July V Stockist Monkie Boutique

Alison (left) and Mirina (right) are owners of Monkie Boutique in Santa Monica

Mind monkey or Monkey mind is a Buddhist term meaning “unsettled; restless; capricious; whimsical; fanciful; inconstant; confused; indecisive; uncontrollable”……or all of the emotions that overcame my wallet and I as we stepped into Monkie Boutique in Santa Monica.  Yes, my wallet does actually walk.  She just does what she wants… all of the time.  Open since 2000, Monkie’s original owner was studying Buddhism at the time and decided that a play on the word monk was actually the perfectly appealing, unpretentious vibe she was going for.  After Alison Nitschke purchased the store in 2002, she brought in Mirina Moloney commencing a long-lasting, symbiotic relationship that would undoubtedly affect the good fashion karma of Santa Monica.  “At different times throughout the decade we have shared apartments.   It’s a testament to the respect we have for one another that we could work together, share a home space, and party together,” explains Mirina.  Apparently, this harmony translates into all aspects of their business.  “Over the 9 years we have worked together in buying our assortments, we have developed an almost effortless balance in our styles and methodologies where we each defer to the other and stay open-minded when asked. But, if we don’t both love it, it isn’t for Monkie.”  Viereck has made the cut and we are honored to be part of the joy-slanging practice that Mirina and Alison have dutifully devoted their lives to.  And now I leave you with the interview and a Buddhist quote, “I teach one thing and one thing only: that is, suffering and the end of suffering…..through shoes.”  Err…I kinda added that last part.  Peruse the interview!

1. How did you two meet?

A: In ’99 we worked for Vin Baker together….

M: I was a bit, unfairly, hard on Alison as she had a hard time pronouncing my name, which I, of course, didn’t think was that hard. Eventually, her wonderful mid-western sweetness won me over and I forgave her.  I came on board a year after [Alison purchased Monkie] and we have been together ever since.

2. What’s Monkie’s aesthetic?

Both: Eclectic, Modern, Gorgeous!

3. What are your favorite Viereck pieces and why?

M: The Cayenne is a sexy, sophisticated dress.  It has a fun, retro look as a tunic over wide leg pants with a belt.  The Terabyte is versatile and different with the longer back hem and sassy short length in front.

A: The Hot Sake is a comfortable and easy dress to wear – I have 3 versions in my closet!  It works with a variety of footwear from flat sandals to knee boots depending on the occasion.  If I really want to take it up a notch, I swap out the tie belt for a leather obi. The Terabyte is a second favorite.  It’s a mix of classic sophistication and sexy, funky design.  This dress fits so many different body types because of the way the attached belt can be custom tied.  Again, this works with a variety of footwear as well.

4. What do your customers say about Viereck?

M: Our customers love the sophistication of her designs and how they allow them such versatility in their wardrobes and lifestyles. We have many loyal Viereck devotees that purchase several colors in one style and check in regularly to see what’s new by Deborah.

A: Our customers love that Deborah’s fits are flattering, comfortable and sexy.  They also love the price!  The price point of Viereck allows our ladies to buy two, three and four pieces a season.  We just can’t get enough of Viereck!

5. Where are each of you from?

M: I was born in South Korea and immigrated to Baltimore, MD when I was turning 5

A: I studied Fashion Design at University of Cincinnati in Ohio.  I came out to California in 1995 where I worked for a manufacturer in San Francisco.  I Moved to Los Angeles in 1999 to further my career in fashion on the retail side of the business where I am the happiest.

6. What’s the Monkie customer like?

M: Modern woman who is trend-conscious but knows her own style and wants to find something special and unique, not look like everyone else.

7. What advice can you give independent designers as far as marketability/wearability?

A: Women want to be comfortable but sexy.  Fit and fabrication are priority!

8. What trend do you love right now/hate right now?

M: I love menswear done in a sexy, feminine way. I love sweet-goth, even though our customers do not seem to relate…I have no hates.

A: My love will always be boho-chic.  I love color, prints, texture, feminine fabric that drapes and moves.

9. Tell me about the Keep It Local campaign on your website.  Do you only carry local LA designers?

M: We carry unique, up & coming designers from everywhere but are especially proud of our locals and suggest them more than bigger brands.

A: We try to encourage and inspire our customers to shop in their local shops and come in to experience the personalized service we offer at Monkie.

10. Tell me about Le Store Doggy

M: Peanut is my niece and the smartest, sweetest pup in any store, ever. She has taught herself to not only bring the ball back to you but will also flop on her side and “swim” to retrieve the ball if it goes under the furniture.

A: Peanut is a blessing from Much Love Animal Rescue.  I adopted her when she was only a few months old and Monkie is our second home.  She brings a casual, calm, but playful energy to the shop and even has her own frequent visitors.  You will typically find her laying on the sun soaked bricks in front of Monkie.

11. Tell me about The Housewives of New York city invading your store – how was that?  Was Monkie featured on the show?

M: I honestly have no recollection of that. But, I will never forget when Rashida Jones and Naomi Campbell came in to the store together. Both were very sweet, normal, regular gals. Naomi bought a pair of platforms. I got to see a version of Naomi’s famous walk in person!

Cookie: Did you ask her or did she just do it?  I got the Housewives thing off Monkies Facebook page???

A: More like they invaded our Facebook page! (Apparently, it was weird facebook spam by the weird cult of Housewives shows…of course)

M: She was trying on the shoes and had to stomp.  I mean don’t you always stomp when you try on shoes?

Cookie: Oh, yeah.  Of course.   And then I’m generally asked to leave the store afterwards.

Create good closet Karma and Like Monkie’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Monkie.  Visit their website at www.monkieboutique.com

Interview by Simone Serrail

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