Shop: SF Dance Gear
Store Owner Name: Rose Kirshner
Location: San Francisco, CA
Expertise: Personalized pointe shoe fittings - up to an hour per appointment, so no feeling rushed!
What is your background and what led you to start your business?
Rose Kirshner started dancing at Berkeley Ballet Theater at age four, and she continues to dance in the Bay Area. She studied ballet and modern dance through high school and college. Rose graduated Magna Cum Laude from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle with a BFA in Dance.
Since returning to the Bay Area, she has performed with Hanna Rose Stangebye, Catherine Liu, Blue Scorpion Dance Theater, and No Strings Attached Dance Company. In addition to dancing, Rose also worked as a pointe shoe fitter at San Francisco Dancewear for four years. When she learned that San Francisco Dancewear was closing its doors, Rose started making plans to open a new dance store. SF Dance Gear is the result. Rose is happy to be sharing her passion for dance with the Bay Area dance community.
What keeps you going and doing what you're doing as a store owner?
It's the moments when a dancer finds exactly what they're looking for, and their eyes light up with excitement. It's in those moments that I know, this is why I do this. Although the pandemic was the hardest time to be running a dance store, it allowed me to reconnect face to face (while wearing masks) with my customers.
What do you love most about providing dancewear to your community?
As a Bay Area native, I love the feeling of support and family. The dance world is so small and tight-knit. I love it when dancers recognize each other in the store and wave, "hi!"
What are some favorite brands that your store carries, and why?
I love the chance to carry a variety of options. I do carry some of the big, recognizable brands, but also some that are smaller or even local. I just partnered with a former dancer who started designing costumes and now offers dancewear at SF Dance Gear, TangentFit.
What sets your store apart from other dancewear retailers, and why?
The individualized attention during your shoe fitting appointment allows for a full fitting, whether the dancer is beginner, advanced, or professional. Every dancer receives the chance to try on as many shoes as necessary to ensure the best option. Each dancer, and each dancer’s feet are unique, even from one foot to the other. There's no "one shoe for everyone."
Are there any new dancewear and/or accessory trends you’ve noticed lately?
I love the push towards shopping small/local businesses, supporting causes, and inclusivity. These are well-needed ideas that I so appreciate.
What are some of your best-selling products?
As a professional pointe shoe fitter, I sell a lot of pointe shoes! But I also have lots of leotards options, both basics and fashion, as well as other dance apparel. And I never seem to have enough stretchy ribbon on hand - it sells like crazy.
A lot of dancers struggle to find pointe shoes that fit correctly and flatter their feet. Do you have any advice for finding the perfect pair of pointe shoes?
Come on in to SF Dance Gear! (Or your local fitter.) There's no comparison to an in-person fitting. However, in a pinch, a virtual fitting can be a great option. I have fit several dancers via video and by sending several shoe styles/sizes. Then, they return whatever didn't work and keep what did. The most important thing to remember is that your foot is unique and not like anyone else's. What might work for one dancer might not work for you, so keep looking until you find "your shoe."
Pointe shoe fitting at SF Dance Gear
In your opinion, is there a “must-have” item for any dancer for a specific type of dancer?
Your "must-have" has got to be something that makes you happy! It could be a fun leotard, a comfy warm-up, or a cute accessory. Doesn't matter which, so long as it brings a smile to your face.
What made you decide to carry Pointe Paint?
I strive to help my community. I saw that Pointe Paint was filling a need to make your pointe shoe any color, particularly different skin tones. I'm so glad that Pointe Paint was invented!
What’s one thing you want customers to know about you and/or your store?
As a dancer myself, I want to share my love of dance with my customers. I can relate to the dislike of injuries or blisters. I know the excitement of getting a first pair of pointe shoes. Although I might not be dancing as much as I used to, the love of dance is what drives me and my store. Dance is always in our hearts, no matter what.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with the PointePeople community?As I always say, "Have fun dancing!" If you're not having fun while you're dancing, then what's the pointe? 😉
Location: 551 Hayes St. | San Francisco, CA 94102
Instagram: @sfdancegear | Facebook