Published June 20, 2018
Kaitlyn Martin knew she wanted to own a boutique since her college days, but what she didn’t know was that kicking off her career as a Denver Broncos cheerleader would help make that dream a reality much sooner than she ever expected. With support and inspiration from the strong women she worked with at the Broncos, she launched women’s boutique Kaitlyn Collective just over two years ago, and in February opened her new athleisure boutique Kait Sweat just down the street. Whether they’re headed to work or to a yoga class, making women feel confident and fashion-forward is Kaitlyn’s top priority, and she’s is excited to see where her two small businesses will take her female-focused brand in the future.
You transitioned from professional NFL cheerleader to small business owner just a few years ago. What made you decide to go into business for yourself?
I went to school for apparel merchandising and business with plans to open a shop one day. My parents are both entrepreneurs. Being on the Broncos cheerleading squad, you’re surrounded by older women that are so driven. I was ready a lot sooner than I thought I would be to open the shop. It seemed like such a great time in my life; I had so much support from all of those women, and I had always wanted to do it, so in my second year with the Broncos I just decided, why not?
Why were you drawn to Cherry Creek North when choosing your first retail location?
I basically stumbled upon the place that’s now Kaitlyn Collective—it’s so pretty, the outside is perfect—I walked in and it was just fate. I ended up doing the deal in two days. It was crazy!
Immediately after I came into that space, I just realized how great Cherry Creek North is as a whole. Everyone’s here to shop and eat, so it’s just a great place to be. You just get so much closer with your clientele here than other parts of town because they’re living here, they’re walking to you, they’re coming by every week. When I decided to open Kait Sweat, I knew I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.
How would you describe the differences in style between Kaitlyn Collective and Kait Sweat?
Kaitlyn Collective has transformed into more of a classic, East Coast preppy vibe. Our clientele is typically women in their 30s and up; I would describe her as the “Cherry Creek mom,” or the “Cherry Creek woman.” We have really nice blouses, sweaters, dresses and occasional pieces.
From high school to 60s plus, Kait Sweat’s athleisure really appeals to all ages. All of the designers we carry are based in the U.S., except for two based in Australia. Most are from Los Angeles, but we also carry one Colorado designer, Katie Lux. I actually know her from the dance industry; she was a dancer for the Denver Nuggets.
How do you decide what pieces you want in your stores?
With Kaitlyn Collective, we really tailored it to our customers and what they were wanting and what they were asking for. Initially, I came in and had younger, trendier stuff and that’s just not what my women were wanting. I really try to buy for them because they support me so much and they’re in all the time, so I want to have exactly what they want when they come in.
At Kait Sweat, I just try to watch the trends in athletic wear. The looks are super sporty, and everything is sweat-wicking. We try to have really curated things that you can’t get everywhere. You can come in here and try on styles that you’re seeing in LA that you might be worried about ordering online and paying for shipping because maybe the fit might be off.
What kind of in-store events do you have, and how can people find out about them?
Kait Sweat offers monthly workout classes, shop n’ sip events and more. They’re always free classes, so that’s great because it’s such a great way to try out high-end instructors, and participants always get a discount on merchandise. I always post about these a couple weeks in advance on Instagram, so follow us there!
Reflecting on Kaitlyn Collective’s two-year anniversary, what are your future plans?
I feel like now we have a really steady idea and focus at Kaitlyn Collective, which I think we can take a lot of different places. But right now, I’m very happy with just these two locations. Also, we’re excited to celebrate our two-year anniversary by offering 20 percent off one item at both stores.
What are some of your favorite things to do in the neighborhood?
I’m an eater, so whenever people come in here from out of town, I tell them about all the good food here. There’s Hillstone, I love to get drinks at Departure, and I love to go to Machete Tequila + Tacos. Cucina Colore is the best—like, so good. It’s been here forever, but it’s still a hidden gem. Also, I love to flower shop at BLOOM and The Twisted Tulip.