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Eastside Style Spotlight

style feature

Written by Lauren Hunsberger

Photography by Taryn Emerick

Chanel Smith,
for Smith & Main

Reflections magazine: What inspired you to open Smith & Main?

Chanel Smith: It has always been my dream to open my own clothing boutique. I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and small-business owners, so I knew that with hard work and the proper education and experience I could make this dream a reality. As a result, I dedicated myself to doing just that after graduating from high school. I got a degree in retail merchandising and product development as well as a minor in business from Florida State University. I gained experience across the country for over eight years in many different aspects of the industry including wholesale, buying, management and, of course, retail operations. When a retail space in my dream location of Old Bellevue became available, I jumped on the opportunity and Smith & Main was born.

RM: Why did you choose downtown Bellevue for the location?

CS: I grew up on the Eastside, just outside of Bellevue, so this city has always felt like home to me. I also saw a need in the market for a bigger variety of places for women to shop, especially in a boutique setting. I love the small, intimate feeling that Old Bellevue and Main Street has, and to be a part of a community that supports local businesses was very important to me. I knew a large part of my clientele base also lived on the Eastside, so it was the perfect place for me to set up shop.

RM: How would you describe the style represented in your boutique?

CS: Stylish, everyday clothing is the focus of Smith & Main. Of course, it varies a little from that, especially seasonally, as we have lots of dressier dresses for events and weddings in store now, as well as more loungewear and gift items during the holiday season. Smith & Main is a place where clients can be dressed head to toe for a variety of different occasions and where they can shop classic, staple items as well as on-trend merchandise at an accessible price point.

RM: What is most important to you when choosing the brands to carry?

CS: When I am choosing brands and merchandise for the store, the first thing I ask myself is “Who can I see wearing this?” Clothing has to be wearable! No matter how trendy something is, if I can’t picture my customers wearing the style, it doesn’t get bought. I try to have a good assortment of new, unique brands as well as a selection of recognizable brands that my customers already know and love.

RM: How do you describe your personal style?

CS: I would describe my personal style as classic, feminine, with a little bit of edge. I love experimenting with new trends and what’s hot in the market, but I only wear things that I absolutely love and that make me feel good. Fashion should spark joy and the power of a good outfit to me is everything. A good outfit can (and should!) inspire happiness and confidence. One of my favorite style quotes is “Life isn’t perfect, but your outfit can be.” Truer words, in my opinion, have never been spoken.

RM: Who are your style icons?

CS: My ultimate style icon is Victoria Beckham. She is the epitome of chic classic style, and she does it all while balancing a busy life filled with career, family and fun. I draw daily style inspiration as well from all my customers and the amazing women around me. I also love looking at fashion publications as well as social media and fashion blogs to gain outfit and style inspiration.

RM: What fashion trend do you wish would disappear forever?

CS: The clunky “Dad” sneaker trend for women has got to go. Those don’t look good on anyone in my opinion, no matter how cool you are. I am also not a fan of the fanny pack or belt bag trend. Practical, yes. But stylish, no.

 

RM: What trends or looks are in for this fall?

CS: Animal print, animal print, animal print! Any and all animal prints seem to be on trend this fall season, but especially leopard, zebra and snake print. Expect to see it everywhere and on everything including clothing, accessories and footwear.

 

RM: Is there anything else about Smith & Main you want people to know?

CS: Smith & Main is more than just a clothing store; it is just a fun place to be! I run a business, so of course I want people to come in and buy something that they will love, but it is equally important to me that my customers feel welcome, comfortable and confident in the store. I aspire to have a place where women not only want to shop but where they just want to stop in, say hello and hang out for a bit. It is so important, especially now with how big online shopping and e-commerce is, that we create an experience in store that our customers will value.

 

shopsmithandmain.com

 

Patricia Markevitch,
for Alicia Peru

Reflections magazine: What inspired you and your mother, Alicia, to open Alicia Peru?

Patricia Markevitch: My mother (Alicia) and I had been a wholesaler for 10 years and wanted to connect and be in touch with customers! We thrive by interacting with our customers and are energized to see them find joy and confidence in their purchases. The Alicia Peru boutique is our first stand-alone retail shop, and it realizes the full range of Alicia’s ethos, which includes women’s fashion, accessories and gifts. The boutique is a tribute to years of designing with wonderful fabrics and materials from Alicia’s native Peru: alpaca, pima cotton, gold, silver and horn.

 

RM: Why did you choose downtown Bellevue for the location?

PM: Old Main Street in Bellevue was our only option because this is where our local customer base is. We are a local women-owned business; we have joined a local retail community that promotes and supports local retailers and designers.

 

RM: How would you describe the style represented in your boutique?

PM: Our style is contemporary women’s separates that use top-quality fabrics and fibers like alpaca and pima cotton. Our products are timeless with nuances of the current trends in color, cut and design. We are not faddish, fast or disposable fashion.

 

RM: What is most important to you when choosing the brands to carry?

PM: We are all about sustainable luxury. We support and carry products by local and women-owned businesses. We are in the slow-fashion arena and like our products to have some component of handmade/finished details or refined artisanal uniqueness.

 

RM: How do you describe your personal style?

PM: Alicia’s personal style is elegant, classic, timeless and tailored . . . in the manner of Carolina Herrera. My personal style is more eclectic in a mix of high/low fashion and styling. Never a total brand dresser. Cosmopolitan with an ode to European styling.

 

RM: Who are your style icons?

PM: Alicia’s style icons are Carolina Hererra, Christine Lagarde, Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert. My style icons include Sofia Coppola, Cate Blanchett, Emmanuelle Alt.

 

RM: What fashion trend do you wish would disappear forever?

PM: Acid-washed jeans, onesies for adults and bicycle pants as daywear.

 

RM: What trends or looks are in for this fall?

PM: Suit dressing and tailored coat jackets—double-breasted, trench and classic tie waist. Capes and a reboot of ’70s styling à la Annie Hall. We loved the Celine fall/winter 2019 looks. Blush pink, creamy pastels and copper-brown hues to intermix with perennial fall/winter color schemes of charcoal gray and black. Animal prints for dresses, shirts and accessories like shawls and handbags.

 

RM: Is there anything else about Alicia Peru you want people to know?

PM: We are a mother-and-daughter local business. Alicia began her career in fashion as a model in the 1980s working in downtown Seattle at heritage retailers such as Frederick & Nelson, Littler and I. Magnin (none of which continue to this day). Me and my husband and children returned four years ago to the Pacific Northwest after living and working for 15 years in Europe.

 

aliciaperu.com

 

Kendra Farmer,
for Linen & ivory

 

Reflections magazine: What inspired you to open Linen & Ivory?

Kendra Farmer: I’ve always had a creative side. When I had my first two babies, I started making pillows as a hobby for myself and friends. There was a quick demand and Linen & Ivory was born.

 

RM: How would do you describe the style represented in your pillows?

KF: Modern Farmhouse. My ideal customer is someone that is intentional about creating a living space in their home that they truly love. I think we are happier when our homes feel like they accurately represent who we are and it’s an inviting and happy space.

 

RM: What is most important to you when designing your goods and choosing the fabrics?

KF: I always want to make sure that the pillows I sell through my shop are something  I would put in my own home. I love buying textiles from other countries where I know it is helping a group of people make an income for their family that they wouldn’t have ordinarily. I also have a line of printed pillows that are designed by women (mostly moms). I have a water color artist, a calligrapher and graphic designer who are so talented; I love seeing women use their natural talents to create unique and beautiful art.

 

RM: How do you describe your style?

KF: It will probably change in a week, but I am currently loving the modern farmhouse vibe with a little bit of Boho thrown in. I think that’s what having a personal style is—combining styles until you feel like it’s truly you.

 

RM: Who are your style icons?

KF: Joanna Gaines and Studio McGee

 

RM: What interior design trend do you wish would disappear forever?

KF: Just like fashion, interior trends seem to be cyclical. But I think people get too caught up in trinkets and clutter—I think we need to say goodbye to our gallery walls that have 52 things on them—less is more.

 

RM: What trends are in for this fall?

KF: We will continue to see textures and patterns playing a huge role in textiles (mud cloth, tassels, etc.), woven baskets, metallics, natural wood elements, and indoor plants will continue to be popular this fall. Personally, I’m going to incorporate some indigo and rust into my color palette.

 

RM: Is there anything else about Linen & Ivory you want people to know?

KF: I love my job, and I’m so thankful it allows me to help provide for my family while still giving me the flexibility to raise my kids. But my favorite part of my job is the opportunity it affords me to give back to other people through various charity events I have hosted locally, being able to source my fabric from around the world and employing other women to do what they love.

 

linenandivory.com

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