Women bring boutique to town
Steamboat sisters plan trunk show to promote Denver shop
November 30, 2008
Brittin and Kelly Asbury are packing up much of their Denver shop and hauling it northwest to give locals a sampling of their wares.
The sisters, Steamboat Springs natives, have run Loft 22 for about two years. The boutique in Larimer Square sells designer clothes and accessories from brands such as French Connection, Max and Cleo and Sang Real. The Asburys will bring up those products for a holiday trunk show Tuesday in Steamboat.
“We’re just trying to get creative, and we feel like we know Steamboat shopping,” Kelly Asbury said. “We both lived there, we grew up there. We know it’s very sparse. We thought it would be fun to invite our friends and family and their friends to show them what it’s all about.”
The sisters graduated from Steamboat Springs High School. Brittin Asbury, 28, then earned degrees in graphic design and illustration from the University of Kansas. She worked for Hallmark for four years before she and Kelly, 24, opened the store. Kelly Asbury graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in business marketing and management.
The two women opened the store with financial backing from their mother, Bridget Asbury, and her friend Sharon Southard.
“It’s just something we’ve always wanted to do ever since we were little,” Kelly Asbury said. “We thought it would be a cool thing. We had an opportunity and took it.”
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Southard, who will host the trunk show, said the idea to support the shop stemmed from a conversation she had with Bridget Asbury.
“We were just having lunch one day, and I asked how the girls were doing, and at that time, Kelly had just graduated from college, and Britt was working for Hallmark. : She said, ‘You know, what they really would like to do is open a boutique,’ and, I don’t know, the more I got to thinking about it, I thought how much I would like to help some young women,” Southard said.
Loft 22 carries items including lotions, sleep masks, shoes and holiday dresses. The women plan to sell the merchandise at normal prices, Kelly Asbury said. They’ll accept cash and credit cards at the trunk show.
If the show goes well, Brittin Asbury said, the Loft 22 owners might make it an annual or twice-a-year event.
Although Loft 22 is a boutique, Brittin Asbury said their merchandise wasn’t as expensive as designer clothing could be.
“We love keeping up with designers and what the trends are, but we’ve never been the type of girls that spend a ton of money on the very high-end designer labels,” she said. “I don’t feel like we’ve always been label conscious. : We’re used to bargain shopping, and I think that’s what ties into our store being affordable.”
Kelly Asbury said the trunk show was partly a push to overcome the slow economy.
“They’re projecting holiday sales are going to be down quite a bit, as you can see,” she said. “Everyone’s geared for getting to Christmas. : We’re just trying to get creative, do things like a trunk show and hold parties in our store. It’s going to change eventually, the economy, it’s just a matter of when.”
Southard said she was proud of the Asbury sisters’ work at Loft 22.
“They have just done a fabulous job,” she said. “We just need to get people in the door.”
The women aim to draw customers with unusual pieces, Kelly Asbury said.
“We just wanted to provide something that was unique to people, something that not everyone else has, (that) you can’t find at a department store,” she said. “We usually carry only one size of each, so once it’s gone, it’s gone, so people feel like they really have something special.”
Although the products are unusual, Brittin Asbury said the trunk show wasn’t exclusive.
“Anybody can stop by at any time,” she said. “It’s not just for people that we know. We would love to invite the whole town, and anybody that wants to come is welcome.”
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