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Category: Small Business Spotlight

Published: March 14, 2017

Fashion boutique Adornments will celebrate 20 years in Cherry Creek North this October. We sat down with team members Donna Christopher and Consuelo Diaz-Nasios and experienced the great chemistry that has led to their success. Owner Helen Wicker now lives in Santa Fe where she owns sister store, Adorn.

How did you get your start at Adornments?

Consuelo: I started with Helen one week shy of her opening her first store in Cherry Creek North. Helen opened the store that was tiny…actually a garage to a house in Cherry Creek North. The first Adornments was in Breckenridge, Colorado where Helen had lived for eight years. Helen came down here from Breck and opened the store here. We were there not even two years when we moved into the house, as we needed the space.  All three of the Adornment shops in Denver have been in Cherry Creek North. 

Donna: I started about ten years ago and have been here ever since. They were already in this space.

And did the two of you already have a background in fashion before, or retail, before you began to work at Adornments?

Consuelo: I just have always liked fashion. I kind of got a chance to be in retail and before I worked for Helen, I worked for another independent boutique down here that was here for a short while.  I ran that store for about a year. 

Donna: I majored in fashion merchandising. I’ve worked for May D&F. Then I worked for several other stores and an art gallery. I managed a fabric store. I had buying experience, too at May Company and other stores. Helen had an opening and it was mutually exciting for both of us.

How would you describe the location of your store on Cherry Creek North’s Third Avenue to someone who hadn’t been here before?

Consuelo: It’s definitely evolving, but 70% of the businesses are still independently owned. 

Donna: It has a nice charm to it being outdoors and able to walk to all kinds of shops and restaurants.

Tell us a little bit about the designers you carry and how you select who you carry. What’s your criteria?

Consuelo: Helen is the buyer. 

Donna: She finds lines that aren’t available elsewhere, that can be unique to our store, that are a little more “boutique-y.” I don’t know if that’s a word…

Consuelo: Most of them are designers that deal only with boutiques.

Donna: They tend to be a little more into fashion with a little more of an “art twist” to it. 

What can you tell us about the lines and the types of clothing and jewelry that you sell here?

Donna: Some of the lines are whimsical with detailing -- pleats, ruching, buttons and embellishments. And some have cleaner lines; we really do have a wide variety.

Consuelo: And you can get very soft and feminine with some of the brands like JOHNNY WAS which is all embroidered.

What are some of the brands you carry?

Consuelo: In addition to JOHNNY WAS, we carry Lilith, CP Shades, Lisette, Neesh, Krista Larson, PORTO, Bitte Kai Rand, BIYA and Rosemunde.

Do you have people that you style? People who just come to you and say, “I need an update. What can you do for me?”

Donna: We have a really broad clientele, and we talk to Helen about purchasing specifically for them. We will get very detailed and talk about their sizes and favorite colors. 

Consuelo: Also what styles they like. So we buy for individual clients and then everything else is for the person that comes in and is either new to the store, or just comes in once and a while to get something special to add to their wardrobe.

Donna: (to Consuelo) Some of them are customers you had twenty years ago! Consuelo’s just kind of nurtured them through the whole time. She knows their kids and some of them are grown, so she knows their grandkids. 

Is there a celebrity or someone well known who embodies Adornments’ style?

Consuelo: I don’t think so. There’s a brand, though. One of the lines that we think is for all women that we seem to sell to, young to old, is this line JOHNNY WAS. It’s been around forever, but it’s always changing just a little bit. We get people who come from all over the world looking for it. There were some people in here from Europe last year who bought two or three pieces, I think, in different sizes. And I thought it was odd, then they explained to me that they were taking them home to friends and family, because they were sought after.

Donna: It’s very boho chic in styling. You can wear it with jeans, you can dress it up. You can wear it to weddings. Beautiful silk prints and scarves. It’s really versatile and kind of captures some of that art look to it.

How do new trends like online trunk shows and personal shoppers affect your traffic?

Consuelo: Our clientele are not huge online shoppers. They do still like touching, feeling and looking at what they’re getting. 

Donna: Our styles aren’t so basic, so you have to see it on. For example, how you would layer it is important to getting the whole look. You can’t always do that online.

Consuelo: And you have a unique line on some of the clothes, like an asymmetrical hemline…just some different things, like pleating so you do have to come try it on.

Donna: We have a website and people do find us that way. If they find a designer they like who is hard to find, when they’re visiting Denver, they’ll come in because of that. 

Do you find that you two come to the store dressed in the same thing? 

Consuelo: Yes.

Donna: And, Helen too.

Consuelo: We’ve all always kind of liked and bought the same things, but when we actually have it on, it looks completely different on each of us. For example, this winter Lilith put out a dot sweater and Jenny who’s working today, bought it. I bought it. Donna bought it. We all have the same sweater, but none of us wear it the same way.

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