It may be tough gaining recognition amongst big box stores, but a small clothing boutique in Bellevue specializing in affordable fashion, Kahini Fashion, is making its mark.
Creative director Joy Sircar McMillen describes the store’s style as polished, sophisticated and classic, with a mix of ready-to-wear and party wear.
McMillen has been in the fashion industry for 18 years. Before Kahini Fashion, she went into the corporate field with Nike and Nordstrom.
“I was a buyer for kids’ shoes … I was done with looking at reports. So I decided to go back to my roots of designing again,” McMillen said.
In 2014, she decided to quit her job and start off as a designer for Kahini Fashion, which started off as just an online store that she could sell her designs on. Two years later in June 2016, she decided to open a store in Factoria Square Mall.
Once she started designing again, McMillen realized that there was only a certain part of a woman’s wardrobe she could design for. But, “a woman needs other stuff too, she needs casual, she needs jackets … which are not what I design normally.”
She then started sourcing from other people who could help complete a woman’s wardrobe, and that’s how the boutique concept of the store came up.
On being a smaller business in the midst of well-established, nationally-known stores, McMillen described it as “definitely a challenge.” Especially being located in Factoria Mall, her store doesn’t get as much traffic as she would like.
“To be even noticed, is a big challenge … what helps is my collection is very, very different. Once a person knows that I’m here, they come back because they don’t find things like this in other stores,” McMillen said.
However, she mentioned that it’s impossible to compete with department stores’ “sale lifestyle” when you are a boutique.
McMillen is a strong believer that “we should all work together as a community and help each other.”
Kahini Fashion collaborates with local models and designers regularly, as well as fundraises for women’s and children’s causes, something McMillen is very passionate about.
For more information about Kahini Fashion, call 425-747-2918.