On a whim, I decided to check out this boutique store in Temecula called Tangerine
. I'd been there years before bc my sister's friend Jody had told me about it. It stands out because it has designer clothes - True Religion, Juicy Couture, James Perse, Paper Denim, Splendid, Hudson, etc in the Inland Empire.
I went in, wondering if I could catch one of the owners to talk to them about the store. I think it's a big dream for a lot of women - owning your own boutique store. I had read that it was started by two women (that were now moms). Immediately, I was greeted by a very sweet salesperson who introduced me to one of the owners, Leigh Donovan.
I asked her if we could talk - I wanted to know the story - how did this all come about? Leigh obliged, she was so kind and open.
Here's the background.
Leigh had raced mountain bikes, competitively for ten years. BMX biking from age 11 to 18 and then mountain bikes racing from 20 to 30. She's even a World Champion! Check out her amazing and impressive biking resume.
She hooked up with her business partner, Jennifer Gabrielli, on a racing team. They became really good friends and business associates - they were at a Las Vegas trade show in 2002 when Jennifer asked Leigh if she wanted to start a retail store. They called their husbands and asked them to come to Vegas (which they did). Over dinner, they decided they would do it.
Fast forward one year later and they opened Tangerine in July 2003.
Leigh got most of her retail training by not only working for a flower shop as a buyer but by also by working at Express (the clothing store) in the mall for six months. She absorbed as much as she could, keeping a watchful eye over the whole retail process.
She also read a book that helped her develop her ideas on how to manage and serve her clients: The Nordstrom Way
Leigh and Jennifer now have five girls working there - her first employee from five years ago is still there to this day.
Reaction in Temecula
When asked about the reaction from the people in Temecula about the store coming in she was brutally honest, telling me that 50% loved the idea - now they didn't have to drive to Los Angeles or San Diego for more upscale clothes - and the other 50% were just plain pissed. She even had a 12 yr old boy get mad at her, saying the store would never succeed.
But succeed it has. In a matter of 6 months, they started turning a profit. Leigh told me about the time she bought a poncho that was such a huge hit, she they were flying off the shelves. She also talked about how True Religion does such a good job on marketing to their target audience that she has die hard fans anxiously waiting for each new design.
The Store's Design
The stores were built with her clients in mind. The aisles are large enough for strollers, there are toys for children and big couches for patient husbands.
Next Trend Prediction
Her prediction on the next trend? Hudson jeans and bangles.
If you are visiting Temecula or know someone here, there is a sale coming July 17th. It'll last till July 20th - everything (even sale items) will be 25% off.
Overall, I had a ball talking to Leigh about this business venture. Leigh's wit and humor kept me laughing for the full 45 minutes that we talked. I love meeting entrepreneurs who took a chance and created something out of nothing. It all starts with a dream.
Here are some pics from her store.
It's on the outside perimeter of the Temecula mall. Hit the sale up from July 17th-20th to get 25% off everything in the store!
Who should go:
People who love shopping, who live in the surrounding area who like nicely designed clothes but don't want to drive very far for it. People who are looking for really good service and personal attention.
Tangerine - 41377 Margarita Rd., Suite F106, Temecula, CA 92591 - P. 951.296.6435