Barron says she’s also in talks with Minneapolis designers Martha McQuade and Kathryn Sieve of Winsome about creating exclusive collections for the shop.
“Our goal is to carry at least if not more than 50-percent independent designers,” Barron says. “We are really interested in creating a shop that is a place for artists, designers, and shoppers to explore fashion in both an ethical and stylish way. We really hope to grow that concept in Mankato.”
This weekend, both Semblance locations are hosting a holiday shopping opener; stop in to either location to sign up to win a $50 gift card with every purchase, and take 25 percent off all outerwear, including coats, jackets, and vests. To get the discount online, use code OUTERWARE25. (Sale ends Sunday at midnight.)
611 N. Riverfront Dr., Mankato & 204 N. Minnesota, New Ulm, 507-304-0377, shopsemblance.com
More from inside Semblance’s Mankato store: