Soto Lifestyle: Affordable, creative, upscale and eclectic gifts

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The Soto brand is starting to feel like an empire — but one built on friendship and exceedingly good taste. Five stores have popped up in just over five years —two of them in the last few months. Soto Boutique, a clothing store,  started it all on Topanga in Woodland Hills. Soto means “South on Topanga.” The Westlake Village boutique opened just over two years ago, while the Studio City store opened nearly a year ago.

Longtime friends Jodi Perlman and  Pamela Sutton Frank  are partners in Soto Boutique. This past September, they merged with Phyllis Steinberg to build Soto Lifestyle next to the clothing boutiques in Woodland Hills and Westlake Village.  And in Soto business tradition, Steinberg and Frank’s friendship goes back twenty-one years.

Steinberg previously owned Goodness, a gift and graphic design business, which was next door to Soto Topanga. Steinberg remained in the same location, but the store is now called Soto Lifestyle. Last month, Soto Lifestyle opened a second location in Westlake next to Soto Boutique.

Soto Lifestyle differs from the Boutique because it predominately features accessories to dress your home and body. However, in the cooperative spirit of Soto, there is a small selection of clothing and shoes that Frank is responsible for buying.

Left; A trendy selection of shoes. Center; Go retro with Junk. Right. Parisian glasses and Michael Michaud Table Art. Photos: Karen Young

Left; A variety of handbags. Right; There is a selection of vases and jewelry.

The Woodland Hills store has a cozy, cottage feel, while Westlake is larger and more mod. Both stores carry the same merchandise — predominately for women and teens.

The Soto brand is about offering creative, contemporary, upscale style at a very affordable price. Steinberg has taken that philosophy and filled the two Lifestyle stores with an eclectic inventory at the same reasonable price point.

Left; Boot and rainboots are popular as well as designer look handbags and accessories. (Boots and bags$20-$60; bracelets $23)

Gemstone necklaces and bracelets  mix with home design pieces, like retro green serving plates and vintage glassware by a local company called Junk.  Michael Michaud Table Art with its gold serving pieces add elegance.  Ceramic bowls with peace signs create hippie chic.  Parisian vintage-look wine glasses bring charming sophistication. Stylish scarves, handbags, boots and shoes are surrounded by candles and vases. Fun gift books sit amidst the displays.

Steinberg, who is a graphic artist with a very creative bent, is very much into discovering whimsical items such as handmade signs with clever expressions, or tiny cups with numbers that are ideal for party talk. She is also a fan of initials and stocks an interesting inventory, including plates, stationary, coasters, cutting boards and glass pitchers. A really fun gift item this season is the “Sleep Suit,” which a la first class airplane style, includes a 100% cotton black tee and pants in a small bag in two styles — one with the words “om” or “love and happiness.”

Left; Gorgeous vintage look glassware, frames, vases and serving dishes ($10-$60); Right; The sleep suit comes in a bag with a 100% cotton tee and pants inside ($39).

While perusing the store, I noted many items seen elsewhere for much higher prices. Finding a wonderful gift for $20-$30 (or less)  is no problem here. Steinberg and her employees are all very welcoming and exceedingly helpful in choosing the right gift — or just making a gift more creative.  Gift wrapping is done in bags with special ribbons with expressions.

Steinberg also offers custom graphic design services for logos, cards, stationary, invitations and more — just ask.

Soto Lifestyle is all about stylish and creative eye candy — and “living what you love,” as Steinberg says.  Simply, it is a collection that turns heads — all at an affordable price.

Left; Decorative candles. Right; Hats and clutches. All around $20.

Soto Lifestyle: 4863 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91364; 2895 Agoura Road Westlake Village, CA 91361

Soto Boutique: 4865 Topanga Canyon Blvd Woodland, CA 91364; 2899 Agoura Rd. Westlake Village, CA 91362; 12206 Ventura Blvd. Studio City, CA 91604

My Daily Find reported on Soto Boutique in September 2009 (when there were only two stores!). Read the article here.

Karen Young is the Founder/Publisher of My Daily Find. Got a story idea? Something to say? Email her:

Soto Lifestyle in Westlake Village. The other location is in Woodland Hills on Topanga.

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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