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21 Mar '17

Springtime Skin and Hair Care

Posted by Karis Dodd

Ah, the change of seasons! Spring brings sunny days, blooming flowers, and shedding layers, but even if the changes are appreciated, we need to give our bodies a little help adjusting. Warmer weather brings more sweat (gross I guess, but it's true), which means that extra care should be taken to keep skin and hair clean and healthy. However, washing too often can actually strip our skin and hair of the nature moisture that they need to stay healthy and radiant. So, how should we go about balancing staying clean and healthy? The key is using the right kind of body wash, shampoo, and conditioner made with essential oils to help clean and moisturize your body! 

All skin care items carried at Viscera are made with healthy natural ingredients such as essential oils.

First of all, to understand the benefits of products made with essential oils, you probably want to know what essential oils are. These oils are "essential" in that they contain the essence of a plant's fragrance. They are usually extracted through distillation, often by using steam, but could be extracted in a number of different ways. In short, these are oils that moisturize your skin and hair while adding a natural, lovely fragrance. So, what's so great about essential oils?

1. Essential oils leave skin and hair feeling and smelling amazing without synthetic fragrances. We carry Shamarwyn brand body wash, lotion, and hair products that are all scented with various essential oils including French Lavender, Rosemary and Mint, and Lemongrass and Sage. Note: they all smell awesome.

2. Essential oils can help reduce dandruff or itchiness of the scalp because they balance sebum production, creating a healthy and happy scalp! This is especially important in the spring when your hair might become greasier faster with increased sweat production. Washing your hair more often could cause dryness on your scalp, so using a shampoo and conditioner that balances sebum production while adding moisture back into the scalp is super important!

3. Essential oils can promote healthier hair growth and prevent hair loss and thinning. When your scalp is balanced and the hair follicles and surrounding blood vessels are stimulated, your hair can grow healthier, thicker, and longer. Just imagine your luscious locks shining in the springtime sun! If shampoo and conditioner aren't cutting it, try adding a hair oil into your hair care routine. Massage into the scalp to stimulate growth or comb through the ends of your hair to remedy stubborn split ends. 

4. Essential oils are therapeutic, invigorating, relaxing, and help with balancing mood. They are often used for aromatherapy and different oils can have different effects on mood. For example, lavender has long been regarded as a relaxing scent that can help you achieve a peaceful night's sleep. If you've been having trouble relaxing at night, try washing your hair with French Lavender shampoo and conditioner, showing with a French Lavender body wash, or spritzing your pillow with an essential oil spray (like our Sweet Dreams Darling spray infused with Lavender and Chamomile!) 

Lavender Essential Oil Spray


So, get ready for spring with some new skin and hair care products infused with natural and healthy essential oils! Your body will surely thank you :)

*Information on the benefits of Essential Oils from Shamarwyn.com 

16 Mar '17

Minimalism Series: What's a Capsule Collection?

Posted by Ari Takata-Vasquez in 333 project, minimalism

This is the second installation of our Minimalism Series. You can read the last post about using minimalism to create calm. 

capsule collection to develop minimalist closet

With a new season rolling around, warm weather clothing is emerging from the depths of closets across the Bay Area. I thought this would be the perfect time to talk about something I love-- capsule collections! A lot of times when I tell someone at the shop about capsule collections I get a blank look in return, so I thought I'd write a blog post about capsule collections, why they're amazing, and who can benefit from them. 

What's a capsule collection? 

Put simply, a capsule collection is a well-curated selection of timeless wardrobe staples that don't go out of style. The idea is that you have your core items year round and mix in seasonal pieces. A fun piece of fashion history, the term "capsule collection" was made popular in the 70s by Susie Faux, the owner of a boutique called Wardrobe in London. A capsule collection is stylish, interchangeable and very versatile.  

Why have a capsule collection?

A capsule wardrobe is so sensible and makes life so much easier! I've been dressing with a capsule collection for the last four years and it's been life changing. I'm not a morning person (thus the vast amounts of coffee and donuts I consume to get through the AM), and stressing over what to wear would leave me feeling rushed and anxious. Why start your day that way? A capsule collection alleviates so much of that stress because everything works together. I no longer have to worry about matching separates or wear anything ill-fitting, because everything in my closet is "plug and play" and all of it fits me well.

Developing a capsule collection has helped me to refine my style and find the colors and cuts that work for both my skin tone and body-type. I also avoid the decision fatigue and anxiety that comes with getting dressed in the morning. We all make so many decisions throughout the day, why add in more stress? Instead, save your mental energy for more rewarding creative things like working on your passion project. 

Another benefit of a capsule collection is that it's smaller than a typical wardrobe. With fewer pieces doing more work (i.e. actually getting worn regularly) you can invest in better quality pieces. The idea of fewer, better is at the heart of the capsule collection. Why buy 5 or 6 mediocre quality $25 shirts, only to have them wear-out after a few washes, when you could invest in one $100 shirt that looks great and will last you for years?

Who should have a capsule collection? 

Anyone who's tired of looking at their full closet and saying "I have nothing to wear". We're all busier than ever. Save your mental energy for the important things. Capsule collections are also a great way to approach sustainable fashion. By owning fewer items, and consuming more consciously, you can reduce your environmental footprint by buying fewer, better quality pieces. Get off the fast-fashion hamster wheel, people!

Now that you know more about capsule collections, what's next? In next week's installation of our Minimalism Series, I'll talk about the best way to start or refine your capsule collection! If you aren't already, sign-up for our email list to get notified when our blog posts come out. 

Do you dress with a capsule collection?  Need a bit more help creating your capsule collection? We offer personal closet consultations.

27 Feb '17

Changes at Viscera

Posted by Ari Takata-Vasquez


When you think of ‘change’, there’s usually a certain level of dread involved. Change can be scary, stressful, and uncertain—but it can also bring growth, development, and refinement. At the shop, we’re making some changes to our business model and while it is a bit scary, I’m excited because it’s ultimately for the best. In this blog I’d like to tell you what we’ve got in store, why I’m making these changes, and how you can be a part of the transition.

Breaking from the Fashion Cycles

Currently, I source from 40+ designers/brands and go to market twice a year to buy for the next season. For example, this month I would be buying for product for September through February 2018. It’s a challenging cycle to be on because we’re constantly rushing to get product out-the-door before it ages and trying to predict what our customers will want six months from now. On top of that, we’re constantly struggling to find new designers who produce in the US. With the made in American market being challenging, some of our brands either have to up their prices season after season or unfortunately go out of business. All of this is exhausting, and I’ve realized it’s contrary to my approach to building a wardrobe. Sure, we need to account for seasonal weather changes, but ultimately, I think building a wardrobe you love means finding your style— that means finding colors and silhouettes that look good on you and your body type. Does it really matter if it’s called Spring/Summer 17? My favorite black jacket is from “Fall 2015” and I wear it year round because it’s good quality and is a timeless cut. I feel good with it on and I still get compliments whenever I wear it.


Making a Bold Move

Viscera brand clothing made in USA

So with all of this in-mind, I’m breaking from the buying norm. I’ll no longer be participating in the fashion machine—instead I’m going to focus on our Viscera brand. If you’ve been a customer for a while you know we love comfy basics. It’s something I’ve spent time refining and I’m going to expand that further into men’s and women’s fashion pieces. So the big change here is that going forward the majority of clothing at Viscera will be our own brand. This provides me more control in the styles we stock year round and allows me to respond quickly to customer requests. Another benefit is the price point; right now my average item costs about $95 and with this change our average ticket will drop to about $76, all while remaining American-made.

Additionally, our jewelry model will of production will change to respond to customer needs. Rather than ordering jewelry and then picking it up 3 weeks later, I’ll have all of our current styles in stock in both black and stainless steel in a full size run. If you want a piece made in precious metal (silver, rose gold, bronze, brass, etc.) then we will make it to order, but you’ll be able to try it on in steel before you buy. Ultimately, I’m taking my own advice and simplifying things at the shop.


Supporting Small Designers

While I’ll be focusing more on our own brand I still want to continue to support small, independent makers. I will continue stocking are locally made brands such as Lacson Ravello, Alamere Designs, and Kali Made. I love being able to let someone know the new piece they’re trying on is made here! Buying local matters. To continue supporting small makers, I'll host more pop-ups in store to help launch other small business and give them a retail presence. Having a pop-up can make a huge difference for a small business just getting their legs because it gives them the opportunity to talk directly with customers and gather feedback. If you know any one who might be looking to test out their new idea in a retail setting, send them my way!

Viscera Oakland Small Woman owned business

All of this planning happened because I gave myself some time to take a break. I had a week long vacation in Stockholm, Sweden (I swear I’ll stop talking about this trip soon). I had major jet lag because of the 9 hour time difference and couldn’t sleep. It left me with some idle thinking time which is fantastic in a new city. Everyone in Stockholm wears greyscale and I felt deeply inspired by the simplicity yet uniqueness to fashion in Stockholm, it’s functional (because it has to be with such cold Winters) but has a certain quality that’s almost architectural. During my time away I was able to think about Viscera more objectively and recalibrate my mission.

This transition period might be a little bit awkward, so bare with me. While we’re making these adjustments you can help out by getting the word out about the shop— tell your friends, write a review, and tag us on social media! I’d also love to hear your thoughts on products you’d like me to stock at the shop. Above all else, I’d love to see your beautiful faces so stop by soon and say hi!


20 Feb '17

Meet Megan Huntz

Posted by Karis Dodd

Karis here, Viscera's sales associate! Today I'm talking about a really cool brand and designer who I had the joy of meeting last year. I remember when Ari and I first met Megan (pronounced Mee-gan) and saw her collection. We were in New York in September for market week, wandering between the smaller shows in the meatpacking district. Megan was at the man/woman show in a lovely brick warehouse full of natural light. Her collection caught our eye due to her minimal use of color and interesting silhouettes. Of course our biggest fear when we see a cool designer is "what if they're not made in the USA?", so this was one of the first things we asked Megan. We quickly learned that she too is passionate about ethical clothing production, and she designs and makes all of her pieces in her home of Atlanta, Georgia. 

Megan actually has a background in industrial design as well as fine arts. She studied at the Domus Academy of Design in Milan and worked for a number of Italian fashion houses before returning to Atlanta to start her own collection. She explores fashion in a "non-traditional" way, blending her many artistic backgrounds together to create something new and special.

Walking through the collection, we saw lots of beautiful natural fabrics from raw silk to linen. We wanted to choose just a few extra special pieces that would really fit into the store while showcasing the beautiful design work Megan does, so we decided on two dresses and one beautiful and versatile overcoat.

First, we chose the Janet Dress. We loved the way that the top layer of fabric was a little sheer, leaving room for your skin to peek through at the wrists and knees. The white color and light fabric makes it the perfect dress for spring, and it can easily be worn for any occasion. Dress it up with heels for a classy party or throw on boots and a jacket for a chill spring stroll. Either way, this is a classic piece that's sure to stand the test of time.

We were also instantly drawn to the Yoonhwa Dress. The silk fabric feels incredibly soft and drapes beautifully over the body. While we love a good black dress, we actually chose to carry this style in a lovely muted blue color. Megan incorporated some beautiful colors into her spring collection - from blues and yellows to a bright cherry red. We wanted to showcase her thoughtful fabric selection, and this blue silk seemed like the right way to do it. While we don't have product photography with this design in the blue color, the next photo features a different dress made with the same colored fabric. Plus, the best way to get an idea for these beautiful pieces is to come into the store and touch and try them on for yourself! 

Finally, there was something very classic and tomboy-ish about Megan's handful of outerwear styles. We knew we had to bring the Ms. Rosalee Duster into the store because it's just the perfect spring outerwear piece. This lovely duster can be worn over just about anything! Wear it over a loose dress and heels to toughen up a more feminine look or pair it with slacks, a button down, and oxfords for a total borrowed-from-the-boys ensemble. 

Megan's pieces are truly timeless and made from fabrics that will make you feel comfortable and classy every time you wear them. Come into the store to try on one of these lovely styles, and feel free to ask Ari or I if you have any more questions about Megan and her work! 

16 Feb '17

Minimalism Series: Creating Calm

Posted by Ari Takata-Vasquez

This blog entry is part of a minimalism series. It has tips for creating a more simple life and finding ways to exercise minimalism in your everyday. Read the next installation of the series, What's a capsule collection 


I’m a huge fan of minimalism for a number of reasons, but the biggest benefit I see from living a minimalist lifestyle is the sense of calm it can create in stressful times. I know I’m not alone when I say I’m feeling more stressed lately— a survey done by the American Psychiatric Association shows Americans are seeing a rise in their stress levels following the 2016 election. Now regardless of where you stand politically, it’s important to find ways to deal with stress and to simplify your life when things get noisy.


My favorite area of minimalism is in my wardrobe. By building a well-curated wardrobe, I’m able to save my mental energy for other things. I’m not a morning person by any means, so the last thing I want to start my morning with is stress about what to wear. By building a capsule collection, I have a much smaller wardrobe (not to mention, less decisions fatigue) and everything in my closet works together. I don’t have to start my day feeling frazzled; instead I can start my day knowing I look put-together with minimal (pun intended) effort. By contrast, if you’ve ever bought pants in a ‘fun’ pattern or color, you know the struggle of trying to find something that matches and how stressful that can be when you’re already running late. 



When there’s less noise, less in the way, you can have more intentionality in your life. When you own less, you can be deliberate in what you buy and where you buy it from. If #deleteUber taught us anything, it’s that consumers are becoming more aware of their political agency via their buying power. I’ve been working toward my ideal of minimalism for the last four or five years and looking back at how I used to buy it lacked a lot of thought. I didn’t fully consider the impact of shopping locally or buying American-made. I didn’t connect those dots. Today, it’s become a core tenant of what we do at Viscera, and why I’m so passionate about helping you build a wardrobe you love. Buying American-made, buying local, and buying intentionally matters. Our time is so valuable, why spend it buying the same low-quality items over and over again? Instead, you could fill your closet with quality pieces you’ll love for years to come.


Now, you might be saying, ‘Ari this all sounds good, but where do I start?’. Well, you’re already heading down the right path if you’re reading this—you’re choosing to support a local small business and you’re interested in making your life more simple. Here’s a quick start guide for minimizing your closet. This is really great to do before you move, before packing for a trip, or just feeling like your closet is feeling stale.


  1. Low Hanging Fruit: Look at your closet and take out anything you hate or have never worn. You know you don’t like it, you’re not even sure why it’s there in the first place, right? Let it move on to an owner who can cherish it— really, just donate it. Rarely have I ever regretted getting rid of something, if anything I wonder why I didn’t do it sooner. On the other end of the spectrum, there are the things you absolutely know you don’t want to part with and are a key part of your look. Keep these in your closet as a part of your ‘core-collection’.
  2. Well Loved Pieces: We all have those much-loved items that have seen much better days. Your favorite dress has a couple of holes that you need to strategically hide? Please, it served you well, let it go. Make a “replace” list and note which pieces you love but are beyond their useful years. Keep that replace list with you when you go shopping and give yourself permission to buy items on your replace list—but only if it’s just what you're looking for and it fits well.
  3. Try it on: Now this is the part that gets a little tricky. What about the pieces you like but you’re just not sure about? Get a brutally honest friend to come over and have a mini fashion show. Put on each piece in your closet and get an honest opinion of what works and what doesn’t. This part can be tough but in the end, you’ll be left with a closet filled with things you want to wear all the time.

Need a little more help? Sign up for a closet consultation and get one-on-one advice to help you minimize your wardrobe. 

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