Whimsical Shop Trill is a Treasure Trove of Gifts That Give Back

by | Nov 2019

Brenda Francis, Trill's curator and buyer

Brenda Francis styled by Paul Felipe. Photo: Rachel Nadeau

Nestled into the corner of Sunnyside Gardens’ massive lot on 44th and France rests a beautifully decorated boutique called Trill. Inside is a treasure trove of knick-knacks, jewelry, home goods and gift-ready items. Most give back to those in need.

“You read about where retail is going. People want less, and what they do want to buy is purposeful and has a story so they can pass along that story,” Brenda Francis, Trill’s curator and buyer, says.

Sunnyside Gardens launched Trill in 2018. It’s a seasonal store, only open from March through December. Francis travels to New York every summer on buying trips partly to find the latest products that benefit nonprofits and charities. Trill carries Pura Vida bracelets, which donate a portion of its proceeds that provide full-time jobs to artisans all over the world. They also carry Good Paper cards handmade by women rescued from human trafficking in the Philippines.

“There’s so much product out there. Our goal is to bring great products to people they wouldn’t necessarily see someplace else,” Francis says while picking up a large glass jar filled with $1 plastic bracelets made from recycled flip flops in Africa.

The focus on products that do well for others and the planet is due to the store’s name. “I Googled hip and current words. A whole list came up,” she says. “Right away I hooked on to Trill because one of the other names we were looking at was Trillium which is a perennial [flower]. If you’re trill, you’re true and you’re real. It’s to be true and real.”

This inspired local boutique offers unique, thoughtful and charitable gifts.

Trill also focuses on products that help clean the ocean. There are bracelets made from one pound of plastic recovered from the ocean. In addition, Francis stocks a line of handbags made from recycled plastic.

Trill has a mix of traditional and whimsical items, especially in their home goods section, which rests on a large shelf along one wall with picture windows. Marble spice bowls with tiny gold spoons sit on top of a lazy Susan made out of round rough-cut tree bark. There is also an eclectic collection of dishtowels with prints ranging from the state outline of Minnesota to animals. Edina mom Amy Parish frequents Sunnyside Gardens and wandered into Trill. She was delighted to find llama dishtowels.

“They were unique. I hadn’t seen them other places. They became a need not a want,” Parish says. “It was under 10 bucks. Why not add a little cheer to the house? This is perfect. I love the little things like that that have big impact.”

Francis says she hopes Trill will have a big impact on holiday shoppers.

“For Christmas we amp up the gift giving offerings,” she says. “You can run in here and get something quick, easy, classy with a card and you’re on your way.”

Trill will close for the winter along with Sunnyside Gardens shortly before Christmas and reopen in March 2020.

3723 W. 44th St., Minneapolis
Instagram: @trilltrueandreal


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