Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Feb 08th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Chic Boutique

ChicBoutique1Independent design store Cameron Marks makes its ‘mark’ in the fashion world

On any given day, there is the danger of becoming lustful—for clothes and shoes. A true fashionista knows when the lust creeps in. It’s when you keep eyeing a pair of black kitten heels, and imagining them on your feet. The scene replays over and over. This is precisely what happened to me recently during a visit to Cameron Marks, a cozy, chic, one-of-a-kind boutique on the Westside of Santa Cruz.

Owners Vanessa Ambrose and Laura LaForce offer welcoming attitudes and no pressure to shoppers, which is a marked difference than one might usually encounter in a hip, urban, classy store.

ChicBoutique2

Cameron Marks, named after the maiden name of each woman’s mother, opened three years ago, on the heels of what was once a shirt maker’s studio. The women took over the space and converted it into a clothing store that at first operated on a consignment basis. But that wasn’t to last. As word spread, and locals and out-of-towners alike began to hear about the fashionable boutique in the Kelly’s Bakery courtyard, the business took a different turn. The partners soon found themselves merging their store into a retail space. Nowadays it features a cornucopia of items: undeniably contemporary jeans, a colorful display of T-shirts and blouses, unique skirts and dresses, metal-infused leather belts, edgy purses, vibrant hued clutches and coin purses, a small collection of original shoes, jewelry and paperwares. It’s a treasure chest. Also in the mix are bags designed by Ambrose, who herself is a noted designer with many years of experience behind her, much of it acquired in Australia, her homeland. LaForce also has a wealth of experience in the industry, including working for Louis Vuitton. Combining their backgrounds, the women have launched an undeniably successful venture here in Santa Cruz.

When asked if it’s hard running such an operation in a town that sometimes seems fashion unfriendly, the women suggest otherwise, indicating that in fact the Santa Cruz area has a loyal fashion forward attitude. They keep their customers in mind when buying for the store. But that common customer for a store such as theirs, whose prices range from $22 up to the triple digits, might surprise you. The pair notes that everyone from young women to 60-year-olds have been known to make purchases here. Frankly, that’s the appeal—the boutique offers T-shirts, cutting edge accessories, a vibrant collection of blouses and skirts, designer jeans (that are actually affordable) and so on. Journals and placemats sit nearby. “Some of our pieces might be trendy, some are fashion forward, some are basic,” says LaForce. “We try to offer something for everyone.”

ChicBoutique3

And in the fall that “something for everyone” philosophy is going to expand. The women are opening a second store in the same courtyard they currently occupy. “We’re running out of room,” LaForce says. The second location will be an expansion of their children’s items, home-wares and paper goods. It will also likely include a larger selection of shoes, belts and handbags.

ChicBoutique4

While the business is expanding, you’re not likely to see replicas of yourself walking down the street, as the women only sell a few of each item, and, most of the pieces come from independent designers. “I’m always trying to find something that’s a little different,” Ambrose says. “I’m always sourcing the internet. I can spend hours on design blogs and find fantastic stuff.” Indeed, that’s exactly what they’ve done.

 

Cameron Marks is located at 402 Ingalls St., No. 7, Santa Cruz, 458-3080, or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

 

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

On the Run

Is there hope for California’s salmon?

 

Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey

Monday, Feb. 8, is Aquarius new moon (19 degrees) and Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey (an imaginative, intelligent and vigilant creature). Monkey is bright, quick, lively, quite naughty, clever, inquiring, sensible, and reliable. Monkey loves to help others. Often they are teachers, writers and linguists. They are very talented, like renaissance people. Leonardo Da Vinci was born in the year of Monkey. Monkey contains metal (relation to gold) and water (wisdom, danger). 2016 will be a year of finances. For a return on one’s money, invest in monkey’s ideas. Metal is related to wind (change). Therefore events in 2016 will change very quickly. We must ponder with care before making financial, business and relationship changes. Fortune’s path may not be smooth in 2016. Finances and business as usual will be challenged. Although we develop practical goals, the outcomes are different than hoped for. We must be cautious with investments and business partnership. It is most important to cultivate a balanced and harmonious daily life, seeking ways to release tension, pressure and stress to improve health and calmness. Monkey is lively, flexible, quick-witted, and versatile. Their gentle, honest, enchanting yet resourceful nature results often in everlasting love. Monkeys are freedom loving. Without freedom, Monkey becomes dull, sad and very unhappy. During the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC), the Chinese official title of Marquis (noble person) was pronounced ‘Hou,’ the same as the pronunciation of ‘monkey’ in Chinese. Monkey was thereby bestowed with auspicious (favorable, fortunate) meaning. Monkey years are: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 5

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Wine and Chocolate

West Cliff Wines gets its game on, plus a brand new chocolate cafe on Center Street

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster

 

Dancing Creek Winery

New Zinfandel Port is a ruby beauty

 

Venus Spirits

Changing law could mean new opportunity for local spirits