Amber Kierig: I've always loved fashion. When I was 16 I worked in a little clothing store in the mall. I got a second job in a thrift shop that sold cool vintage pieces that I mixed with new things from the boutique. I loved the people I worked with and I pretty much knew from 17 on that I wanted to have my own shop one day. At the time I thought it would be more vintage clothing but when I was 21 my husband and I traveled to Thailand and Nepal and met a lot of people in the textile industry. I had some designs that I wanted to have made and thats really how it all got started. We had the few styles of dresses I had sketched out made and from there I started selling them at music festivals. Soon I had saved enough to open a small boutique.
DT: How did you come up with the name "For Elyse"?
AK: Our first little boutique was called Wild Orchid, when we picked the name I didn't realize how many other businesses had the same name. When the opportunity presented itself to move to a more prime location, we decided we wanted the name to have more meaning. I wanted it to be more personal, so we named it after our daughter, Elyse.
AK: There are definitely pros and cons to both. I really enjoy running my brick and mortar shops. I love being able to interact with customers face to face and see them in the clothes. I loved seeing you in our skinnies! I have had my shop at the Chico location for over 11 years and the Redding location for almost 6, so at this point I feel like I've worked out most of the kinks. I look at it like I've made a recipe that works for us and everything runs pretty smoothly. We're well established in our community and people know who we are.
The website, on the other hand, is a younger project that we are still working really hard to have people discover. We have a wonderful team of photographers, models, copy writers, and bloggers that I learn something from everyday. So the website is definitely more work than the brick and mortars but I wouldn't want to have to pick one or the other.
DT: Do you have any plans in the future to expand, or have any fun projects in mind for For Elyse?
AK: Yes we are in the middle of planning a couple different fun projects right now. We are teaming up with the Rotary Club, putting on a fashion show to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation. We are also working with the Humane Society to help place rescue dogs in good homes. I can't wait to see how that photo shoot comes out. I am a huge dog lover. As for future plans to expand, our main focus right now is making people aware of forelyse.com. After we accomplish that we may open a third shop but I like to keep my focus to one thing at a time;)
AK: My absolute favorite thing about my job is being a buyer. I love seeing whats coming out months in advance and anticipating what the new trends are going to be. I also love the relationships I have established with so many of my manufacturers.
DT: It's probably super summery in California by now, but what summer activities are you most looking forward to?
AK: Summer is definitely here! Really the best thing you can do to escape the heat is jump in the pool or go swimming down at the creek. We are too far inland to be able to hit the beach. I'm most looking forward to going on a summer road trip with my daughter. We decided to make it a tradition two summers ago. It's nice to be able to escape all the responsibilities of life and enjoy each others company for a week. Last year we made it all the way to Canada!
DT: What is your favorite summer style to wear?
AK: That should be an easy questions but there are so many fun trends I like to wear! I would have to say a couple of my favorites are maxi skirts and dresses. I love throwing a chambray top or jean jacket over just about anything, whether it is paired with a maxi or shorts. They are essential pieces of my wardrobe. I also love layering my jewelry, lots of different types of bracelets, bangles and necklaces.
DT: What are your personal favorite items currently in stock at For Elyse?
DT: Do you have any advice for someone who's looking to start a clothing boutique, or just want to work in the fashion industry?
AK: I have never been very a giving others advice but I can say that it needs to be something you really love doing. I do not think I would be as successful if it was a side job. My life literally revolves around my shops but I can't imagine doing anything else!