You could call it a fashion travel agency of sorts.
Salt Collection, which opened in Encinitas on March 4, may look like an ordinary 1930s beach cottage. As people walk inside, it’s immediately known that it’s something more — a quaint fashion boutique that carries brands from all over the world.
The idea for the shop on Coast Highway 101, which is owned by Sophie Machado — wife of professional surfer Rob Machado — was to incorporate collections that the couple has discovered in their travels around the world.
Sophie Machado, who has lived in Encinitas for seven years with her family, said she and her husband have come to know many of the designers and owners personally.
“I originally just wanted to open an online store, but both of my parents taught me to dream big and shoot for the stars,” she said. “I wanted to create the experience, and I felt like I couldn’t do that through just photographs. I wanted people to be able to feel like they were a part of meeting the people we’ve met along the way. I felt like the only way to do that was to open a store and be able to create an environment.”
Sophie Machado said she decided to open the store in October and received the keys to the building, located at 930 South Coast Highway 101, in December.
The shop sells mostly women’s clothing — basics, tops, bottoms, swimwear, outerwear, active wear and shoes — but also has racks for unisex children’s and men’s clothing.
The dozens of brands include People Footwear, Steve Madden, Jaye Swim, Acacia Swimwear Olympia Activewear and Roarke Revival.
Sophie Machado said customers can build an outfit, including shoes, tops and pants, at the store for between $75 and $200.
“We wanted something that would be affordable,” she said. “We didn’t want to go super high-end and scare people away. ... That’s how I shop. I’m not going to spend a ton of money on something that’s just trendy. But if it’s a great piece of furniture or an amazing jacket I can have multiple uses for, then I’m going to definitely put out the cash for it.”
All the fixtures inside, including decorations, couches and plants are also all for sale.
“I don’t like walking into a store, liking something and being told it’s display-only,” Sophie Machado said. “Everything in our store is for sale.”
Rob Machado also sells one-of-a-kind, gloss-polished surfboards that are available exclusively at Salt Collection.
Candles, sunglasses and teas also fill shelves in the store, which still maintains its classic bungalow feel.
The Machados have kept a working kitchen with its original green tile in the store, where they serve cups of coffee and ring up customers.
People can also choose to lounge on the back patio, which is adorned with outdoor chairs and pillows, as well as a garden.
“We wanted to keep it as original as possible,” Sophie Machado said. “This is where Rob grew up and where we’re living. This spot is more than we could have ever dreamed of. There’s a ton of real estate around here, but I wanted something that was unique, had character and had some sort of life to it. I think we found that here.”
She said Salt Collection will always remain in Encinitas, but she does see herself opening stores internationally as well. An online store for Salt Collection is also expected to go live within the next month. Phone: (760) 487-5920. Salt Collection is open 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.