The walls of the new Amari fashion boutique in Henderson boast quotes from fashion heavy-hitters such as Yves Saint Laurent and Coco Chanel.
Owner Marisela Altamirano is particularly fond of this one from Diane von Furstenberg: "I didn't know what I wanted to do. But, I knew the type of woman I wanted to become."
Although she appreciates the message, Altamirano has known what she wanted to do for a while now. She drafted the business plan for Amari seven years ago. After getting laid off from corporate America for the second time in six years, the 34-year-old decided to turn her business plan into an actual business.
Amari opened in August at the Sienna Promenade shopping center in Henderson. It carries contemporary women's clothing from up-and-coming designers with a celebrity following.
As Altamirano walks through her new store, she stops at racks and highlights select pieces.
"Gwen Stefani and Miley Cyrus wear this," she says, holding a $111 cropped military jacket with rose gold zippers from Mink Pink.
A dress by its sister label, Blaque, is just a few racks away.
"Kendra (Wilkinson)," she notes, "has been wearing this in every color."
Another popular reality TV personality, Kristin Cavallari, is fond of the $155 Boulee jumper just across the store. Framed photos of Wilkinson and Cavallari wearing the garments confirm her claims.
Altamirano relies on the celebrity factor, she says, because that's who influences what sells these days.
"The stuff I buy, celebrities get the samples first. They're shipped to them, they wear it and then stores carry it the next season," she says. "They really decide the trends."
But the people deciding what the celebrities wear are the stylists. That's why Altamirano is personally more impressed with these behind-the-scenes figures than the stars. One of her favorites is L.A.-based stylist Monica Rose, who has styled the Kardashians and now dresses the hosts of E! News.
The latter gig is especially challenging, according to Altamirano, because it "teeter-totters the trendy and the professional."
Before opening her store, the Mexican native styled friends for special events and held trunk shows at her home during the holidays. Even with her store now, styling remains a top priority.
With the exception of a few party dresses, she tries to stock Amari with pieces that can easily transition from clock-punching to cocktail-sipping with the removal of a blazer and the addition of sky-high platforms. A cross-body bag and a pair of flats might even make key pieces acceptable for a day of running errands, too.
Women these days want versatility. The idea is for her shoppers to visit Amari without overthinking their purchases.
Hopefully, they're not overthinking the prices, either. Amari is next door to Patty's Closet, a trendy, budget-friendly women's clothing chain with seven locations in town. The spillover traffic has meant addressing the difference in price tags.
"I've just been educating people about the quality I carry," she says of her pieces that don't exceed $200. For instance, her J.J. Winters handbags feature leather made in Italy. Oh, and Kendall Jenner and Nicky Hilton are fans.
Also, if you pick up a 100 percent cotton dress here, it won't shrink. The blacks won't fade. The knits won't unravel. That doesn't change the fact that the recession spurred quite the fanfare for disposable fashion, pieces that can't stand the test of time.
"But they're just two types of customers," Altamirano says. "Converting a Patty's Closet customer is like converting a vegetarian to eat meat."
The meat-eaters will have plenty to gnaw on with TFNC London party dresses, antique brass and bronze jewelry line Maison de Morgana, Swarovski-studded rings by Viento NYC, and basic tees by Bobi. And, don't forget the derriere-flattering denim from Standards & Practices. Khloe Kardashian has been photographed in them, after all.
Like a true fashion connoisseur, Altamirano says she can look over a woman's outfit, list where she purchased each item and cite how much it cost.
If nothing else, she can certainly say which celebrity wore it first.
Amari is at 10271 S. Eastern Ave., Suite 114, Henderson, 476-3900.
Contact Xazmin Garza at email@example.com or 702-383-0477. Follow her on Twitter @startswithanx.