Meet our co-founders: Monelle Totah and Gary McNatton

H|G Store San Francisco

Monelle Totah and Gary McNatton founded Hudson Grace to offer a different kind of shopping experience, rooted in the casual elegance of coastal California living. “To create Hudson Grace we looked to our own lifestyles, to our own homes, to what we use to entertain,” Monelle said in an interview with Lonny Magazine.

The retailer of unique dinnerware, glassware, table linens and napkins, flatware, candles, and other serving and entertaining products and home accessories opened its first shop in San Francisco’s stylish Presidio Heights neighborhood in 2012. The co-founders are best friends, and between them have years of experience with some of the country’s largest and most influential retailers. Hudson Grace immediately attracted an uncommon amount of attention from the design press and the blogosphere. “Just stepping inside will make you want to throw a dinner party,” says House Beautiful in its guide to America’s best design shops.

Monelle Totah: “I’m the ultimate consumer”

Monelle Totah brings her personal views about entertaining into everything she chooses for Hudson Grace. The Louisiana native has extensive retail experience in home and tabletop product development for Williams-Sonoma and Banana Republic.

She scours markets across Europe for one-of-a-kind items that sometimes wind up as the basis for new product lines made exclusively for Hudson Grace. “In a way, I’m the ultimate consumer,” Totah explained to San Francisco’s 7×7 Magazine. At home, the magazine reports, her eclectic European collectors’ items become unique serving ware for her regular dinner parties. “I don’t just design with beauty and practicality in mind. I buy that way, too.”

Gary McNatton: Passionate about authenticity

Gary McNatton brings strong ideas about design, shape and presentation to his partnership with Monelle. “Mo and I are always learning from each other,” he tells 7×7. McNatton has three decades of experience delivering award-winning design and production in personal care, fine fragrance, home product and package design. During his eight-year tenure as Senior Vice President at Gap Inc., Gary developed the retailer’s personal-care business into a $200 million-a-year business.

McNatton is passionate about the authenticity and simplicity of Hudson Grace products. “There’s a comfort in holding something beautiful and chunky and not at all delicate.” McNatton says. “We go for things that are meant to be worn, to be used, to be loved.”