Kinda Kayyali’s status as an all-star gift-giver was solidified when she introduced her mom to Omar. The 4-foot stuffed camel greeted her mom one Christmas morning when Kinda was in high school. Her mom, who is a collector of all things camel, was shocked to see Omar standing in her living room.
“She was like, ‘How on earth did you sneak that in here?!’” Kinda recalled. “You can’t sneak anything into my mom’s house.”
“I’ve always loved giving gifts. Ever since I was little, my mom has said I was more excited about the card I was giving her than the present I was getting.”
Years later, Kinda is still in love with giving, and makes a living helping others give great gifts. For a little over two years, her online market and gift shop — SincerelySF — has sold local San Francisco goods and gift boxes. Shoppers can choose from dozens of unique goods by local vendors to build their own gift box, or select one of the boxes hand-curated by Kinda.
On the site, you’ll find everything from soaps, candles and tea towels to pickling kits and sleeping masks. And as a passionate foodie who, when asked her favorite restaurant was only able to narrow it down to her top eight, Kinda couldn’t help but slip some edible goods in there as well.
As the former manager of a small boutique near her apartment in the Lower Haight, Kinda said her conversations with vendors kick-started her commitment to supporting small business.
“I got to talking to them about having a small business in such an expensive place and what it takes to run it, and I just gained so much respect for all the makers that we worked with.”
Now, Kinda features only those small, independent makers on her site, and is always on the lookout for new unique, high-quality products. She frequently scours the shelves of Bi-Rite and Rainbow for new local vendors, and you can almost always count on seeing her at local craft fairs.
“I’m a little guy supporting the little guys — and this isn’t a hard city to sell that to.”
Kinda said she feels like San Francisco’s steadfast support of small business comes from the city’s history.
“San Francisco was always this outpost, you know, it was so far away from the rest of the country,” she said. “It was just kind of a maverick doing it’s own thing right from the start.”
San Francisco’s “do it our own way” attitude is just one of the many things that Kinda loves about the city. She moved here with an ex-boyfriend over 16 years ago, after going to college in SoCal and catching the California bug.
“I don’t drive, so if you fall in love with California and you don’t drive then there’s only one place to live — and that’s here.”
And she said she couldn’t be happier to have ended up here.
“I love San Francisco. Like, really really love this city. My partner and I were just talking yesterday about moving somewhere and I almost started crying. I can’t even think about it.”
“I love the architecture, the vibe, everything. I just love walking out the door and feeling like you’re just somewhere so special. It does not feel like ‘Anywhere, USA.’ You’re here.”
Head to Kinda’s site at sincerelysf.com to check out her awesome local goods. And for more gift ideas by local vendors, ask your Scout!