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Anti-Chain Store Holiday Roundup
By Jialin Luh
The proprietors of these businesses are presenting you with a great excuse to pay this little corner of the Richmond a visit. At April in Paris, the 10% discount presents an attractive opportunity to snag that popular toothpick case in colorful leathers featured by Architectural Digest a few months ago -- “I can’t keep them in stock,” said store owner and crafter of all the items in the store Beatrice Amblard.
Amblard received her training through Hermes in Paris and was transferred from their Parisian store to the San Francisco branch in 1997. In 2000, she opened April in Paris, specializing in custom leather goods. Today, the biggest trend Amblard sees is in women’s handbags; she makes custom handbags so her customers can specify the exact features and dimensions they want. Larger handbags are in vogue these days. Her calf bags will set you back on average $2500, and $5000 for alligator. Prices vary with style and size, but all are one of a kind.
Wallets are also popular in Amblar’s boutique. They start at $195 and can go up to $2500 for an alligator women’s wallet. Other handmade accessories include belts (—$425 for a calf belt with silver buckle to $2200 for an alligator belt with a18kt gold buckle). Ambler crafts all her items with centuries-old techniques. Credit card cases and glasses cases round out her product offering and you can find items priced anywhere from $95 to $5500. If this is out of your budget, stop by for the accordian music or to simply watch a master leather artisan at work.