Bonnie Powers and Jeffrey Levin are the wife and husband co-owners of Poet and/the Bench, their retail/gallery concept in Mill Valley and online.
This duo is all about careful curation and connecting customers to their artists in an intimate way through story. Any time I am in downtown Mill Valley, I stop by to say hello and always find something unique. The following is an interview with Powers and Levin:
What do you do?
Powers: We curate indy and emerging designer and artist collections across jewelry, art and home goods for our shop, Poet and/the Bench. We love uncommon discoveries, giving them a voice and linking you to the narrative and human experience. Jeffrey is a jewelry designer, and I am a writer-branding-former creative agency exec.
Where do you live?
How long have you lived in Marin?
Nearly nine years.
Where can we find you when not at work?
Powers: We love hiking Matt Davis, Big Rock and Coast View trails.
If you had to convince someone how awesome Marin was, where would you take them?
Levin: Limantour Beach is as much about the getting there as it is being there. In either direction, you experience the vast openness of an incredible four-mile beach. With sand dunes, old whale bones and the bugling of the Tule elk.
What is one thing Marin is missing?
Levin: We’d love a cool speakeasy type lounge with DJs playing vibey electronic music.
What’s one bit of advice you’d share with your fellow Marinites?
Powers: Shop local. So many owner-run stores are here that ignite a creative atmosphere worth getting to know—like us!
If you could invite anyone to a special dinner, who would they be?
Powers: Louise Bourgeois, “Coco” Chanel, David Byrne, Lil Nas X, Greta Thunberg and X González.
What is some advice you wish you knew 20 years ago?
Powers: Stop fighting it. All is perfectly imperfect.
Levin: Pay more attention to finances and investing.
What is something that in 20 years from now will seem cringeworthy?
Levin: Fast furniture.
Big question. What is one thing you’d do to change the world?
Levin: Ban capitalism.
Powers: Fund tuition-free higher education to anyone, anywhere.
Keep up with Powers and Levin at @poetandthebench on Instagram and online at poetandthebench.com.
Nish Nadaraja was on the founding team at Yelp, serves on the San Anselmo Arts Commission and attempts to play pickleball at Fairfax’s Cañon Club.
Thrilled to be part of this series! Thanks for including us… and looking forward to seeing our beautiful community and visitors in our shop. Cheers, Bonnie & Jeffrey