My Kind of Slavery

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Earlier this month, local fashion addict and gal-about-town Kim Connector launched Fashion Slave, a tour service for locals and outta-towners seeking an expert to guide them on a curated tour of the city’s best independent boutiques and designer studios.

I was smitten with the idea the minute Kim started telling me about her tours, which focus on unique local shops, galleries and designer workspaces. She came up with the idea after talking to several concierges at downtown hotels and discovering that many city visitors never make it outside the blocks immediately surrounding Union Square. And those of us obsessed with San Francisco’s indie shops know what a blooming tragedy that is. But Kim brought up a good point that I often forget: if you’re not from here, getting off the BART at 16th and Mission can be a little freaky – I mean, I love the Mission (it’s my home, after all), but show a snapshot of that corner to a well-heeled individual in search of cute little boutiques, and it’s likely girlfriend is going to be heading back underground to the sterile safety of the Westfield Centre.

But I digress. I was talking about Kim. Whatever you do, don’t call her a personal shopper. She doesn’t want to pick stuff out for you or your mom from the Midwest. She’s got the fashion sense for it, but that’s just not her bag. What is? San Francisco’s many hidden spots.

Hire Kim for a three-hour walking tour, and she’s likely to lead you to places like Miranda Caroligne, Lemon Twist, CandyStore or Skunkfunk. She’ll also arrange a tour of appointment-only studios and ateliers for ladies who want to fill a day with a series of private fittings for original pieces. Tacking on cars, drivers and other perks can be added at an extra cost. Tours start at $225 for three hours and increase in price depending on the number of peeps in your couture-hungry crew.

Oh, and one last thing. Kim doesn’t take commissions from the boutiques themselves. When they offer her kickbacks for bringing in the bodies, she asks store owners to offer tour-goers discounts instead and several have agreed to knock 10 or 20 percent off purchases.