Over the last 15 years, Tran Wills has opened and operated an array of local businesses—from the nontoxic nail salon Base Coat (which closed its last location this past fall) to Fabric Lab clothing boutique to Super Ordinary art gallery—all with a common mission to promote inclusivity and transparency in retail.

Her latest endeavor, Matriarch Mercantile, which recently opened in Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace, follows suit. Ninety-nine percent of the home goods, pantry items, gifts, and fashion accessories that Wills offers in the shop are created by women- and BIPOC-owned businesses. “I have always wanted to be representative in the retail world by carrying brands that are Asian-owned and Black-owned, Indigenous-owned and women-owned,” Wills says.

Inside the small and serene boutique, shelves are stacked with products by makers from near and far, all painstakingly vetted by Wills. “How was this made, who was it made by, and where was it made? Those are the questions I ask myself,” she says. Animal Handmade’s leather clutches, Nopalera cactus soaps, Blade & Knoll cutting boards, Kim Hau Ceramics pottery, and Wills’ own Base Coat nail polishes are among the products that have made the cut. Wills has also partnered with local art collective Babe Walls to feature seasonally rotating exhibitions—with pieces available for purchase—in the shop. (For the current show, Denver artist Chloé Duplessis created 15 original canvas collages that celebrate the Black female experience.)

“It’s a way to share everything I love—the makers, art, and things I want to surround myself with,” Wills says of her beloved boutique. “Matriarch is my version of being intentional about showing people that you can buy affordable, beautiful things and support your community [all at once].”

Kitchen Helpers

Shop some of Wills’ favorite pantry staples available at Matriarch Mercantile.

1. Diaspora Co. single-origin Indian spices like Nagauri cumin, Makhir ginger, and Pragati turmeric; $12 each

2. Omsom Southeast Asian sampler sauce starter packs featuring Vietnamese Lemongrass BBQ, Thai Larb, and Filipino Sisig flavors; $29 for pack of six starters

3. Nguyen Coffee Supply Vietnamese-grown coffee beans in Loyalty, Truegrit, and Moxy; $16 each

This article was originally published in 5280 Home February/March 2022.
Josie Sexton
Josie Sexton
Josie Sexton is a contributor to 5280, where she covers topics ranging from gardening to home goods to dining destinations.