The Little Store That Could

AE_wallflwr1First-time business owner opens hippie chic boutique
It was March, Terra Lynn’s birthday, and she and a friend were perusing their Chinese astrological signs on an iPhone app. Lynn discovered she was a “water dog,” and one of her descriptive features was that she was also a “wallflower.”“I’m a one-on-one kind of person … I don’t like being the center of attention,” she says.

So when she opened up her own hippie chic boutique at the south end of Pacific Avenue this summer, and decided to name it Wallflower, she was choosing a very non-wallflower sort of lifestyle. As a person who doesn’t like to be the center of attention, she just thrust herself into it.

As a new business owner, and one whose clothing and accessories store is on the edgy side of Pacific Avenue, she’s going to be in the limelight for quite some time. Her store is one of the first that tourists pounce on when they walk to downtown from the Beach Boardwalk, and the niche she has carved out is genuinely one-of-a-kind: feminine hippie chic. That term best describes Lynn’s “little store that could.” Inside Wallflower is a low price point selection of items that might cater to the college student at UC Santa Cruz, or the young woman with a bohemian flair, or someone who fundamentally wants to create a “look” that’s not particularly trendy, but is very independent, infused with a modern hippie aesthetic.

AE_wallflower2What also makes Lynn’s store, Wallflower, even more interesting and expansive, is that it’s one-third of a business co-op venture. At her location at 803 Pacific Ave. in Downtown Santa Cruz, shoppers enter the store and turn right or left. By turning right, you enter a third of the building belonging to Wallflower. If you turn left, you enter Idle Hands, another boutique with a country-western feel to its wares, and in the back of the building is the third store, Shimmy Bang, a trendy, youth-inspired store. In the very back of the building is a screen-printing shop where T-shirts are created for Idle Hands.

Idle Hands operates as a co-op business where people can sell their wares there in exchange for logging in work hours. Wallflower is run similarly with one seller participating in this business model, but fundamentally, it’s Lynn’s store, and she handles all the elements of what comes with being a first-time business owner.

AE_wallflower3Her journey to this business on Pacific Avenue started not long ago when Lynn, who works at Café Brasil as a waitress, started designing wallets, jewelry, and hair accessories. She joined the ranks of designers at Idle Hands, worked there for a while selling her products, and when the space next door became available, she decided to take a rather fashionable risk and start her own business, Wallflower.

The boutique just opened at the beginning of July and it sells an eclectic variety of items including glass bead jewelry, feather earrings, crocheted flower bags, leather wallets, button jewelry, beach-inspired jewelry, hippie chic clothing, and lots of purses. “It’s a little bohemian, a little grandma, and a little modern … and appeals to the UCSC student because it’s inexpensive,” Lynn says. And a lot of the work sold at Wallflower is also created by locals.

As far as getting your work into Wallflower, Lynn is taking appointments and the chances are good, as long as your clothing, jewelry, accessories, etc., has a low price point and fits the feminine hippie chic style.

While the owner and the store are both ‘Wallflowers,’ there’s good reason: “I don’t want people to think they’ll blend in if they buy stuff here,” Lynn says. And in fashion, that’s a good thing—you never want to blend in.

Wallflower is a new clothing and accessories boutique with a hippie chic approach. It’s located at 803 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 426-3526, shopthewallflower.com. Hours are noon to 7 p.m. daily.

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