Shop Talk: Emily Kopplin,

Co-owner and Curator of Bay View’s URSA

BY NICOLE KIEFERT  |  PHOTOS BY DAVID SZYMANSKI


If you’re searching for an eclectic boutique with a little bit of everything, look no further than URSA in Bay View, which opened in October. The shop, named after the Latin word for bear, is co-owned by husband and wife duo John Sturdy and Emily Kopplin and sells apothecary products, from charcoal hand soap and body butter to rosewater facial toner, as well as plants, handcrafted jewelry and unique home décor. Kopplin carefully curates a smart mix of both locally and globally sourced items, working directly with artisans and companies worldwide. Here the entrepreneur shares her go-to Milwaukee area picks and places.

Who is your favorite local jewelry designer?
It’s so hard to choose because there are so many talented people here. Actually, I’m wearing this ring — it’s by Tasha Rae Jewelry. She has a shop that is connected to another shop called Commonplace, and they’re over (on Delaware Avenue in Bay View). It’s a cool little area, and she’s just a phenomenal jewelry designer. Simple, classic, beautiful designs. She has fine jewelry, and I think she has a line of just more everyday wear — basic, not-as-expensive stuff. But she’s killing it. She has some really nice stuff.

What is your favorite boutique?
Commonplace is a really, really awesome shop. (The owner, Zach Peterson,) has just the most perfectly curated selection of home goods. He’s got some killer
sunglasses in there (and) wallets, and you can tell everything is just stylized so perfectly. So it’s definitely worth going into and checking out.

Emily’s in-store picks:
Bottom left, clockwise: Kantha Quilts; URSA Soaking Salts; Lindsay Lewis Totem Necklace; West Third Brand Smoky
Fig eau de toilette

Name your favorite Milwaukee bar.
I have to say, probably (The) Vanguard because they’re good friends of ours, and they catered our wedding. The food is excellent. Every kind of specialty sausage you could want — and good beer, good drinks, good food, good people, great patio. I end up spending more time there than anywhere else.  

What do you like to do in your spare time?
(My husband and I) really like doing outdoorsy stuff, even in the winter. I love living in a place that has seasons, so it’s nice to get out. We like to do a lot of camping and hiking. We were actually able to get two days off and went up to Devil’s Lake and went camping and hiking. I hadn’t been since I was a kid, and my husband had never been. We would (previously) go camping at the Dunes in Indiana and Michigan, (but) not too much around here. We just like exploring outside. We have a boat, so it’s nice to go out on the lake in summer too.  

Otherwise it feels kind of crazy to be able to do what I like doing every day now. It’s terrifying to quit your day job and start your own day job, but it’s the most rewarding thing ever. I find myself working a lot in my spare time, whether it’s just looking for new brands or other things I can bring into the shop. But yeah, I would say (my favorite thing to do in my spare time) is just spending time outdoors. We have a dog, and we take her on a lot of adventures. (Friendly
dogs are also welcome at URSA.)

Visit URSA:
2534 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.,
(414) 312-7188 , shopursa.com

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