Business

Olive boutique in downtown Redmond offers women casual, chic fashion | SLIDESHOW

Michele Fox (left) and Kerrie Lynn Wilton are the owners of Olive, a women
Michele Fox (left) and Kerrie Lynn Wilton are the owners of Olive, a women's clothing boutique that recently opened in downtown Redmond. The two best friends brought their store down from Redmond Ridge, where they had been open since 2006. The Redmond Ridge store will close Dec. 24.
— image credit: Samantha Pak, Redmond Reporter

For women who want a break from the hustle and bustle of a mall or shopping center but still want to find that perfect sweater or pair of jeans, a new boutique in downtown Redmond offers an alternative.

Olive at 7975 Leary Way N.E., which opened last month, carries "casually chic" contemporary clothing, accessories, jewelry and gifts for the Redmond woman.

The store was moved to downtown from its former Redmond Ridge location by owners Kerrie Lynn Wilton and Michele Fox after a two-year search for space. The two women said they are moving their entire operation to downtown and their Redmond Ridge store at 23535 N.E. Novelty Hill Road will close on Dec. 24.

"We wanted to be down here," said Wilton.

One of the main reasons for the move was she and Fox wanted Olive to be more of a boutique rather than a store and offer customers a more personal, one-on-one shopping experience. And with about 300 square feet of space, versus the 1,400 square feet on Redmond Ridge, they are able to do so.

"We want to have a relationship with our customers," Wilton said.

She said this means they will send items to customers if they are unable to come into the store, put items on layaway and even keep their store open beyond regular hours if a customer lets them know they might not be able to make it in before closing.

Fox added that with a smaller space, they can hone in on what they want to carry rather than have pieces in the shop just to take up room. She also said because of their smaller operation, customers will find more unique items that would not be found in department stores.

"Just pop in and see how cute it is in here," she said.

Because of this Fox and Wilton said Olive is the shop to visit to find specific items.

"It's not a one-stop shop," Wilton said.

Olive initially carried more high-end items, but Wilton said there was not much demand as their customers were in search of more casual-but-trendy product that they could wear in their everyday lives.

Olive's item range from about $50 to $150. Jeans may run a little higher at around $180.

The brands Olive carries include AG Denim, Analili, Charlotte Tarantola, Free People, Mystree, Red Haute, Urban Behavior, Wildfox and Yoon.

Both Wilton and Fox said being downtown has allowed them to create personal relationships with their fellow business owners in the area, which they have really enjoyed as everyone has been very welcoming.

"It's exciting to be down here," Wilton said. "There's a different energy down here."

Wilton and Fox both said they had frequented other businesses downtown before they opened their store, but having their own business now makes them feel even more part of the community. They added that they and their customers from Redmond Ridge actually find the new location more convenient as it is close to other shops and restaurants.

Wilton said they would not have been able to open Olive downtown five years ago when they first started as the area was more deserted. But since downtown has been revitalized, more and more small businesses have been opening and Wilton said she feels this is what people want — a more unique and personal shopping experience.

Wilton and Fox have lived in the Redmond and Redmond Ridge area for 30 and 23 years, respectively. They met about 18 years ago through their children, who have gone to school and grown up together. Both of their youngest kids are graduating from Redmond High School this year.

The two best friends went into business together in 2006 when they opened Olive on Redmond Ridge. The idea came when Wilton, who was a representative for a high-end clothing line at the time, wanted to open a store. Despite warnings from others about going into business with a friend because it could ruin their relationship, she asked Fox to be her partner. After five years, Wilton and Fox are as close of friends as ever.

"It's fun," Wilton said. "I think I talk to her more than I talk to my husband."

In response, Fox laughed and said, "I know I talk to her more than my husband."

Olive is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The store may also have extended hours on Thursday after the new year but nothing has been finalized.

For more information about Olive, or to shop online, visit www.olivetoshop.com.

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