Style & Shopping

Style File: Annapolis’ Green & Bean Boutique Specializes in Eco-Friendly Gifts and Home Goods

Meet owner Ali Mulaga, who fills her store with brands that resonate with modern design and strong, sustainable integrity.
—Photography by Mike Morgan

This spring, Annapolis Town Center welcomed Green & Bean Boutique, a slow-luxury shop for all your eco-friendly gifts and home goods. “Intentional” is the word we’d use when describing this curation of products. Ali Mulaga filled her store with brands that resonate with modern design and strong, sustainable integrity, providing that rare blend of products that look and do good.

How Green & Bean was created?
I’ve been making candles out of repurposed bottles and essential oils for the past couple of years and wanted to move away from the market space and into a brick-and-mortar, but I wanted to carry more than just candles. I still wanted to keep that same ethos of sustainability and eco-consciousness, so when I started looking around for products to sell, I was looking for brands that matched those values rather than specific product types. We knew what we wanted to do and what we wanted the space to become, and the opportunity to open in Annapolis came up.

How do you source Green & Bean products?
I have criteria in mind: The items must be beautiful, ethically sourced, and eco-conscious. It doesn’t really matter what the product is; it could be anything from kid’s stuff to hair accessories, a bag to a greeting card, so long as it matches the ethics of what we hold dear. I want to show a more design-driven side to sustainability. I feel like there’s an aesthetic associated with sustainable goods, and if that doesn’t match your personal style, then you might not really care to delve into the eco-friendly world that much. But from what I see and continue to find are sustainably made items that exist for any person of any style. And often, mindful ethics at the forefront can lead to better design.

What are some of your favorite brands you stock?
We have a vegan leather brand, Allégorie, where everything is made with apples and cactuses instead of animal or PVC leather, which is just plastic. They actually don’t do a lot of wholesale, but I reached out and told them what Green & Bean was about and asked if they would want to sell in the store, and they liked what we were doing enough. Leather literally made from plants is just incredible to me. Anchal is another brand. They’re a nonprofit, and all the money they make goes into financial, educational, and health benefits for the women who work for them in India. The textile goods they make are so beautiful. You can’t tell from looking at their products that they’re driven by sustainability and fair trade like there’s more substance the more you examine it. It’s nice to be able to tell people more about where the things they’re purchasing came from and show how good of an impact these brands can make.

What’s the story behind the name?
Gwyneth Paltrow said that names with a double letter always do better: GOOP is literally just her initials with a double “O” in the middle. I really just like green and everyone associates sustainability with green, right? My friend and I were saying names out loud, and Green & Bean sounded cute, fit the formula, and—green beans, it felt catchy and familiar enough.