Paula Purcell, at top center, owns the Paula James shop 365 Miller Avenue.

A bit more than a year ago, Mill Valley resident Paula Purcell dove headlong into opening the Paula James clothing, art and accessories retail shop at 365 Miller Avenue, the space formerly occupied by Anne Taylor’s Sienna Rose store.

In doing so, Purcell made a leap of faith that she could balance her career as an asset manager for TDA Investment in San Mateo with a more creative but equally demanding role of owning her own retail shop. 

“I have a fun, quirky side to me,” says Purcell, who lives in Blithedale Canyon. “People think I’m sophisticated but I also have a part of me that’s out there. It’s been fun showing off that side of me with this shop.”

Purcell will be doing just that with a trio of holiday events this month designed to showcase some of the artisans and creators she’s worked with over the past year. Those events are:


Saturday, December 7: Local artist Amy Schmidt makes “endearing pouches and pillows with all your favorite dog and kitty faces,” Purcell says, and Paula James will be showcasing those pouches and pillows at the same time next-door neighbor Hopalong Animal Rescue holds its own pet adoption event. “I enjoy using a variety of color and textures in my work, mostly up-cycled designer fabric samples,” Schmidt says. “As I have moved into my animal lines, I especially love the challenge of trying to capture a bit of each animal’s personality with the bits of fabric.”    We will have a few examples of Amy’s pieces in the shop prior to the event for a sneak preview.  

Monday, December 9 (12-5:30pm): The ever-popular Very Fairy Manda will be at Paula James to festoon your hair with holiday sparkles. Call the shop soon (415-384-8903) during business hours to book this relaxing treatment, as appointments are going fast.


Saturday, December 14 (12-4pm): Adorn and Mayumix Trunk Show. Becky Houha, local purveyor of antique, vintage and estate jewelry will be at the shop with cases of gorgeous and unique jewelry that are destined to become your favorite family heirlooms. Also, Mayumi from Mayumix Botanical Designs will join Becky with her hand-dyed scarves. Each are one-of-a-kind designs using fresh leaves and flowers printed on the fabric using minerals and tanins to transfer the natural colors and shapes onto fibers. 

The 411: Paula James shop hosts holiday events on Dec. 7, Dec. and Dec. 14. MORE INFO.

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